Friday 30 November 2018

A Great Spotted Woodpecker climbed a tree near the Italian Garden.

I had gone over to this tree because a Mistle Thrush, encouraged by the sunshine, was singing.

But before I got close enough to video it, it stopped and flew over to a squirrel drey, where it settled down comfortably in the dead leaves.

There were more Mistle Thrushes in the rowan tree on Buck Hill and two near the Dell, though this pair are permanent residents rather than winter migrants, and nest here.

There were also a Redwing ...

... a Blackbird ...

... and a Jay in the rowan, all eating fruit.

A Jackdaw preferred to wait for a peanut.

A Coal Tit in the shrubbery at the southwest corner of the bridge was also expecting to be fed, and flitted about irritably when I tried to photograph it.

This Black-Headed Gull from Poland has been a regular visitor for years, and always stands on the north edge of the Serpentine near the Triangle car park.

There were no Mute Swans at the Vista, so the Black Swan had a moment of peace and could lord it over some Canada Geese.

A Great Crested Grebe caught a perch among the submerged twigs of the collapsed willow nest to the bridge.

A Moorhen on the edge of the Serpentine washed, shook off the water, preened and stretched, then walked off, satisfied.

There are usually 200 or so Coots on the Serpentine. They have a meeting place on the north shore where they assemble peacefully side by side and preen -- you never see a Coot fight here although fights are frequent elsewhere. A single Moorhen ignored the assembly and poked around for food.

Thursday 29 November 2018

It was a windy morning.

Even the skilled pilot of the flying ambulance found the air over Buck Hill a bit bumpy.

The birds visiting the rowan tree are completely used to this noisy red bird landing next to them, and carry on feeding. Today's visitors included two Mistle Thrushes ...

... and half a dozen Blackbirds.

The resident Magpie couple were in the same tree.

The ability of Magpies to seize food is amazing. I didn't feed this one on Buck Hill, and it can only have stolen the peanut from a Carrion Crow.

You put down a peanut for a Jay to take, and while the bird is still thinking about flying down a Magpie shoots in from the side and grabs it.

Squirrels have brought down the feeder in the Rose Garden for the second time. They can't get into it, so they jump up and down on the cage until it comes unhooked and falls to the ground, where they can roll it around to make the bird seed fall out. While I was reassembling everything and bending the hook to make it more secure, the local Blackbird came out quite confidently for a sultana.

A flock of Long-Tailed Tits explored the trees in the Dell.

A Great Crested Grebe caught a fish.

A Moorhen rummaged in the fallen leaves at the edge of the Serpentine.

Mute Swans find it slightly awkward swimming through the carpet of leaves on the water.

The Black Swan came to the Vista to be fed while the dominant male Mute Swan was off chasing some other swans.

The weather brightened up in the afternoon, and the low sunlight caught a swan on the Round Pond ...

... and the white Mallard drake, who was near the Lido with his mate and the spare drake who is a part of the trio.

Wednesday 28 November 2018

A young Herring Gull was playing with a stone at the edge of the Serpentine when it was challenged by a Coot.

The Coot got more than it bargained for.

The gull retrieved its stone and took it on to a post where it wouldn't be bothered ...

... but dropped the stone in deep water and couldn't find it when it dived, so it flew away.

Herring Gulls can't resist pulling ropes.

Adult gulls don't play as much as young ones, but this Black-Headed Gull was having fun with a bit of bark from a plane tree.

The pigeon-killing Lesser Black-Backed Gull washed his beak after a bloody meal. He is very careful about his appearance.

The Black Swan came to the edge at the Vista with a hopeful look in her red eyes, and was rewarded with some sunflower hearts, of which she is very fond.

A Blue Tit was also looking expectant, perched comfortably on an iron spike. With their wonderfully grippy feet, tits can perch on anything at any angle.

A forecast of rain kept people out of the park, and there was almost no one feeding the Rose-Ringed Parakeets at the leaf yard. This gave the Great Tits and Blue Tits a chance to come out of the bushes unmolested.

A Robin in the Rose Garden faced down a rival in a flower bed.

A flock of Starlings found a patch of grass where wireworms were plentiful. Black-Headed Gulls saw this and came down to take advantage of the find, pushing the Starlings out of the way.

A Starling ...

... and a Mistle Thrush ate fruit in the rowan tree on Buck Hill.

A Redwing in the top of the tree waited for me to go away so that it could come down. Almost all the fruit at the top of the tree has been eaten, but there is still plenty on the lower branches.

Tuesday 27 November 2018

A grey drizzly day was cheered up by the sight of one of the Little Owls near the Henry Moore sculpture, sitting well down in the hole so this picture had to be taken from a distance.

On a wet day there is almost no one in the Diana fountain enclosure, and the watercourse becomes a washing and drinking place for geese and gulls.

A young Herring Gull enjoyed a splash in the turbulent water.

A Black-Headed Gull is going into summer breeding plumage months too early.

There were four Grey Herons on the island, keeping well apart from each other.

A Great Crested Grebe was fishing on the edge of the island, but after a dive it came up with nothing but a leaf.

A Coot found a seed, but after one bite it discarded it as inedible.

A single Shoveller was feeding in the shadow of the bushes.

The Black Swan preened her splendid ruffles.

The sick Mute Swan which is being looked after at Bluebird Boats was preening too, a good sign. But if she recovers she will have to wait till next summer before she can regrow her badly broken flight feathers. No one knows how she got into this state.

A young swan ate reeds, which you would have thought were a bit tough to be palatable.

A pair of Carrion Crows had pulled some snack wrappers out of a waste bin, and were going through them for edible remains.

A Fieldfare perched in a tree at the top of Buck Hill, the first one I've seen in the park this season.

The Robins at the bottom of the hill, usually numerous and visible, haven't been seen much recently, but there was one in the brambles behind the railings.

A stand of Field Blewits had come up just across the path from the sculpture.

Monday 26 November 2018

A Little Owl unexpectedly appeared in a horse chestnut tree near the Queen's Temple. This may be the long lost female of the pair who have been at the leaf yard for the past six years, or another owl. She was in a hole that has been used before by the male of the pair.

She enjoyed a thorough preen.

The female Kestrel was on Buck Hill again, in the small trees near the children's playground.

A Redwing ate rowan fruit ...

... and a Jay neatly shelled a peanut.

The cabbage palm trees (Cordyline australis) in the Rose Garden have edible fruit that attracted a Mistle Thrush ...

... and a Wood Pigeon.

Another Wood Pigeon pottered around in the pansies in the herbaceous border.

The Black Swan was feeling aggressive. This excellent picture was taken by David Element.

Another Mute Swan flew on to the Long Water ...

... and waterskied to a halt.

The tatty swan was still at Bluebird Boats, eating duck pellets out of a dog bowl. There is nothing wrong with her appetite, which is a good sign.

It's the time of year when Egyptian Geese stand on top of dead trees and yell at each other.

There were seven Red-Crested Pochards at the island.

A dead carp beside the Serpentine attracted a Black-Headed Gull ...

... which was chased off by a Carrion Crow.

This inscription is on a large and beautiful copper beech northwest of the Albert Memorial.