Thursday, 27 July 2017

The Great Crested Grebe trying to nest on the near side of the island was back on the nest, in spite of opposition from the two pairs who think the island is theirs.

The teenage grebe from the other island nest was fishing nearby.

The pair nesting in the fallen poplar on the Long Water are now allowing their chick into the water.

The reason why the parents have stayed on the nest so long is clear: there is one egg still in the nest. Surely if it was fertile it would have hatched days ago, but they are reluctant to give up.

If you just saw a Moorhen's enormous footprints, you'd think it was the size of an eagle.

The Black Swan was on the shore of the Serpentine. Being considerably smaller than a Mute Swan, he is much better on his feet and can walk without waddling, and even run.

The swan family on the Long Water returned to the little island where the cygnets were hatched, to the great annoyance of a pair of Coots nesting there.

The youngest family of Greylag Geese discovered a previously ungrazed bit of grass at the back of the Dell restaurant terrace.  One of the adults kept a watchful eye on the crowded tables.

The four youngest Mallard ducklings are still in good order, and were near the bridge.

A Carrion Crow amused itself by chasing a Herring Gull the whole length of the Long Water.

Charlie and Melissa's two young are big enough to look after themselves, but that doesn't stop them from pestering their mother.

The usual Dunnock was picking up spilt birdseed under the feeder in the Rose Garden. It's quite bold now, and you can throw food to it.

The female Little Owl was enjoying a sunny spell at the top of the chestnut tree.

The end of a racing pigeon: the people at the boathouse found this bone with a ring on it. I looked up the name of the organisation that issued the ring and reported the find. The bird came from Tufnell Park, and its owner will be sad at the news. Probably it was killed by the notorious Lesser Black-Backed Gull.

Some Poplar Fieldcap mushrooms have appeared under the leaning poplar at Peter Pan. Its angle grows ever more perilous, and it won't be long before a gale brings it down into the lake.

This purple-flowered plant has seeded itself all over the park, and I ought to know what it is, but I don't. It's not purple loosestrife or rosebay willow herb, both of which also grow here.

Update: Justyna C has identified it as great hairy willowherb, Epilobium hirsutum.


  1. Poor sad little bone. Would Pigeon Killer be able to catch a racing pigeon? They are able to give the slip even to Peregrines.

    One of my students used to race pigeons. He loved them as if they were family. It is very true that the owner is going to be very sad.

    I wish you could film the Black Swan running. Let us hope he will oblige us.

    I love looking at bird footprints. I would have a collection of them if I could!

    1. The notorious gull doesn't catch pigeons in flight, though a few weeks ago I saw and photographed him trying. He is not a fast flyer, and pigeons are -- the fastest racing pigeon recorded, Bobby Brown, managed a journey at an overall speed of just over 100mph (160km/h). Instead, the gull waits till they are bathing or preening, when they may close their eyes, and as soon as he sees this he leaps on them. Probably this pigeon came down on the lake for a drink or a bathe and, unaware of the dangerous gull, became his lunch.

  2. I think it is the Great Hairy Willowherb (Epilobium hirsutum).

    1. Thank you. An image search confirms this beyond doubt.

  3. Hi Ralph, it was great to walk with you last Thursday, and I see the little owl came out eventually in the afternoon sunshine! Hope to see you again some time.

    1. Always a pleasure to show someone round the park. Good luck with the Little Owl.