Tuesday 15 August 2017

Grey Herons wait looking down into the water for what seems like an eternity. I took a routine picture because the background was pretty and walked on.

A moment later there was a sudden lunge, and the heron had grabbed a fair-sized roach.

It's impossible to tell the species of fish that this Cormorant caught on the Serpentine, as it came up thickly wrapped in algae.

One of the foods most liked by many birds in the park is, oddly, Cheesy Wotsits. Perhaps they find the bright orange colour interesting. Mute Swans and Canada Geese were enthusiastically scooping them up ...

... and a Black-Headed Gull seized one and was promptly chased by the other gulls.

The Black Swan was following one of the Mute Swan cygnets, as usual.

There were 19 Pochards on the Long Water, mostly male.  It's too early for migrant Pochards to arrive, and there are only two residents, usually on the Serpentine. They must have come in from one of the other parks.

The pale hybrid goose tends to stand in front of its Canada mate in a defensive attitude. Presumably it's the male of the pair -- though this makes little difference, as he's certainly sterile and there will be no odd-coloured goslings.

A Greylag Goose was washing on the Serpentine. Vigorous splashing and flapping helps to dislodge parasites.

A Carrion Crow was dealing with its parasites in a different way, by sunbathing. This encourages the bugs to come to the surface, where they can be picked or shaken off.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull visited the Long Water with his mate, followed by their offspring. Although he often comes here, I've not seen him hunting and I don't know where he does it on this largely tree-lined lake.

Later he returned to his usual perch on the roof of the Dell restaurant, where pigeons are plentiful.

One of the young Robins in the Rose Garden turned up to be fed. I haven't got it coming to my hand yet.

Some visitors turned up to see the Little Owl at the leaf yard, and she looked down at the sound of an unfamiliar voice.

At the outflow of the Serpentine, an Emperor dragonfly took a rest from hunting.


  1. I've read that dragonflies are the most efficient aerial predators in existence, with a hunting success rate of 80% if I recall. Peregrine falcons don't reach 50%. And apparently their larvae would give Ridley Scott's Aliens a run for their money. I think they are quite like gulls: very pretty, but terrible.

    That Robin will be coming to your hand in no time at all!

    I wonder about the pale hybrid goose. He seems to identify as a Canada goose, right? And doesn't the Canada mate notice the difference? (I'm trying to see if the situation may apply to the Black Swan as well).

    1. That's not the only pairing of a hybrid with a pure-bred goose on the lake. There's also a hybrid-Greylag pair. They've been together for years and are always seen together. So failure to produce young doesn't drive them apart.

      I can't find out whether Black Swan--Mute Swan hybrids are fertile, but since the two species are closely related I would guess that they are.

  2. Agree the background in the heron photos is pretty!

    1. The Dell is the most picturesque spot in the park, and carefully (too carefully, really) maintained. Incongruous when you consider the large number of people killed in what was the most popular place for duels in the 18th and early 19th century.