Saturday 17 August 2019

This is the younger of the two broods of two Great Crested Grebe chicks on the Long Water, seen from above looking over the parapet of the bridge. One of the chicks just managed to swallow quite a large fish.

The young grebe at the island is beginning to grow a black crest.

A large group of Red-Crested Pochards, almost all drakes, have flown in, either from St James's Park or from Regent's Park where they are numerous. There were 20 at the island, of which I managed to get 19 into one shot ...

... and about half a dozen on the Long Water, where the bushes make it harder to count them. This is a drake in eclipse, with the same plumage as a female but given away by his red eye and bill.

There were also some Gadwalls. Again, the male is in eclipse ...

... and here is a female for comparison.

I think this is one of the two young Common Pochards, now almost indistinguishable from an adult female except that its wings are not yet fully grown. Both were at the Vista.

There is another giant Greylag on the Serpentine, bigger than a large Canada Goose. Probably it's wholly or partly a domestic goose (these are genetically Greylags, bred for size), though the markings on its white head show hints of Canada or even Bar-Headed. Unlike the other two giants, it has normal brown eyes rather than blue.

A Cormorant was washing very splashily on the Long Water.

The long grass on Buck Hill is alive with grasshoppers, crickets, crane flies and other insects, and a family of Magpies were making the most of it. The heads of the adults are tatty because they have been stuffing food down the gaping beaks of chicks.

The Jays are looking equally tatty.

Two Wood Pigeons bashed each other ineffectually in a plane tree in the Dell.

A young Starling at the Lido restaurant grabbed a bit of pizza.

A Blackbird ate rowan berries in the trees at the top of Buck Hill.

Sadly, honey fungus has been advancing on the four trees. One is already dead and cut down, though the stump is sprouting feebly. A second is half dead, and the third, which has the most fruit, is under attack as this picture shows. You can see the damage to the bark at the base of the tree caused by white rot, which will eventually kill it.

Ian Young was in St James's Park, where he photographed a new Black Swan cygnet in yesterday's rain.

There are also two broods of Mute Swans, with seven and six cygnets.


  1. I love the videos showing from above how Grebes swim.

    Konrad Lorenz used to say that he would never understand why pigeons and doves are symbols of peace, given that they are utterly vicious a and merciless in fights.

    1. I had forgotten that Lorenz said that, but have observed the same myself. Feral Pigeons are better fighters and more aggressive than Wood Pigeons.

  2. I see another hornbeam has been trashed by the parakeets - this time on the other side of the path.

    1. I don't think they'll stop until they've attacked all these inoffensive trees.