Friday 31 August 2018

The two young Grey Herons were on the boathouse roof. They remain very friendly with each other. An adult heron, out of shot farther along the ridge, was probably one of their parents.

One carefully examined an ornamental wooden knob.

Later, one of them was down on the edge of the island picking small edible things out of the water, probably insect larvae. It will take it a while to learn an adult's fishing skills. Meanwhile it has to survive on what smaller items it can find.

A Cormorant was fishing in the mat of algae on the Long Water. There are plenty of fish sheltering in here, but the Cormorant's task is harder than it looks, as the algae extend up from the bottom of the lake and the Cormorant has to make its way through a dense underwater forest.

Soon it gave up and jumped on to a post at Peter Pan ...

... only just making it. Sometimes they fail and crash ignominiously into the water.

Some of the Tufted ducklings were diving nearer the shore.

It took three visits to Buck Hill to find the Kestrel, but eventually she appeared.

David Element took this fine picture yesterday as she flew out from the same tree.

The Mistle Thrushes were on the ground hunting for worms ...

... and the only visitors to the Buck Hill rowan trees were a Magpie ...

... and a Great Tit picking out larvae from the bark.

A Magpie had a brief splash in the little pool at the top of the Dell waterfall and flew off to dry.

A prettily marked black and white Feral Pigeon trotted around on the edge of the Serpentine.

Thursday 30 August 2018

A Peregrine circled high over Buck Hill before heading off in the direction of the Metropole Hilton in the Edgware Road, the pair's usual day roost.

A flock of House Martins flying over the hill didn't seem to be worried by it, neither flying away nor mobbing it. A raptor that can take down a pigeon might consider them too small to be woth catching.

The female Kestrel arrived afterwards and perched in a little oak sapling.

At the other end of the hill, the only visitor to the rowan trees was a Magpie.

The air ambulance service uses Buck Hill as a pickup point for casualties needing urgent attention, such as people with spinal injuries being flown to Stoke Mandeville Hospital. The unusual helicopter with no tail rotor is an MD 902 Explorer. The thrust required to keep the fuselage from spinning in the opposite direction to the main rotor is provided by a fan inside the tail boom blowing out air sideways at the tip. It makes the helicopter a lot quieter than a normal one. The birds on Buck Hill are used to this visitor, and carry on as normal when it arrives.

Tom saw a Kingfisher on the Long Water, in the fallen poplar tree at the Vista. This is the first sighting of a Kingfisher here for several months. Here's his picture, taken from across the lake.

One of the young Grey Herons perched on the ridge of a boathouse roof. They have already got their flying skills well adjusted, though I haven't yet seen one land on a slender branch as the adults can.

The other was fishing on the shore of the island.

The Great Crested Grebes at the island were putting weed on the Coots' nest as if they meant to use it themselves. I don't think they are serious about this. They have two quite young chicks to look after, and if they really wanted the nest they would pull the top twigs off to reduce it to a comfortable height for them. Nevertheless, a pair of grebes once started a successful nest on the Serpentine as late as 1 September.

A grebe with plenty of time to spare alternately preened and looked below the surface to see if any fish were passing.

The Coots' nest site at the Serpentine outflow now has a football at the top of the weir, held there by the current. It blocks the plank that the Coots climb up and down to get to their chicks at the lower level, but the Coots are strong enough to push it aside if they want to.

A Moorhen lost patience with two chicks clamouring for food and shooed them away, without much effect. At this age the chicks are already quite good at finding their own food.

The enormous Greylag Goose on the Serpentine seems to have a Canada mate. It's considerably larger, as this photograph by Abigail shows.

Jon Ferguson has been keeping an eye on the remarkably successful Mallard family on the Round Pond, and sent two pictures. On 30 July there were eight small ducklings.

On 29 August there were still seven, a remarkable feat on an an open pond with no cover, patrolled by large hungry gulls.

Wednesday 29 August 2018

Near the Italian Garden, Rose-Ringed Parakeets stripped off the outside of catalpa pods to get at the beans. The parakeets are originally from India and the tree is popularly known as an Indian bean tree, but in this case it's the other kind of Indians, as it's a North American tree. Nevertheless, the parakeets have discovered that the beans are palatable.

They were also eating rowan fruit in the trees on Buck Hill ...

... accompanied by Mistle Thrushes.

