Monday 12 August 2019

The group of Great Crested Grebes on the Serpentine is spreading out and there is more squabbling and chasing.

Now that there are 19 adults on the lake, a record number in recent years, there won't be enough room for them all to establish territories, so there will be more friction.

The single grebe chick on the Serpentine watched its mother turning over her eggs.

The young Greylags on the Serpentine are fully grown, but still being shepherded around by their parents, who are on the far left and right of this picture.

The teenage Greylags that flew in a few weeks ago seem to have gone away again.

The dominant male Mute Swan on the Long Water was with his single cygnet, which is now as big as him. But it still can't fly. Swans' wings develop very late, a useful safety measure as swans are not manoeuvrable in the air, and an incautious flying youngster would be liable to crash into something and hurt itself.

We thought the single Tufted duckling on the Serpentine wouldn't last more than a few days, but under the watchful eye of its mother it's thriving and growing fast.

The Black-Headed Gull at the front of the picture is a couple of months old. The one behind it is a bit older. They won't get adult plumage till next year.

On a showery day it was a surprise to see the male Little Owl near the Albert Memorial.

The scrub and brambles at the edge of the paths around the Long Water has been cut back, exposing an insect-rich area with easy access for Blackbirds.

While I was sheltering from the rain under a tree, a young Blackbird forgot I was there and started hopping around at my feet.

I think the odd little white pellets are some kind of fertiliser applied in an effort to make grass grow in the shade of the tree.

There haven't been many Starlings at the park restaurants in recent weeks when the weather was fine and there were lots of diners on the terraces leaving scraps for them. But now the weather has turned cooler and wetter they were back in force at the Lido, collecting on the weathervane, coming down to the umbrellas, and flying on to unoccupied tables to hunt for scraps.

A shower sent outside diners at the Dell restaurant scurrying indoors, but there were still crumbs on the wet tables for the Starlings to find.

A Wood Pigeon flew into the Dell, wet and bedraggled ...

... decided that it might as well get properly soaked, and went for a bathe in the pool.


  1. Looking at the bedraggled pigeon, I remember farmers used to forecast the weather looking at what the birds were doing. If they took baths in the water it was going to rain, if they took dust bath it wouldn't. Many years later I found out that Greek augurs took a similar view of things!

    Is the Grebe chick looking at its mother with worry? No doubt I am anthropomorphizing it, and I am awful at telling facial expressions, but it looks to me as if it does.

    1. I think the grebe chick is simply annoyed that its mother isn't immediately diving to get it a fish. But it is still being fed by whichever parent is off the nest.

  2. Ralph, I think both Black-headed Gulls belong to this year. The species takes one year to reach adult plumage. The front bird is in juvenile plumage whereas the slightly older bird behind has already moulted into 1st-winter plumage. Gets much more complex with the big gulls that take 3-4 years to attain adult plumage.

    1. I dare say you're right, though the ageing of gulls is less certain than the little diagrams in Collins suggest, and we have BHGs in teenage plumage for a long time. Have changed the text.