Tuesday 8 October 2019

A collection of Cormorants and Black-Headed Gulls were milling around together in the middle of the Serpentine taking black objects out of the water. At first sight it looks as if the Cormorants and gulls are catching the same things, but if you look more closely you can see that the Cormorants are diving to catch fish from among the algae, and having to discard the algae before eating the fish, while the gulls are snatching hoverfly larva from the surface.

These larvae, often called 'rat-tailed maggots', are surprisingly large for the modest-sized insects that hatch from them.

A Young Great Crested Grebe washed and preened beside the wooden cabin of Bluebird Boats. The structure shields it from the gaze of the family of grebes on the other side, which would certainly chase it off their territory if they saw it.

These were busy feeding the three chicks as usual.

One of the chicks examined a plastic buoy.

The younger chicks on the Long Water were under a bush, poking at the netting protecting the reed bed. There must be some insects on the strands of the net.

Their parents were taking a moment off catching fish for them, and were displaying affectionately.

The poplar where these grebes nested was occupied by a dense mass of Coots.

Blondie the Egyptian Goose was in her usual place on the edge of the Serpentine. She was preening, giving a good view of her strange pale wing feathers.

A few feet away, the remains of the pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull's breakfast were being contested for by a young Herring Gull and three Carrion Crows.

A Starling shone brilliantly in the low sunlight.

A Rose-Ringed Parakeet ate pyracantha berries.

The circles of Fairy Ring mushrooms are now coming up strongly.

Tom was at Rainham Marshes, and came back with the sad news that the Humpback Whale has died. But he did get a good picture of a Kingfisher.


  1. Poor Whale. I imagine it got stranded because it was very sick.

    There is going to be a mass culling of invasive Monk Parakeets in Madrid. I don't know how to feel about it. On one hand it is a necessary evil because they are disruptive and even dangerous for small native birds. But on the other hand it is going to be a slaughter, and I'd rather not see evidence of it.

    1. I suspect that the same thing is going to happen to the Rose-Ringed Parakeets here fairly soon, and I feel the same way.