Saturday 30 November 2019

Another beautiful sunny day, not at all what you expect at the end of an English November. A small flock of Goldfinches settled in a tree beside the Long Water.

A Goldcrest was dashing around in the yew tree in the leaf yard, never staying still for a second. I unexpectedly struck lucky with just one shot.

The Robin near the bridge came out to be fed.

A Blue Tit waited impatiently for me to finish photographing and give it some food.

So did a Jay.

A Blackbird stood on a rock in the Dell.

A Wood Pigeon drank from the pool at the top of the waterfall.

A squabble between two Feral Pigeons eating birdseed spilt from the hanging feeder in the Rose Garden. One chased the other off and returned victorious to finish its meal.

The Mute Swans on the Long Water have cleared out all intruders including the bold teenage swan, and now have the place to themselves. They were at Peter Pan with their own teenager, touting for food.

A visit to the Round Pond found the Black Swan cropping algae off the edge.

There are now quite a few Common Gulls here. They always arrive late.

The Cormorants have almost emptied the Italian Garden fountain pools, but there are still a few small fish left. They come up with a lot of weed which the Cormorant has to separate and spit out.

A pair of Gadwalls ignored them and went on quietly feeding.

Most of the Great Crested Grebes have left, but there is still at least one teenager from the nest in the fallen poplar on the Long Water. Its wings are well developed and it can leave with the remaining adults if frosty weather threatens, and fly to the upper Thames which remains ice-free.

Ahmet Amerikali got a distant shot of a Little Grebe by the reed bed east of the Lido, the first sighting of a Little Grebe in the park for several months.

He also got a fine picture of a Cormorant trying unsuccessfully to climb on to a post.

Friday 29 November 2019

It was a beautiful sunny day but very little was happening.  A courting pair of Black-Headed Gulls moaned affectionately and strutted about on the edge of the Serpentine.

Another perched ornamentally on an orange buoy in the Round Pond. These buoys are markers for the Sunday model yacht races.

The Black Swan is still here, living harmoniously with the Mute Swans. It couldn't be more different in character from the Black Swan we had before, which constantly attacked the other swans.

A Cormorant on a post at Peter Pan scratched its chin.

A Blue Tit probed the rotten wood of the dead tree near the bridge, looking for insects. This tree also provides a nesting place for them under a flake of loose bark.

Both Coal Tits came down to take pine nuts.

It was chilly in the shade, and a Robin was fluffed up to the max.

But the sunlight was warm enough for a Feral Pigeon to sunbathe in some fallen leaves.

A Blackbird checked leaves for insects hiding underneath.

Two Starlings enjoyed a splashy bath on the edge of the Serpentine.

A Jay stared down from a tree beside the Long Water, hoping for a peanut ...

... which it deftly shelled. They have had lots of practice and can do it in a few seconds.

A Jackdaw was content to perch with a hopeful look. They know I will feed them.

Yet another mushroom on the patch of wood chips in the plane tree avenue near Physical Energy. I don't think it's another Stubble Rosegill. The cap was about 4 inches across.

Thursday 28 November 2019

Young Herring Gulls enjoy walking along the line of buoys at the edge of the Lido swimming area, which overturn under their weight so that they have to keep moving.

Common Gulls play the same game but, being lighter, they can just manage to stand on a buoy if they're careful.

A Great Spotted Woodpecker appeared in the scrub at the edge of the Long Water next to the bridge.

A Long-Tailed Tit paused on a twig.

A loud rattle announced the arrival of a Mistle Thrush in the big ash tree at the corner of the Dell.

A pair of Magpies seemed highly interested in a spot in the grass on Buck Hill. I thought it might be some kind of insect nest, but looking at the video it seems that someone had just dropped some chopped peanuts there.

A pair of Pied Wagtails ran along the edge of the terrace of the Dell restaurant, a favourite spot for wagtails as insects are attracted to spilt food.

Egyptian Geese can breed at any time of year, however unsuitable, and it seems as if, being originally from Africa on both sides of the equator, they have no idea of the northern seasons. But winter is the time when pairs stand on the tops of trees and claim territory with a tremendous racket. This may be simply because they get a better view of the surroundings when there are no leaves on the trees.

