Monday 31 July 2017

A Long-Tailed Tit pulled a larva off a twig and ate it ...

... leaving a sticky green thread which the larva had trailed round the twig.

The young Starlings are growing their iridescent adult feathers.

There are two young Robins in the Rose Garden. They too are beginning to get their adult colour.

The female Little Owl near the leaf yard was enjoying the sunshine.

The Great Crested Grebes nesting in the fallen poplar on the Long Water have lost their one chick, and are starting again. It would be their third brood. They haven't been successful, but there's still plenty of time.

I could only see two chicks of the other family on the Long Water. They are now quite large, but still rushing around around demanding food. This video was taken looking down from the Serpentine bridge, with inevitable traffic noise in background.

One of the parents has been on their nest -- too far away for an adequate picture -- for several days. They may also be thinking of another brood. Their chicks are about the same age as the teenage grebe on the Serpentine was when it was abandoned, and survived. (I haven't seen it for a couple of days, but it tends to stay in cover on the edge of the island.)

A Mute Swan was washing furiously on the Long Water, with the light behind it.

The Black Swan was near the Lido, dozing on one leg.

This goose on the Serpentine is so large that it has to be a Canada--Greylag hybrid, but it's oddly pale. If it were not for its size I would have taken it for a Greylag--Bar-Headed cross.

A juvenile gull, probably a Lesser Black-Back, balanced uncertainly on one of the mooring buoys on the Serpentine. Young gulls love pulling rope ends.

A Greenbottle fly wandered over a marigold behind the Lido.

There was also a bee-mimicking hoverfly. I wouldn't like to guess its species -- there are about 6o00.

Here is a real honeybee for comparison.

Sunday 30 July 2017

The Moorhens at the Serpentine have six chicks, which were running all over the place. They were mostly finding their own food.

Some Moorhens and Coots were fighting each other at Peter Pan. Probably the Moorhens started it and the Coots joined in, as they always like a fight.

The three Great Crested Grebe chicks on the Long Water are now quite large, and as hungry and noisy as ever.

Two Mute Swans were investigating a metal rubbish bin thrown into the lake by some stupid vandal. It probably had snails on it.

The Black Swan was beside one of the boathouses with some Egyptian Geese. The two in the background are Blondie and her mate.

One of the pale Greylag Geese was preening on the edge of the Serpentine. This is the one with brown eyes, originally seen on the Round Pond.

It is odd that there are two pale Greylags, one with blue eyes and the other brown, and two Greylags with white foreheads, one with blue eyes and the other brown. In birds, feather colour and eye colour are determined by different genes. It seems likely that there is some sex-linked effect here.

The female Mandarin on the Long Water and her two teenagers have been joined by two drakes, in eclipse of course and looking much like females. The red bill and longer feathers on the back of the head show this to be a drake.

House Martins and Sand Martins were flying over the Serpentine. This bird has a trace of a dark bar across its neck, but this is much less clearly defined than on a Sand Martin. I think it's a juvenile House Martin from a nest on the Kuwaiti embassy. Their underside is dusky compared to the bright white of an adult.

Some of the nest holes on the embassy are still being visited, so there are still some late, unfledged broods.

Paul saw two Great Spotted Woodpeckers near the leaf yard, and got this picture of one of them.

On a changeable day, the Little Owls were reluctant to come out of their hole, but a fourth visit during a sunny spell eventually gave a glimpse of the female.

There was also a flock of Long-Tailed Tits.

The elderberries have mostly gone, eaten by ravenous Wood Pigeons.

A Small White butterfly drank nectar from a flower in the Rose Garden.

After last night's heavy rain a lot of white mushrooms, about the size of Horse Mushrooms and with rings and white gills, have come up on the grass around the Henry Moore statue. This area is fenced off, so they can't be examined closely. They look quite like the Destroying Angel, Amanita virosa -- but that is a woodland species, and these are probably something much less dramatically poisonous.

Saturday 29 July 2017

A Moorhen on the Long Water near the bridge has four new chicks. Moorhens  may raise three broods in one year.