The Kestrel was on Buck Hill, but I only got a distant view of her ...

... before she was chased off by the usual aggressive Magpie.

She has sometimes attacked the Magpie, but seems to lack the resolve to deal with it thoroughly.

While I was looking for the Kestrel I saw two small brown birds that I think were more Whinchats, but didn't get close enough to identify them positively or get a picture before they flew up into a tree.

A Robin sang in a hawthorn tree beside the Long Water.

A young Pied Wagtail looked for insects along the edge of the Serpentine.

Only one of the young Grey Herons was visible. It was back in the nest, preening.

An adult used a Coot nest on the Long Water as a fishing platform.

This is one of the parents of the Coot chicks that were washed over the weir preened at the Serpentine outflow. The two chicks are still staying inside most of the time. You can hear one of them calling occasionally.

A Moorhen chick in the Italian Garden struck a pose ...

... recalling Raeburn's picture of The Reverend Robert Walker skating on Duddingston Loch.

They leave footprints that suggest a much larger bird.

The two Great Crested Grebe chicks from the west end of the island begged incessantly for food.

One of the Tufted Duck families fed at the edge of the Serpentine until shooed off by an aggressive Coot.

Tuesday 28 August 2018

Both the young Grey Herons were on the shore of the island, and one of the parents was standing in the nest to get away from them.

One of the young birds flew up to the nest, clamouring loudly to be fed.

The parent fled.

The young heron stood in the nest, unfed but looking rather pleased with itself.

A Black-Headed Gull and a Pochard were sharing a floating branch reasonably peacefully when another gull tried to knock the first one off. It didn't succeed.

The young Tufted Ducks are now almost as large as their mother.

Almost all the Red Crested Pochards on the lake are male, though since they are in eclipse they have plumage quite similar to females, with just a hint of ginger on the head. But their red bills and eyes distinguish them from females.

Common Pochards don't seem to go into eclipse at all, and remain smart looking all year round.

The Mute Swan family who have edged their way on to the dominant swan's territory on the Long Water were relaxing on the bank.

The Coot chicks from the reed bed at the east end of the Serpentine are growing up.

A young Herring Gull eyed them hungrily, but was faced down by a parent and left.

The female Kestrel was hunting over Buck Hill. Here she is about to take off from a branch.

Later she was seen at the Round Pond with the young one. This picture of her on the grass was taken by Jabir Belmehdi on his smartphone.

There was another sighting on the north edge of Hyde Park, but we don't know which one of the three it was. Anyway, they certainly seem at home here now.

A young Wren appeared in a bush beside the Long Water.

Several Wood Pigeons were feasting on the berries in the pyracantha bush near the Lido.

Feeding Feral Pigeons is unwise. Sometimes they take over.

In the water a short way off, one of them had become lunch for the notorious Lesser Black-Backed Gull.

Monday 27 August 2018

The two young Grey Herons were together on the edge of the island, touching bills. I don't think this is a gesture of affection. It may be what they do to adults to get them to regurgitate food when they are in the nest, and a sign that they are both hungry, as you would expect when they are newly independent and learning a heron's trade.

Their parents were paying no attention to them. One was on the roof of the Lido restaurant, hoping to scavenge some food for itself.

Later the two young ones flew back up into the nest.

The restuarant roof was covered with Starlings waiting to flock down to the terrace to scavenge spilt food.

One sang on a restaurant umbrella.

The female Kestrel was hunting over Buck Hill, and paused in a lime tree already looking autumnal.

At the other end of the hill, a small flock of Mistle Thrushes were eating rowan berries.

As the weather gets colder, the small birds are hungry again and eager to be fed. A Great Tit at the leaf yard delicately ate a pine nut.

A Coal Tit lurked in the shade of the bushes, too shy to come out to be fed.

A Blackcap uttered its distinctive ticking call in the bushes beside the Long Water.

House Martins are still here, and were flying low over the Long Water.

One of the young Great Crested Grebes from the nest near the bridge preened its shining white belly.

The Great Crested Grebes from the west end of the Serpentine island were in their usual sheltered place with their two chicks. The nest is not theirs, but was made by a pair of Coots. Earlier, it was stolen by a different pair of grebes, who raised two chicks there. These grebes nested somewhere behind the wire basket, out of sight.

The rain has brought up Fairy Ring mushrooms in a few places, though there are no proper rings yet.