A Red-Crested Pochard drake had a good flap.

It's usually Coots that stand under the Italian Garden fountains getting thoroughly drenched, but Moorhens seem to enjoy it too.

A pair of Carrion Crows played in the updraught at the top of the Household Cavalry barracks tower, dodging around the forest of antennae.

Another crow enjoyed a bowl of guacamole at the Dell restaurant.

Someone had stuck this notice in the Italian Garden: 'Art dies in museums, lives in the street, and now it's on this wall.'

Actually there is a lot of art on the walls on the Italian Garden, as this crow pointed out. But it's probably not the kind this person was thinking of.

Wednesday 27 November 2019

The day began sunny, and there were bright views of the Red-Crested Pochard in the Italian Garden preening ...

... and a Long-Tailed Tit on a twig.

But it soon began to rain harder and harder, and I had to shelter in the Italian Garden loggia.

Moorhens went about their business in sunshine  ...

... and rain.

There's always something interesting to be found in a puddle.

They have odd ideas about a comfortable place to sit.

A Great Crested Grebe saw a rival on the other side the bridge and went under the arch with head lowered in challenge.

Most of the Mute Swans that arrived yesterday have been forced off the Long Water and on to the Serpentine by the dominant swan. But one tough teenager remains. I think this is the one seen in yesterday's video retaliating against the aggressor.

A pair of Gadwalls dabbled under a bramble bush at the edge of the Serpentine.

A Jay looked a bit bedraggled in the rain ...

... and a Coal Tit sheltered in a bush ...

... but Blackbirds welcome rain for the worms it brings up.

Both the Peregrines were on the barracks tower, as usual some distance apart. Their personal space even with their mate is several yards wide, and for other Peregrines it's miles.

Tuesday 26 November 2019

Several Mute Swans, including some teenagers, have been brought back to London from the Swan Sanctuary at Shepperton where they have been recovering from injuries, mostly dog bites. They were released on the Long Water. It's a quieter place than the Serpentine, but unfortunately the dominant pair of swans were on patrol and in a bad mood, and the newcomers got chased on to the shore. When I got round to the other side of the lake they had all made it back into the water except one -- the young swan in the water is the offspring of the dominant pair. I managed to draw them away with a bribe of sunflower seeds, and herded the beached swan back into the water, where it quickly left the scene.

A pair of Tufted Ducks preened on a floating log. I'm very fond of Tufted Ducks. They are the prototype of the rubber bath duck, with a permanent smile in the curve of their bill.

A Gadwall drake flapped to settle his feathers after preening.

A Mallard ate water plants.

The usual Red-Crested Pochard was in the Italian Garden fountain.

Two of the Moorhen teenagers poked around in the little stream of the Dell looking for something edible, which for a Moorhen means just about anything.

The resident Grey Heron was in the pool at the top of the waterfall, the only bit of water in the park that definitely doesn't have fish in it, since the top level of the waterfall is fed with water recirculated by a pump. Maybe it's attracted by the glitter of the coins that people throw into the pool.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull was away from his usual place, and a Jackdaw tried out his favourite perch on the Dell restaurant roof.

It was soon chased away by the heron.

A young Herring Gull took off from the Serpentine.

Note the colour of its flight feathers. The inner primaries are lighter in colour than the outer ones. This is the only reliable way of distinguishing a young Herring Gull from a young Lesser Black-Back, which looks almost exactly the same but its flight feathers are dark all the way along.

A Great Spotted Woodpecker preened in a tall tree beside the Long Water.

A Magpie checked a flower bed in the Rose Garden for insects and worms.

A Dunnock waited under the bird feeder for visiting tits to spill sunflower seeds on the ground.

This squirrel uses the aluminium sign on the post to sharpen its teeth. It has already gnawed away quite a lot of metal.

The workmen at the island are surrounding it with metal posts in preparation for installing a reed bed. Netting on the posts will keep Mute Swans and Coots from destroying the growing reeds. Birds will still be able to get on to the island from the shore side.