The two chicks at Peter Pan are still in good order. Their mother sensibly keeps them to a sheltered branch.

The Coots at the outflow of the Serpentine are still building their idiotically sited nest at the top of the weir, literally on the brink of destruction.

The Great Crested Grebes nesting in the fallen poplar on the Long Water were out on the lake with their single chick. It seems that they've finally realised that the remaining egg isn't going to hatch.

The Black Swan came into the edge of the Serpentine to be fed.

He got too close to a family of Mute Swans and was chased off by the female.

The youngest Egyptian gosling stretched down to drink from the Serpentine.

Rose-Ringed Parakeets near the leaf yard preferred to drink rainwater from a puddle.

The first part of the morning was sunny, and the female Little Owl was out enjoying the warmth. She is spending more time on the other side of the tree from her usual branch, that is the south side, which is both sunnier and more sheltered from the intrusive Magpies.

The two young Carrion Crows on Buck Hill were prospecting for worms with their parents. They are not yet very skilled at this, and one came up with a worm in a clod of earth which had to be shaken off.

Two young Wrens were shouting at each at the upper end of the Dell. There is a colony of Wrens here and on the other side of the path, towards the Serpentine.

House Martins were flying over the lake.

There were also some Sand Martins, recognisable from below by the dark bar across the neck.

But we haven't seen any Swifts for some time. Swallows are only occasional visitors.

Fairy Ring mushrooms are springing up all over the park, brought on by the wet weather.

Friday 28 July 2017

The Coots nesting at the bridge have lost their last chick yet again. They were frantically rebuilding their nest, and it looks as if they are going to try for a third brood, which will be equally unsuccessful in this exposed place.

The Great Crested Grebes who were trying to nest on the island have been pushed out, probably by the pair who have a nest just round the corner.They were back at the bridge, displaying to get over their disappointment. I'm sure they could find a site on the Long Water if they tried, but they seem committed to the Serpentine.

All the young Mallards have got through another day. The two at Peter Pan are really large enough now to be out of danger.

So are the young Mandarins. The family are almost always on the fallen tree at the south side of the Peter Pan waterfront. One of the young ones was traying to attract its mother's attention. She took no notice.

The Black Swan came over to the Diana fountain landing stage and, as usual, the bullying Mute Swan shooed it off. But the chase has become brief and perfunctory. The Black Swan just moved a few feet out of the way, waited until his opponent had gone, and came back.

A Cormorant sprawled inelegantly on a post and cooled itself by vibrating its throat, although it wasn't a hot day.

Moorhen 1: 'Wake up, dear, I've brought you  a lovely leaf.'

Moorhen 2: 'Uh.' (Puts it with the other leaves and is about to go back to sleep.)

Moorhen 1: 'Oh all right, be like that then.' (Exit.)

A young Herring Gull was sitting over one of the air bubblers in the Serpentine. These bring up a lot of sediment from the bottom, and with it probably many small edible creatures. But these may not be large enough to interest the gull, and perhaps it was just enjoying the bubbles.

A Stock Dove was drinking in the Dell. Many of the 'pigeons' you see in the park are Stock Doves, especially if they're in a tree. They're slightly smaller than Feral Pigeons (which are technically Rock Doves), and always the same pale purplish grey as a Wood Pigeon, with two dark wing bars less strongly marked than those of Feral Pigeons. They have dark eyes, unlike the orange-brown of Feral Pigeons.

Young Wood Pigeons don't have the distinctive white neck ring of adults, and can be mistaken for Stock Doves if you can't see their size -- they are considerably larger. They have pale eyes. In flight, they have distinctive white wing bars.

Now that the elderberries are ripe, there are Wood Pigeons in every bush gorging on the fruit.

The dull windy morning was not a good time for Little Owls, but eventually at the fourth visit to the leaf yard I found the female preening on a branch.

A Honeybee was collecting pollen from the anthers of a large purple flower in the Dell.

A White-Tailed bumblebee was being kept busy by a large composite flower, with each floret of the centre a separate source of pollen.