Friday 18 October 2019

A pair of white Call Ducks have appeared unexpectedly on the Serpentine. These miniature Mallards were originally bred as decoy ducks for wildfowlers, and the female has a very loud quack -- though they remained silent all the time I was watching them. Now they are kept as pets, and these two must have escaped from somewhere.

A Mute Swan chewed bark off the trunk of a birch tree that had fallen in the water. The birches on the island have reached the end of their life -- as little as 70 years for one of these short-lived trees -- and are collapsing. The island is due for a major overhaul and replanting soon. I hope they don't do it while the Grey Herons are nesting.

Joan Chatterley sent a picture of the progress of the young Black Swan in St James's Park.

The three young Egyptian Geese are constantly seen lying in the middle of the Serpentine Road. Cars have to drive round them. They didn't flinch when a passing horse left a contribution (which happened while I was too far away for a picture).

The Great Crested Grebes from the island were on the far side of the boat platform, for a while out of sight of their insistent young, and were able to eat a few fish themselves.

A Coot on the Serpentine washed with frantic energy, turning upside down several times.

A Cormorant on a post was backlit by a few moments of hazy sunshine.

Ahmet Amerikali got a dramatic shot of one with a huge perch. Their ability to swallow enormous fish is positively reptilian.

Rose-Ringed Parakeets gathered in a yew tree besde the Long Water. They eat berries in a typically messy way, dropping more than they swallow. The red aril of the berry is the only part of the yew tree that isn't poisonous -- though parakeets also eat yew leaves and seem to get away with it.

The Carrion Crows at the leaf yard, encouraged by people feeding the parakeets, get more and more bumptious. Today one perched on my head and tried to unravel the woolly hat I was wearing. Here one goes through somebody's rucksack.

Another enjoyed an apple taken from a parakeet.

The small birds at the leaf yard are hanging on in spite of much of their space being invaded. The usual Robin came out to greet me when I arrived ...

... and a Goldcrest peered out from a yew branch.

A Long-Tailed Tit checked the autumn leaves for bugs.

There are plenty of Shaggy Parasol mushrooms at the bridge. When fully grown the domed cap becomes concave.

Mark Williams was in St James's Park and took this picture of Starlings feeding from his hand, a rather painful experience as they grip hard and peck harder.


  1. Must be fun watching the Crows- such intelligent, opportunistic birds!

    1. They certainly have the humans completely under control.