Friday 14 September 2018

Two Great Crested Grebe chicks at the bridge raced to be first when their parent came up with a fish.

A Moorhen chick wandered slowly around looking for food. This gives a chance to see how they can walk with their huge feet without tripping. As the toes are lifted off the ground they are pulled so that they are parallel, and then they are spread out again as the foot goes down to the ground.

Another young Moorhen climbed around in a clump of purple loosestrife in the Italian Garden. This plant, brought in for ornamental purposes, is now spreading throughout the park.

There are three confusingly similar purple-flowered plants in the park. This Mallard is eating great willowherb.

There is also some rose bay willowherb, the very common plant of derelict ground, but I can't put my finger on a picture of it at the moment.

One of the young Grey Herons was perched in a patch of  purple loosestrife.

The other young heron was lying down in the nest.

The pigeon-killing Lesser Black-Backed Gull had killed two pigeons today, and was sitting in the lake digesting his heavy meal. One of the victims was finished off by a young gull, and the other by a Carrion Crow. The crow's feeding technique is much more efficient, as it can use its large strong feet to hold down the pigeon while tearing bits off it.

A Cormorant swam rapidly, opening and closing its wings, evidently to rinse out parasites.

Some of the Mute Swans are still regrowing their flight feathers after moulting.

The young swans' wings are developing, but they still don't have any flight feathers. The very late arrival of their ability to fly is just as well, since swans are unmanoeuvrable and liable to crash into things.

A pair of Feral Pigeons were courting. They were interrupted and they rushed off because a Carrion Crow landed a few feet away.

A month ago there was often one Carrion Crow on the roof of the Lido restaurant. Earlier this week there were two. Today there was a mob of them. When one finds a good scavenging site, news spreads quickly -- but it's surprising that they didn't exploit this food source years ago.

The very shy Coal Tit in the leaf yard paused for just long enough to be photographed.

The pair of Nuthatches are much bolder, but here the difficulty is grabbing a shot of these swift birds before they move.

I think this strange object in the leaf yard is the remains of a giant puffball that has been mostly eaten by rats.

A gas lamp in Rotten Row needed mending.

This sandy track, now used only for riding, was made in 1690 for the use of King William III as a route from his newly built Kensington Palace to Whitehall, and it was the first road in Britain to have street lamps -- 300 oil lamps, refilled nightly. They were needed because Hyde Park was notoriously full of highwaymen, especially in the area of Knight's Bridge over the river that is now called the Westbourne (it was just the Bourne then). It would not do to have the king waylaid and robbed. As any guidebook will tell you, 'Rotten Row' is a corruption of 'Route du Roi', the king's road, a name used by the French-speaking court.


  1. Some lovely photos as ever- particularly the Nuthatch.

    The purple flower with the Heron isn't the same as on waste land! Habitat is a good clue- it's Purple Loosestrife rather than Rosebay. The photo above feature's the latter's cousin, the Great (aka Hairy) Willowherb.

    1. Thanks, will sort it out. I'm sure we do have some rose bay willowherb in the park, as it was prevalent before they unwisely put large clumps of purple loosestrife in the Italian Garden and it started seeding all over the place.

  2. I always love reading about the history of the Park. It is fascinating that Rotten Row should be a corruption of Route de Roi: the English language is so good at naturalizing foreign words, even when the end result makes little sense.

    1. English is such a greedy language, constantly engulfing loanwords and chewing them till they are unrecognisable.

  3. I watched some House Martins hunting over the Round Pond. It can’t be long before they leave us.
    The West of England goose was also near the Round Pond.
    There were a couple of Shovelers on the lake near Peter Pan

    1. Didn't see any House Martins today anywhere. Looks as if they have finally left. Will keep an eye out for the Shovelllers.