Wednesday 31 October 2018

Both Peregrines were on the barracks tower, but by the time I got close the male had flown away. This is the female.

A Lesser Black-Backed Gull finished off the carcase of a pigeon killed and mostly eaten by the usual Lesser Black-Back.

The killer is actually a food source for other birds, as there are always leftovers. He is now killing well over 400 Feral Pigeons a year, which must be close to the total population, in addition to those taken by the regularly visiting Sparrowhawks and occasional Peregrines. And yet the pigeon population never falls, as more simply come in from outside. The holly tree near the bridge always has a mob of them in the topmost branches.

One of the Coal Tits in the Rose Garden was looking sad after the feeder had been stolen.

After I had been round the lake I went to buy a new one, and chained and padlocked it to the tree. Let's hope this works. It will take a day or two for birds to start visiting it, as it is a different colour from the old one, and had to be hung from a different branch as the thief broke the original branch.

A Mistle Thrush rattled on on the top of a small tree.

A Starling beside the Serpentine shone beautifully in the low sunlight.

A Nuthatch in the leaf yard looked round a branch to see if there was any food on the railings.

A reminder that the ubiquitous Rose-Ringed Parakeets have been in Europe for a long time: a detail of a tapestry of about 1500 in the Musée de Cluny in Paris. Thanks to Peter Schmitt for this picture.

A Great Crested Grebe sped around under the edge of the Serpentine.

The Bar-Headed Geese that visit the park associate easily with the Greylags, and in St James's Park have interbred with them. They are a bit smaller than Greylags and much quieter.

A Greylag washing on the Serpentine made a big splash ...

... but nothing makes a bigger splash than a Mute Swan.

The young swan that landed in the Italian Garden fountain, slightly injuring a wing, seems to like the place, as it has flown back in and has spent the last three days there.

A Tufted Duck cruised through the fallen leaves at Peter Pan.

Tuesday 30 October 2018

A welcome return: the Little Owl in the oak tree near the Albert Memorial was back in her hole. I haven't seen her since the beginning of April.

The hole had been blocked with leaves, probably by a squirrel, and she has thrown them out. But I don't know whether she's going to be able to hold her own against a much larger creature.

The female Kestrel returned to Buck Hill, where she perched in one of the rowan trees.

Later I met Hugh Smith, the Wildlife Officer, who told me that he had seen a male Kestrel hunting on the central island of Marble Arch, only a few feet from the passing buses.

You don't often see a Carrion Crow going head to head with a Herring Gull and winning, so it's worth three pictures. The Herring Gull had a piece of pancake ...

... but it was too big to swallow in one go, so it had to be put down. The crow saw its chance, edged in warily ...

... and made off with most of it.

A pair of Lesser Black-Backed Gulls mirrored each other's movements and called to each other.

More Common Gulls have arrived on the Serpentine, though as usual most of them prefer the Round Pond. This one walked along the line of buoys at the Lido to inspect the orange corner marker.

Two Grey Herons on the island were being unusually civil to each other, so they must be a pair, probably the parents of this year's two young.

The Black Swan came under the bridge on to the Long Water ...

... but saw the dominant male Mute Swan at the Vista and prudently backed off. She has a history with this huge and violent bird.

Skirting the dominant swan at the west end of the Serpentine, who was busy persecuting a subordinate ...

... she came into the edge among a crowd of Coots and relieved the tension by flapping her wings. She uttered a melodious cry, which is something that Mute Swans can't do.

A Great Crested Grebe in plain winter plumage fished under the bridge.

There were several Pied Wagtails hunting on the edge of the Serpentine.

Tom shot this interesting slow-motion video of Rose-Ringed Parakeets coming to feed off his hand.

One of the Nuthatches lurked in the bushes at the leaf yard waiting for me to put some food on the fence.

Mike Meilack took this picture of a rat which had managed to squeeze between the bars of the feeder in the Rose Garden.

But today the birds had worse to contend with than honest rats. Some evil human had stolen the feeder yet again. I am filling in for Rani, who usually runs the Rose Garden feeders, so it's up to me to buy a new one, which I will chain to the tree with a padlock and protect with strong curses.

These little mushrooms on the Vista look like Fairy Ring mushrooms, with the typical arrangement of alternate long and short gills. But the caps are flat, and some of them have bent upwards in an odd way, so maybe they are something else.

Monday 29 October 2018

The temperature is falling, insects are becoming scarce, and the small  birds are getting hungry.

Two of the Carrion Crows on Buck Hill enjoyed a play fight.

Another crow picked a tiny insect out of the blue plastic non-slip mat on the jetty at the Lido.

This mat is a tiny ecosystem. Birds, mostly Egyptian Geese, deposit droppings which collect in the grooves and can't be removed by cleaning. These attract insects, and the insects attract more birds.

Wagtails also hunt on the blue mat. But this Pied Wagtail preferred to look for bugs along the edge of the Serpentine.

A flock of Long-Tailed Tits hunted in the trees near the Italian Garden.

A Robin looked up from its search for insects in the bushes.

A pair of Feral Pigeons canoodled on the roof of one of the small boathouses.

The notorious Lesser Black-Backed Gull had just accounted for yet another pigeon.

The Black Swan pushed through a crowd of Black-Headed Gulls and Coots to get to someone who was feeding the waterfowl.

The air bubblers in the lake, which are supposed to oxygenate the water, bring up silt and little creatures for Shovellers to filter out of the water.

A young Grey Heron stood on a post at the island and muttered quietly to itself.

One of the teenage Great Crested Grebes from the east end of the island was fishing by itself. They are completely independent now ...

... and their parents, at last relieved from the long work of bringing them up, were hanging out quietly together.

There were originally four rowan trees on Buck Hill. One has been killed by Honey Fungus, and a second is in a bad way with half the bark at the base of the trunk rotted off by the mycelium of the fungus growing up in it.

Young parasol msuhrooms the size of golf balls are growing under the bushes near the Albert Memorial. This is probably a Shaggy Parasol, which is commoner in the park than the true Parasol and, unlike it, is not safe to eat as it gives some people a stomach upset.

Sunday 28 October 2018

One of the Peregrines was on the Household Cavalry barracks pecking at something on the ledge, probably a Feral Pigeon. But the closer you go to the tall tower get a picture, the less you can see.

A Blackbird ate fruit in one of the rowan trees on Buck Hill.

Starlings gathered in a tree and went down to bathe in the Serpentine.

The Nuthatches came out of the leaf yard to be fed.

Just prop up a log and put some food on it, and you get an instant video of Great Tits, Blue Tits and Robins, though the Nuthatch wouldn't oblige today.

One of the Dunnocks near the bridge foraged under the bushes.

A Pied Wagtail sprinted around on the grass beside the Serpentine.

The pair of Coal Tits in the Rose Garden spend most of their time in a copper beech tree handily near the feeder.

Carrion Crows played in the gusty wind over the Lido restaurant.

A Black-Headed Gull over the Round Pond had a bit of food, and was chased by Common Gulls and a Herring Gull.

The number of Cormorants on the lake is already falling as they exhaust the supply of fish, but there were still a good number at the island.

The Black Swan may be smaller than the Mute Swans, but she can keep them away.

Two rats came out of a rose bed in the Rose Garden.

A Great Egret has been in Richmond Park for several days. Thanks to David Element for this picture.