Sunday 22 October 2017

A Grey Wagtail hunted insects on a raft at the east end of the Serpentine.

At the far end of the lake, near the Italian Garden, another two Grey Wagtails appeared. One of them perched on the dead willow tree, blending well with the grey bark and yellow lichen.

A Wren was hopping around in the nearby reed bed.

The red breast of a Robin on a tree root was almost camouflaged in the autumnal background.

A Nuthatch in the yew tree in the leaf yard was lit by the dappled sunlight as it waited to be fed.

A Great Tit in the same tree had the same idea.

In the yew between Peter Pan and the Italian Garden, a Rose-Ringed Parakeet ...

... and a Blackbird were eating berries.

A Magpie stared challengingly from a gatepost.

On a sunny day when people are having lunch at the outside tables of the restaurant, the place is awash with Starlings looking for scraps. While waiting, they can poke around in the planters for insects.

One of the young Great Crested Grebes followed a parent down the Serpentine.

I was wrong about this family being the only ones left. The pair from the east end of the Serpentine also appeared, in sober winter plumage. They fish among the rafts and are easy to miss.

The Grey Heron from the Dell watched for fish beside the small cascade. The little stream has fish of all sizes in it, mostly carp. Presumably they were washed over the waterfall in the background, which is the outflow of the Serpentine.

The Black Swan was preening on the edge of the lake.

A top view of a Shoveller drake from the bridge.

There was a fine Hen of the Woods fungus on an oak tree near the Speke obelisk.

This is not the same as a Chicken of the Woods, which is another tree fungus but bright yellow.


  1. Did starlings used to be migratory but now stay all year? Feel I should know this (but don't). I seem to have a memory of this whirring sound they make as a harbinger of spring, when I was a child (50+ years ago, mind).

    1. We have Starlings all year round, but numbers increase in winter when more arrive from northern Europe. So if you were in northern Europe they would be a harbinger of spring.

  2. As I realise I haven't given enough precise directions for the other fungi:
    starting at the entrance of the leaf yard, cross the path and go in the direction of Lancaster Gate (the gate, not the station): you will have a young sweet chestnut tree in front of you. The Trooping Funnel (Clitocybe geotropa) is around and under this tree.
    For the Brown Birch Bolete (Leccinum scabrum): continue on the same direction. You will see a small group of birches, with a large branch fallen on the ground. This branch conveniently points to a couple of old boletes, but on the other side of the tree there is a much better looking young specimen.

    1. Thanks. I did look for them but couldn't find them.

  3. Sometimes I wonder what is it that birds see, and how. It doesn't look coincidental that the grey wagtail and the robin should perch or rest against a background of its exact same colouring.

    Starlings' chatter is a winter sign for us. We don't get to have those wondrous murmurations that are seen in Great Britain though.

    1. I only comment when the bird blends well with the background and makes a striking image. There are umpteen pictures with less good matches. However, Grey Wagtails are very counter-coloured -- dark above and light below -- and this works to hide them anywhere. And Robins' natural habitat has dead leaves in it at all times of year, though the park keepers do all they can to destroy it.

      I didn't ask Ulrike where she spent her childhood, but Scandinavia seems likely, and they would only have Starlings in summer.