Friday 30 June 2017

There are two new families of Mallard ducklings, one on either side of the bridge. These are on the Serpentine side. When Mallard ducklings have survived in the park -- which they tend not to -- it has usually been when they are kept under the shelter of the bridge arches.

Another view from the bridge, of the Great Crested Grebe family on the Long Water. They were being fed fish after fish and, thanks to their careful parents, have a good chance of survival.

The other grebe family, from the nest on the island, were travelling around the lake. It's easier to take the chicks to where the fish are than to bring the fish a long distance to the chicks.

The Black Swan is still at the east end of the Serpentine, but was just cruising round by himself when I went past.

A pair of Greylag Geese led their goslings to feed on some tasty weeds on the nearby shore.

The combined broods of Canada Geese were taking it easy under a willow tree.

The following two distant, hastily snatched photographs are bad, but they are quite interesting. The pigeon-killing Lesser Black-Backed Gull was chasing a pigeon in the air, and managed to grab it.

But the pigeon struggled free, leaving the gull with nothing but a few feathers in his beak.

The young Grey Heron which hangs around the Dell restaurant was peering intently into one of the reed rafts.

Perhaps there was a Moorhen chick among the plants.

A young Pied Wagtail, now old enough to be catching its own insects, paused for a moment on the handrail of the Lido jetty.

A pair of Carrion Crows at the Vista were looking after their three young. One adult, pestered by two at once, lost patience and shooed one away.

Amid a crowd of Wood Pigeons near the Albert Memorial there was just one young one, distinguishable from the adults by not have a white collar.

The female Little Owl at the leaf yard was enjoying a sunny spell.

A woolly caterpillar made the perilous crossing of the path near the Diana fountain, narrowly avoiding being squashed by the feet of passing humans.

Thursday 29 June 2017

The Great Crested Grebes on the island have hatched their second brood of chicks. I could see two on their parent's back, but Virginia thinks there is a third. The other parent brought a fair-sized fish ...

... which was quite hard to swallow ...

... but the chick got it down in the end.

Thanks to Bluebird Boats for a ride to the island to photograph them.

Coots with chicks often distribute food to each other to make it easier to feed the whole brood.

At the bridge, a Grey Heron was staring at the nesting Coot wondering when its chicks would be ready to eat.

The Black Swan arrived to join a group of feeding Mute Swans, surprising some visitors who didn't know that swans could be black. He pecked another swan out of the way, but then the local bully sailed over and chased him off.

The rafts of water plants at the east end of the Serpentine provide a varied diet for Greylag Geese.

A young Great Tit was feeding itself, pecking little larvae off infested leaves.

It had probably seen its parents doing this, so it knew that the brown spots contained something edible.

This is one of the many Wrens that live in the Dell and the adjacent patch of scrub at the east end of the Serpentine.

Two Reed Warblers were flying around in the reed bed at the Diana fountain.

The female Little Owl at the leafy yard was on the branch above her hole, staring balefully ...

... at a Jay in the front of the chestnut tree.

A Red Admiral butterfly perched for a moment on a leaf beside the Long Water.

Wednesday 28 June 2017

The young Great Tits are now almost coming to be hand fed.

Two of them, in different places beside the Long Water, came out on twigs and were clearly interested, but neither dared to take the plunge. They will soon.

While I was looking over the parapet of the Italian Garden, the white-faced Blackbird flew over and landed beside me, expecting her daily treat of sultanas.

A Grey Wagtail on the edge of the Serpentine peered into a clump of weeds to see if there were any insects in it.

A Young Pied Wagtail beside the Round Pond stared at the camera.

Swifts were flying low over the Long Water.

Charlie and Melissa the Carrion Crows have a single young one, which was pestering them near the Triangle car park. Charlie came over to collect a peanut to give it.

The young Magpies are still chasing their parents for food.

A Mute Swan cropped algae off the concrete edge of the Serpentine with a rapid scissoring movement.

The Black Swan was near the island. He seems quite peaceful at the moment, and is not chasing the Mute Swans either for courtship or for combat.

The eldest of this year's young Canada Geese is now looking like a miniature adult. It can't fly yet.

You would scarecely guess that this Mandarin is a drake. He is in full eclipse, and only a couple of red feathers on his neck remain of his breeding finery.

He is moulting his wing feathers, and is temporarily flightless. His current drab plumage camouflages him when he is in this vulnerable state.

