Monday 30 September 2019

The Reed Warbler family at the east end of the Lido are still here. Three of them could be glimpsed flitting around the red stems of a patch of dogwood. (Update: Tom thinks it's a Chiffchaff, and he's probably right, though this is certainly where the Reed Warbler family was earlier.)

A Dunnock lurked under a bench beside the Lido ticket office.

A Wren hopped about in the undergrowth beside the Long Water.

A Long-Tailed Tit hung upside down from a twig.

Mistle Thrushes landed in the dark-leafed maple tree on Buck Hill.

Two Jackdaws waited on the bridge to be given peanuts.

A Carrion Crow bathed in the Serpentine.

A Moorhen in the Dell built a day nest while one of the three chicks wandered through the plants on the bank.

Two of the three Great Crested Grebe chicks at the east end of the island practised fishing together. Of course they aren't catching anything yet. Their devoted parents are still on hand to feed them, though a Black-Headed Gull tried to interfere.

The chick from the other end of the island was pulling at a floating twig. Maybe it was playing, or perhaps some snails had collected on the twig, as they tend to do on any floating object.

I'm not sure whether this Greylag Goose was playing with a stick, or whether it was trying to chew off the bark and eat it.

A young Egyptian Goose at the Vista, not yet full grown, extended its large wings. It seems strange that the Egyptians in the park, so well equipped for flight, never seem to go anywhere.

Pochards rested under the trees beside the Vista. There are about forty of them on the Long Water now.

Sunday 29 September 2019

The shrubbery on the west side of the Long Water next to the bridge is now a better place to feed the small birds than the leaf yard, which has been much affected by the indiscriminate feeding of parakeets.

There are plenty of Great Tits ...

... and Blue Tits ...

... a pair of Coal Tits of which only the female will come to the hand of people she trusts ...

... and a Robin, again one of a pair which have now split up for the winter and are singing against each other.

On the ground below, here is the mate of the female Chaffinch I videoed yesterday. He's in the subdued colours of his winter plumage, but still quite bright.

Here she is for comparison.

On the other side of the lake a Goldcrest could be seen in a yew tree just north of the Henry Moore sculpture.

Jackdaws, which returned to Kensington Gardens only about five years ago, have been slowly expanding their territory and can now be found all along the south shore of the Serpentine.

It's curious that pairs of Feral Pigeons tend to resemble each other in colour and markings. They seem to consciously choose mates that look like themselves.

The oldest two of this year's Great Crested Grebes are now independent. They will have traces of their juvenile stripes till next year.

The small chick from the west end of the island was in the middle of the lake by itself.

That would be extremely dangerous for a duckling, but even the youngest grebes can dive in a flash if a gull comes overhead.

Coots on the Long Water passed the time by having a fight.

A female Buff-Tailed Bumblebee worked her way over a patch of salvia till her pollen bags were full almost to bursting.

Saturday 28 September 2019

There were at least twenty Cormorants on and around the Serpentine island, in addition to half a dozen on the Long Water. They will keep coming here until they have fished the lake out to the point of diminishing returns.

Some of them fished around the moored pedalos -- the boat hire wasn't doing much business on a grey blustery day, so they were undisturbed.

There are still plenty of smaller fish for the Great Crested Grebes. A chick raced to prod its parent into hunting.

The Moorhens in the Dell still have three chicks out of their very late brood of four -- we thought there were only two, but it's hard to count them as they lurk in the waterside plants. They coexist peacefully with the large carp in the stream.

People have strange ideas about what to feed birds, but actually corn on the cob is not a bad choice and much healthier than the bread they usually get, and the Canada Geese seem to like it.

Three teenage Egyptian Geese huddled together in the wind, just as they used to when they were little goslings.

Blondie had a drink. She looked sad. There has been no sign of her mate for some time, and it seems that he has died. Egyptian Geese usually mate for life, and may stay single if they have lost their partner.

The Shoveller drake is still at the island. The Shovellers on the Long Water didn't appear today or yesterday, and they may have moved on, leaving him alone to wait for more to turn up. Numbers of Shovellers in thge park have fallen steeply in the last ten years.

A Gadwall drake sat under a post at Peter Pan ...

... while his mate rested on the top.

A female Chaffinch poked around in the leaf litter in the shrubbery. She seemed to be finding plenty of small larvae.

There were a few people on the terrace of the Lido restaurant, enough to attract some Starlings hoping for a lunchtime raid.

A young fox looked out from the Dell before strolling into the bushes.

Friday 27 September 2019

Two Goldcrests were leaping around in the yew tree near the bridge. Standing on the bridge parapet allows you to photograph them on the level.

A flock of Long-Tailed Tits paused in a hawthorn tree beside the Long Water.

A Treecreeper climbed an oak in the leaf yard.

A Rose-Ringed Parakeet chewed the pods on a catalpa tree, decided they weren't quite ripe yet, and flew away. The parakeets have found out that there is no point in tearing the pods open if the beans inside aren't developed.

Carrion Crows enjoy a gusty wind which lets them fool around in the air.

One of the Great Crested Grebe chicks at the bridge was begging loudly at its father, who replied with a shrug.

Two Cormorants fished together under the platform of Bluebird Boats.

One of them caught a perch.

There was a single Shoveller drake at the Serpentine island, an unusual place for Shovellers which usually prefer the calm of the Long Water.

A Tufted drake turned upside down to preen his belly.

A Greylag was also upside down, though only for a moment. They often begin their preening routine with a somersault.

After a heavy shower the sun came out for a while, making a rainbow over the island. Appropriately the foot of the bow was over the Dorchester Hotel, where there are crocks of gold aplenty.

Ian Young was in St James's Park, checking on the young Black Swan. Its bill is beginning to turn red with a white stripe, and black feathers are coming through its juvenile down.

There was an ominous sound of chainsaws on Buck Hill, followed by a crash as a large, beautiful and apparently healthy ash tree was cut down.

I simply don't understand why so many seemingly sound trees are being felled in the park. The fine black poplar in front of Peter Pan has also been a victim, and it hasn't even been removed cleanly to make way for a new tree; there is now an ugly stump fifteen feet tall ruining the recently and expensively set-up view from across the Long Water. Ironically, the rowan trees a few yards from the ash are mortally sick with honey fungus and one of them is almost dead, but these are being left alone.

Thursday 26 September 2019

The marble fountain in the Italian Garden had stopped working again, and the female of the hopeless pair of Egyptian Geese took advantage of this to eat the algae.

A Great Crested Grebe checked the space between two wire baskets at the bridge to see if a perch had carelessly put its head out.

This Jay usually intercepts me near the Albert Memorial and asks for a peanut, then swoops down and take it from my fingers.

The Great Tits in the Flower Walk also expect to be fed.

The Coal Tit at the bridge collected nuts from Mark Williams's hand, coming down again and again and caching the food in cracks in bark.

A sunny spell started a Goldcrest singing.

A Robin sang at the top of its voice to be heard above the noise of a helicopter and a police siren.

Then on to Richmond Park, where a Robin sang gently to itself in the middle of a bush in the Isabella Plantation. The technical term for this is 'subsong'.

Mandarins in the pond were back in their incredible breeding plumage and displaying fit to bust.

There was a beautiful euonymus bush.

The rutting season hasn't started properly yet, but the Red Deer were making a noise like the soundtrack of Jurassic Park. A young stag stared out of the bracken.

A Fallow buck was grazing peacefully.

Tom was at Rainham Marshes, where he got a fine shot of a Kingfisher.