Friday, 8 September 2017

It was a very dark morning, and soon it started raining heavily. This is the weather that often brings the Little Owl at the Albert Memorial into her nest hole, and there she was.

The Little Owl at the leaf yard also appeared for a few seconds, just enough time for three hasty pictures.

Two Nuthatches came down to the leaf yard railings to take pine nuts. They were almost invisible in the shade of the bushes. At times like this you just point the camera and hope for the best.

A Goldcrest was in an even darker place inside a yew bush near the Henry Moore sculpture.

But the darkest place of all is under the bushes on the north side of the Serpentine island, where the white Mallard was resting with his mate, while a Tufted Duck passed in front of them. If Caravaggio painted ducks, the result would look something like this.

A teenage Moorhen foraged in the weeds at Peter Pan.

A Moorhen chick about ten days old was fed by its parents in one of the Italian Garden fountains, which you can hear in the background.

One of the young Great Crested Grebes from the Serpentine came under the bridge on to the Long Water, and climbed on to an abandoned Coot nest under the willow tree, where it sat for a few minutes.

I know it was from the Serpentine, because the three much younger grebe chicks from the Long Water nest were with a parent a few yards along the shore, next to their nest.

Another Coot nest, the one near the bridge, was taken over as a fishing platform by a Grey Heron. The Coots still claim this nest, but there's nothing they can do when a heron wants it. Thanks to Abigail for this fine picture.

Two Carrion Crows finished off the carcase of a Feral Pigeon killed by the notorious Lesser Black-Backed Gull. Another gull wanted to take it over, but had less authority than the killer and had to attack them to get its way. If it had been the killer, the crows would have melted away. The inappropriate musical background is due to my having filmed this in heavy rain from the shelter of the Bluebird Boats snack bar.

For the other gulls it was scavenging as usual. This Lesser Black-Back picked up a leaf, found nothing edible, and threw it aside.

A young Herring Gull examined something that came up wrapped in algae, didn't fancy it, and dropped it.

The Rose-Ringed Parakeets in the park are very fond of the beans in the pods of the catalpa trees, also known as Indian bean trees. They are Asian Indian birds, and the name of the beans refers to American Indians, so they made the discovery that there are edible beans in the pods quite recently.

A Wood Pigeon was sitting in the water in the little pool at the top of the Dell as the rain pattered down on it. It wasn't washing, just having a soak.

There are a lot of Robins in the Flower walk, and people feed them. So they line the fence on either side of the path, and you have to run the gauntlet of expectant little birds.


  1. I usually enjoy the incidental background soundtrack of the videos; now we even get music. Pleasingly inappropriate.

    1. There may be more and worse over the next few days, An enclosure is being out up for the 'Proms in the Park', and the sound engineers tend to leave banal recorded ditties churning out at thunderous volume, polluting several square miles.

  2. P.S. the parakeet video is splendid- like a moving still life. And the duck still life very painterly indeed.

  3. Love the Caravaggio analogy, I suppose that's as good as it gets as nobody would likely happen upon wild ducks huddling round a candle! Jim

    1. Sadly, the only way that wild ducks get into a painting of that period is by being dead.

    2. Let's stick to photography.

  4. I laughed at the mental image of a expectant little bird gauntlet. If only someone made a western film about that.

    A while ago I purchased a large lush book on birds in the Museo del Prado. I cannot bear to open it now after I learned that most birds had to be killed to get into the picture, so to speak. Speaking of paintings, I cannot even bear to look at The Goldfinch, chained with that cruel little chain in its leg.

    1. At all costs avoid reading about Audubon's methods in making his huge illustrations.

  5. An elegant quip about birds needing to be dead to make it in art of around 1600 - but not quite true. There's a decidedly live owl in Hals's "Malle Babbe", c. 1630, in Berlin (; and I'm sure there are more. That said, the dead doubtless outnumber the living (as used to be true with humans, when I was young)