Friday 6 September 2019

The Great Crested Grebe family from the Long Water had crossed under the bridge to look for fish in the wire baskets. Although there are thousands of fish in here, the arrival of a family of grebes scared them inside the baskets, and catching them wasn't all that easy.

The chicks were having a try at fishing for themselves, though they weren't getting anything.

A parent caught a fish but decided to eat it rather than offer it to the chicks. They get plenty.

It was feeding time for one of the three chicks from the east end of the island.

This is just a day nest for the Coot family from the reed bed at the east end of the Serpentine. The chicks are now almost grown up and the original nest has long since fallen to bits. But it's good to have a comfortable place to rest. A bit of cord puzzled the Coot -- where to put it?

A lot of Coots had moved from the Serpentine to the north end of the Long Water, where usually there are only a few.

This distant view from Peter Pan shows that the marble fountain and the river nymphs with urns were designed to be viewed from the water side. When I was a boy you could row on the Long Water as far up as Peter Pan, which would have given a better view. That's why there's a row of posts across the lake at Peter Pan, which were originally connected by chains to make a barrier. But now the whole of the Long Water is closed off -- better for birds but less fun for humans.

Two Moorhens drank spilt milk at the boathouse snack bar. The grooves in the planking made it easier to scoop it up.

A Red-Crested Pochard drake lurking in the shadows at the island is returning to his fine breeding plumage, with white sides and a big ginger bouffant hairdo.

The pigeon-killing Lesser Black-Backed Gull had visited the Long Water earlier, and a couple of Carrion Crows were finishing off his latest victim at the Vista.

One of the regular winter visitors has returned to the Long Water, the Black-Headed Gull with ring 2PSN. It was ringed at the Pitsea landfill site, so it isn't very exotic.

A Grey Heron kept an eye on the clock at the Lido.

There are still plenty of House Martins, which were flying low over the water as they do on dull days which bring the insects down.

The tallest of the rowan trees on Buck Hill still has enough fruit to attract Mistle Thrushes. They always finish this tree last, perhaps because the fruit is less sweet than on the other trees.

A Blue Tit lurked in a bush.

A Robin wandered under the thick stems of the Chilean rhubarb in the Dell.

Two interesting pictures from Mark Williams in St James's Park: a Spotted Flycatcher ...

... and a Southern Hawker dragonfly.

Update: Malachi Yarker, one of the Hyde Park gardeners and a keen birdwatcher, reports having found a dead Manx Shearwater on Rotten Row. It had died from a broken neck, evidently from a collision with something. This is not the first time that one has been seen in the park, but it's a very rare visitor indeed. What a shame that it wasn't flying happily around.


  1. Poor Shearwater. Sometimes we only learn of rare visitors because their poor corpses are found unexpectedly. A while ago two dead Storm Petrels and even an Arctic Loon were found right in the middle of the city of Badajoz, over two hundred kms away from the nearest coastline. Makes you think how many strange birds may be flying past us without us realizing.

    I never imagined birds would be able to digest milk.

    1. A few months ago someone saw and photographed a Chilean Blue Buzzard-Eagle in Norfolk. It had no ring or sign of being an escaped falconer's bird and there were no reports of any such bird being lost from an aviary.

  2. Where is the best place to see house Martins in the park?

    1. At the moment they seem to be over Buck Hill and around the bridge. There were still some today, Saturday.

  3. Thank you I will have a go on Monday