Wednesday 22 August 2018

The fruit on the rowan trees at the top of Buck Hill is now ripe enough to attract a flock of Mistle Thrushes. Before they visit the rowans they gather at the top of a nearby tree where there are some handy dead branches.

They they all descend in a mob, eat several berries quickly, and leave. Most of the Mistle Thrushes in the park are winter migrants, and only a few stay here all the year round.

Rose-Ringed Parakeets are very messy feeders, spilling more than they eat. Maybe they are just squeezing the juice out of the fruit and discarding the pulp. But rowan fruit are don't have large stones that they might want to spit out. They are like tiny apples, with five small pips.

This bird wastefully bit off a bunch and dropped it. When parakeets visit a tree, the ground underneath is strewn with debris.

I couldn't find a Kestrel on Buck Hill today, despite two visits. The Little Owl in Hyde Park didn't seem to be in the oak tree either. Sometimes you think birds are getting into a habit and are reliably visible, but often they disappoint you by only keeping it up for three days.

There was a Jackdaw on the roof of one of the small boathouses. This is the farthest east I've seen one since they returned to the park five years ago. They expand their territory very slowly.

But they don't seem to be troubled by their obvious rivals the Carrion Crows, and share the area around the leaf yard without much friction. In Richmond Park there are far more Jackdaws than Carrion Crows, so they may even be driving the larger birds out.

The second young Grey Heron was still in the nest, after its sibling has been out for three days. It seems to look more and more miserable, but this is probably just imagination. Herons never look happy.

The other young heron was wandering around on the island. I hope it is getting enough to eat. This is a very dangerous time for young birds, when they have to learn to feed themselves in a hurry.

It's supposed to be very difficult to tell a young Lesser Black-Backed Gull from a young Herring Gull, but this one looks quite distinctive -- very dark, with an all-black bill. Just after I took this picture it flew away, revealing the only certain distinguishing sign, an unvaried row of dark flight feathers. Young Herring Gulls have paler inner primaries.

A strangely tattered and frayed Mute Swan with a broken primary was preening on the shore of the Serpentine. Was it the loser in a serious fight?

The Egyptian Goose family with the blond father haven't been noticeable for a while, but they were here today with two almost fully grown goslings, only a few yards from the place on the edge of the Serpentine near the Triangle car park where they first appeared.

The brood of seven Tufted ducklings are now quite large and independent, and no longer cling to their mother. They were in a loose group on the edge of the Serpentine near the Bluebird Boats platform, and I could only get five of them into this shot.

Here is a closer view of one of them. They are beginning to get proper feathers to replace the down.

There were a lot of Red Crested Pochards both on the Long Water and here on the Serpentine next to the island.

In the background you can see one of the Great Crested Grebes from the west end of the island with one of the chicks. The other chick had ventured out on to the lake to intercept the other parent returning with a fish. It stretched out a large foot.

After the hot weather the north end of the Long Water is really getting quite repellent, with a thick mixture of green algae and duckweed. Coots don't mind, as they can eat both.

Paul told me that two people had mistaken the carpet of duckweed on the Italian Garden ponds for a lawn and had stepped on to it, only to plunge into three feet of water.

Moorhens can eat just about anything. Someone had dumped some boiled rice on the edge of the Serpentine, and a parent was feeding it to a teenage chick, which was actually perfectly able to feed itself but habits die hard.


  1. Poor Swan. It is looking so very much the worse for wear. I hope it was only its dignity that suffered.

    Herons always look morose, but the second Heron on the nest looks particularly low-spirited. Perhaps it doesn't like being on its own.

    Grebes' feet never cease to amaze me!

    1. Perhaps the young herons have cheered up, as far as herons can. See Virginia's news below.

  2. Both young herons were on the nest this evening... maybe it has become a penthouse des res!!!!

    1. Good news that the young heron can fly well enough to get back into the nest. I was beginning to think that it had tumbled out prematurely while unwisely climbing on to a thin branch.

  3. Nice group of Red-crested Pochards- seem to be mainly eclipse drakes; I can only pick out 2 females.