Saturday 15 June 2019

A pair of Great Crested Grebes rested on the Round Pond while Swifts whizzed overhead.

The three motherless teenage Mallards on the Long Water are constantly charging around, alarming the more sedate adults.

The Coots at the Dell restaurant were keeping their chicks under the balcony, safe from swooping gulls.

A few yards along the shore, one of the young Pied Wagtails was looking for insects.

It's still not clear what's going on in the underage Grey Herons' nest at the northeast corner of the Serpentine island, the only one still occupied.

My guess is nothing, but I'm delaying putting in my report to the heronries census until the birds abandon the nest.

The young Great Tits were quieter today and some of them may already be catching their own insects, but this one near the Henry Moore sculpture was still begging.

A parent brought a larva.

A Wren ...

... and a female Blackcap appeared beside the Long Water.

A flight of Long-Tailed Tits went through the trees near Kensington Palace.

The usual Coal Tit near the bridge waited impatiently to be fed. She hates being photographed, and tends to leap out of the way when you pick up the camera.

In the wildflower meadow south of the palace there was a fine display of poppies.

A Honeybee visiting bindweed flowers behind the Lido spent quite a long time in each one. They must be a richer source of pollen and nectar than their rather ordinary appearance would suggest.

This pump at the Mount was reputed to supply the best drinking water in London but, in the words of Bob Dylan, 'The pump don't work 'cause the vandals took the handles.'

The Mount, now a flattish area between the Serpentine Gallery and the Albert Memorial, was originally a 'prospect mound', an artificial hill from which the royal family could admire the view in what was then the private garden of Kensington Palace. Since then it has been flattened, and the only remains are some small hummocks at the north edge of the east lawn of the Memorial.


  1. I always enjoy learning little tidbits from the story of Kensington Gardens. No wonder that Peter Pan decided to head for Kensington Gardens when he left his home. It is a magical place.

    Do Swifts not cry while they whizz past? I cannot hear them in the video clip. I am astounded by how low over the water surface they fly.

    1. Swifts certainly scream when they are high up, and it has been suggested that their high-pitched call is a kind of echolocation that helps them to find insects. I find this hard to believe, but when they are flying low over the water they seem to remain silent, and it's possible that they can't echolocate the low-flying midges because the ripples on the water interfere with the sound. Maybe this is nonsense, but the Swifts were certainly silent.

      Their flight is so precise that they can drink from the surface of the water. If it's raining they catch raindrops and drink those.

  2. " Took an untrodden path once, where the swift don’t win the race" - see y'all at the pump on 12 July ...

    1. There's another pump with no handle in a prettier setting five minutes' walk from the concert enclosure -- between the greenhouses and the police station. It would make a wonderful picture with Dylan.