Monday 9 September 2019

Now that we have a family of Sparrowhawks they are seen daily. There was one over the Serpentine, disturbing the House Martins though it didn't catch any.

However, there were signs of three pigeon kills. This one was near the bicycle hire station at Palace Gate, and evidently people arriving in the park had frightened the Sparrowhawk away. The pigeon was being finished off by a Carrion Crow, which seemed unusually nervous, perhaps fearing the return of the Sparrowhawk. I couldn't get near it without frightening it away.

At the foot of Buck Hill a Jackdaw waited on a gatepost for me to stop photographing it and produce a peanut.

The last rowan tree at the top of the hill attracted Starlings to the remaining berries.

A Mistle Thrush found a meal elsewhere.

At the Dell restaurant, the leftovers from a pizza were quickly distributed among Starlings. Feral Pigeons and a Carrion Crow.

Below them on the edge of the terrace a Grey Wagtail hunted for insects, interrupted by larger birds getting in the way.

Aun unusual picture taken yesterday by Ahmet Amerikali of a Reed Warbler and a young Robin in the flower bed at the east end of the Lido.

At the island, a young Herring Gull played with a paper cup.

David Element sent a splendid picture of a Great Crested Grebe chick playing with a bit of cord. I've seen young gulls amusing themselves by pulling ropes, but never a grebe.

One of these two chicks chased its parent around at the bridge. The parent looked a bit harassed. Adults can stealthily catch fish around the wire baskets here, but when the chicks turn up and splash around it scares the fish into the baskets and they're much harder to catch.

The three chicks from the east end of the island were at the boat platform waiting for a parent to arrive with a fish. So was a Black-Headed Gull, eager to try to snatch the fish.

In the nest under the willow at the bridge, one chick could be seen, but there was obviously at least one other on the parent's back under its raised wings.

I mentioned to David Element that the female Common Darter in his photograph published yesterday was unsually red for a female. He sent me another of his pictures of a female Common Darter on Wimbledon Common, with red tinges but less extensively coloured.


  1. Grebe chicks are too much like human children, it seems.

    I love the colours of the Mistle Thrush picture. So subdued, so elegant, so harmonious.

    Not good news for the park's pigeons. A couple of Sparrowhawks plus Pigeon Killer will take its toll.

    1. Nothing short of an H-bomb could reduce the number of pigeons in the park, and even that would be temporary. However many are killed, more simply come in from outside. They breed several times a year.

  2. It's not that unusual for older female dragonflies take on male-like colouration. Sometimes towards the end of their season female Emperors can be bluish. Similar with Black-tailed Skimmers. I'm not sure why this should be so though?

    1. Less production of female hormones, a kind of menopause?