The young Great Crested Grebe was in the middle of the Serpentine. It was only diving for fish occasionally, which is probably a good sign, showing that its crash course in feeding itself has been successful. Adult grebes spend most of their time resting.

The female Little Owl at the leaf yard turned round and gave me a severe stare.

The rabbits in the enclosure of the Henry Moore sculpture, almost wiped out last year by fox predation and myxomatosis, seem to be bouncing back, and there were five of them on the grass, of which I could only get three into the frame.

Tuesday 27 June 2017

A young Pied Wagtail was begging for food from its father on the far side of the Round Pond.

Getting none, it flew across the pond and immediately found a large green larva.

This is the female Grey Wagtail of the pair nesting in the willow tree next to the Serpentine bridge. It was looking for insects at the Lido restaurant, the favourite hunting ground of this family.

A Moorhen chick was exploring the waterlilies in the Italian Garden.

Moorhens enjoy their agility, and love climbing and balancing on narrow places. This one is on the plastic tubing topping the fence of one of the reed rafts at the east end of the Serpentine.

The pair of Great Crested Grebes who have been unsuccessfully trying to make a nest on the side of one of the rafts were at it again. This is the pair who briefly tried to make a nest on the island, but must have been chased off by the resident pair, so they have gone back to their hopeless task.

They could make an excellent nest in the nearby reed bed, but it seems that grebes have to learn about making nests in reeds. The ones on the Norfolk Broads, having reeds but few trees, are accustomed to it and build quite good reed nests.

Coots have no difficulty in attaching nests to the rafts. They poke crooked or knobbly twigs through the mesh to make them stick.

The Black Swan was near the island. This video doesn't show him doing anything interesting, but it's good to see him sweep gracefully by.

This young Egyptian Goose is one of Blondie's brood, now completely independent and going their separate ways. It is not quite full size yet, but already able to fly.

On the Long Water, the Egyptians were escorting their goslings on to the gravel bank.

The odd-looking ducks at the far left are Red-Crested Pochard drakes in eclipse. They look much like females but have red bills. There are also two not yet fully in eclipse at the right, along with a couple of Common Pochards and a Tufted Duck.

At the other end of the gravel, the Great Crested Grebes' nest is uncomfortably close to a Coot nest.

The first returning Black-Headed Gull was on the Round Pond. They are not black-headed, of course, and this one's head is an unusually pale brown. Thanks to Virginia for this picture.

Virginia also sent me an interesting close-up of a young Starling on the Round Pond.

This is one of the Coal Tits that come to take food from my hand at the bridge.

On a dark morning, the female Little Owl at the leaf yard was looking out from her hole.

The wildflowers in the patch behind the Lido are beginning to come up. A Buff-Tailed Bumblebee was gathering nectar from a cornflower.

Monday 26 June 2017

Look who's back! The much missed Black Swan has returned to the Serpentine. He saw me and came over for a digestive biscuit.

Then had a preen and went over to the other side of the lake, where someone was feeding the Mute Swans. In his usual style he barged his way to the front.

There is a new brood of five Greylag chicks on the Serpentine.

Their father chased off a Coot that had got too near.

The combined family of Canada Geese took to the water when an irresponsible dog owner let his dog run along the edge. The other two parents stood guard on the shore until the last of the goslings was safe.

The Great Crested Grebes on the Long Water were feeding their family, and there was a good view of them from the bridge. The father is guarding the chicks while the mother brings small fish. The parents will swap roles every half hour or so.

The young grebe on the Serpentine was busy fishing, but was too far out on the lake for a worthwhile photograph.

A Grey Heron saw someone with food near the Henry Moore sculpture, and strode rapidly over.

A Carrion Crow had been bathing in the Long Water, and landed on the grass nearby to preen his wet feathers.

A Blackbird was basking in a patch of sunlight in a shrubbery near the bridge.

There were at least four Reed Warblers flying around the reed bed below, presumably two parents and two chicks.

A Blackcap was ticking loudly in a tree near Peter Pan. He came out on a twig for a few seconds.

The female Little Owl at the leaf yard was out on a branch.

Tom got a better picture of yesterday's Banded Demoiselle than I did -- I was on the wrong side of the reed clump at the time. Here it is.

There are two plum trees beside the Serpentine bearing good fruit, one red, one yellow. The locals know about this, and the plums disappear as soon as they ripen.