Sunday, 13 October 2019

Another rainy day. The Robins ...

... and Dunnocks put up with it ...

... but only Blackbirds seem to really enjoy rain, and come out to feast on the worms it brings up.

A Chaffinch poked about in the bushes near the bridge ...

... and the usual Coal Tit was waiting in the holly tree.

This is a picture by Michael Johanssen of a Great Tit taking a pine nut from my hand.

People on the Lido restaurant terrace often can't resist hand feeding the thronging Starlings.

The pampered Rose-Ringed Parakeets don't always get it their own way. Sometimes squirrels steal the apples that visitors put out for them.

Someone had put down some mixed birdseed on the edge of the Serpentine, and a Common Gull was making the most of it.

The two young Great Crested Grebes from the nest near the bridge are now able to look after themselves. They are still with their parents -- one with each parent -- and begging occasionally, but I don't think they're being fed any more.

The three at the island are younger and still need feeding. One of them prodded its sleeping father to get some service.

It was the day of the Hyde Park half marathon, and a band of drummers did their best to gee up the tail enders as they plodded painfully past.

When the last one had gone by, three young Egyptian Geese thought it would be a good idea to lie down in the middle of the road.

This is one of four reliefs of children in the Italian Garden. They are playing at shepherds and shepherdesses.

In 1860, when the Italian Garden was built, there were sheep in the park, used to keep the grass down. The shepherd lived in the Shepherd's Cottage in Shepherd Market on the other side of Park Lane, which was just a lane then rather than a busy main road. Sadly, the cottage was destroyed in the Blitz.

Saturday, 12 October 2019

A dismal drizzly day, but Tufted Ducks don't mind.

More Gadwalls have arrived on the Long Water.

The single Great Crested Grebe chick from the west end of the island wandered around by itself, waiting for its parents to bring a fish. It doesn't have much fun on its own, while the three chicks from the other end of the island play happily together.

A Moorhen at the Lido inspected a purple plant for possible insects ...

... while a Robin sang in an olive tree.

The frantic splashing of a group of bathing Starlings is fun to watch.

The usual Great Tits came out on the holly bush near the bridge.

This Blue Tit was on the other side of the Long Water in a place where I've never fed a Blue Tit before, yet it came to my hand. They are much more cautious than Great Tits about approaching humans.

A Jackdaw on an urn in the Italian Garden deftly caught a peanut I threw to it.

The Rose-Ringed Parakeets have torn down all the pods on the catalpa trees but, being messy and wasteful feeders, they have left a lot of intact pods on the ground from which beans can still be extracted.

A Grey Heron on a perilously thin birch branch on the island ignored a parakeet that had just landed in front of it.

It's difficult to shoot video on a wet day because the little Lumix camera isn't weatherproof, so here's one I made earlier. A fox dozed under the Henry Moore sculpture, another passed through the Dell to lie up in the bushes till nightfall.

Several clumps of dandelions beside the path below the Queen's Temple have sprouted odd white leaves. Update: Conehead54 says they're Creeping Thistle. But that doesn't answer the question of why they've gone white.

The rain has brought up plenty of mushrooms. These Horse Mushrooms were on the lawn east of the Dell.

These small grey ones were growing in a place where a tree stump was grubbed out near the Serpentine Gallery. My best guess is that they are Grey Shag mushrooms, Coprinopsis cinerea, but if they aren't Mario will probably put me right. C. cinerea is one of those species that geneticists enjoy playing around with, and its genome has been sequenced. It is the source of an antibiotic substance that might be medically useful.

Update: Mario thinks it may be the Fairy Inkcap or Trooping Crumble Cap, Coprinellus disseminatus.

A splendid picture by Fran to lighten up a dull day: a Red Deer stag at Bushy Park, roaring and raking up bracken with its antlers, something that stags do as the rutting season approaches.

Friday, 11 October 2019

On a dank autumn morning when it had only just stopped raining, it was a surprise to hear one of the Little Owls near the Albert Memorial calling from a horse chestnut tree. This tree is just downhill from the place of the last sighting.

A party of Long-Tailed Tits landed in a willow tree on the south side of the Serpentine ...

... bringing with them a Coal Tit, which picked bugs from the underside of a leaf ...

... and a Chiffchaff.

A female Pied Wagtail sprinted through the short grass on the shore. Moments later, as I took my eye away from the viewfinder of the camera, I saw it chasing a pigeon. It's probably the one I saw doing this yesterday.

A Carrion Crow had the clever idea of pulling up the plastic liner of a rubbish bin to extract all the contents in one go.

The Grey Heron that has been hanging around the Lido restaurant found that only a few people were sitting on the terrace, and took the bold step of coming right in to check the tables.

A few years ago there was a heron at the Dell restaurant that landed on occupied tables and stole people's food off their plates in front of them. This heron, which is still quite young, may be on its way to doing the same.

A Black-Headed Gull hauled a hoverfly larva out of the lake -- at least, that's what I think it is, and the gull seemed pleased and flew away with it.

The Great Crested Grebe chicks from the island were being constantly fed beside the deserted boat platform ...

... but there was time for a parent to enjoy a fish for itself.

The chick from the other end of the island is usually waiting for its parents next to the place where it was hatched. It was preening its little wing.

Paul threw some peanuts into the stream in the Dell for the large carp that live there. The Moorhens dived to have their share. They are not at all good at diving, making even Coots look accomplished.

Two Greylag Geese chewed a fallen twig. I've often seen them taking the bark off branches of various trees, and evidently they like the taste.

A group of Mute Swans took off together.

Some Giant Puffballs have come up beside the leaf yard, a place where they haven't grown before.

The Shire horses brought back a wagonload of wet cut grass from Buck Hill, where young executives from Bloomberg had been toiling in the drizzle to rake it up and load it. I don't know whether this activity is voluntary or compulsory. Anyway, it's good to see them doing something useful.

Tom was at Rainham Marshes again, and this time managed to get a shot of two Green Sandpipers.

Thursday, 10 October 2019

A Kingfisher, perhaps a pair of them, visited the Long Water, but refused to come anywhere near and the best I could manage was a very distant shot from the far side of the lake.

A Pied Wagtail chased a Feral Pigeon around the Serpentine -- no chance of a photograph of this distant though interesting pursuit. Eventually the wagtail gave up and landed on the roof of the little pavilion at the Lido. You can see that this a a female from the grey feathers on her back.

I have no idea what the pigeon had done to annoy the wagtail.

Grey Herons are hated by all other birds. A Black-Headed Gull amused itself by annoying a heron on the roof of one of the boathouses.

The second Common Gull to arrive in the park for the winter. Its legs are yellower than those of the gull I photographed yesterday.

Starlings queued up at the Lido restaurant waiting for a table to be vacated.

A Robin fluffed itself up on a post.

A Wren perched on a bush in the Dell.

A Blackbird foraged in the bushes near the bridge.

A Moorhen chick picked up grit from the tarmac path beside the lake, quite difficult because most of it is stuck down with tar. A Coot barged in, but a parent fended it off.

The Mallard drakes are looking their best in brand new breeding plumage.

An Ink Cap mushroom has come up among the dead leaves.

David Element was in the park, and got much better pictures than I did on a slow day. Here are four.

A Cormorant managed to land on a post, not easy for them ...

... and all too often they miss their footing and slide off.

A Tufted drake enjoyed a wash.

A fine close-up of a Jay. They are none too visible at the moment, and I only saw one all day.

Tom was at Rainham Marshes, where he got a good shot of a Green Sandpiper.

So was John Ferguson, who took this beautiful picture of a Sparrowhawk.