Saturday, 5 December 2020

When I went round the Diana fountain this morning to check for the White-Fronted Goose I couldn't find it. Some Greylags flew in, followed by more. I came back a couple of hours later and there were four White-Fronted Geese, which may have come in with the Greylags. Here are two feeding together.

The other two were apart, and on the far side of the enclosure.

There have also been reports of Tundra Bean Geese in Essex. Both these species migrate from northern Europe. 

Greylag Geese like to take democratic decisions. In this case they were discussing whether it was safe to move on to the grass at the Vista and have a feed, on a sunny Saturday when there were a lot of dangerous dogs running around. They decided that it was all right for the time being.

The Goldeneye was diving in his usual place at the east end of the Serpentine.

If he stays we'll be able to see him developing into an adult drake with barred white sides and a properly golden eye. This happened a few years ago when we got an immature male Scaup on the Round Pond, which stayed for months.

A little flight of Tufted Ducks sped down the lake.

Some of the females have white foreheads ...

... and people sometimes say they've seen a female Scaup. However, a Scaup has a fine vermiculated pattern on the feathers on its back and sides, while Tufted Ducks have plain brown.

The Black Swan was in his usual place on the Round Pond.

An aggressive male Mute Swan on the Serpentine chased a female and forced her on to the shore.

A Common Gull ignored a notice and soon flew off to have a swim.

The sunny morning started two Song Thrushes singing, one near the leaf yard and one at the northwest corner of the bridge.

I saw two Blackbirds, so it looks as if the shortage is easing a little. This female was in the scrub on the west side of the Long Water.

One of the family of Chaffinches under the holly tree near the southwest corner of the bridge.

Starlings washed at the Lido restaurant and perched on the railings to dry and preen their brilliantly shining feathers.

Friday, 4 December 2020

The Carrion Crows are beginning to give the pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull a very hard time. Two approached him while he was eating a crayfish he had caught, with the clear intention of stealing it. I didn't get the moment of the snatch because the Herring Gull on the right moved in front of it.

The crows flew away a safe distance on to the Parade Ground and ate it.

A Herring Gull ripped pieces out of the newly laid turf beside the Serpentine, looking for insects and worms.

A crow had the same idea.

A female Pied Wagtail hunted insects on the Crystal Palace site in Hyde Park, ignoring the much larger Feral Pigeons.

A male Pied Wagtail was hunting along the edge of the Serpentine.

Both the Peregrines were on the barracks tower. The male, on the left, was pecking at some prey he had caught. He didn't offer to share it with his mate. She can catch her own pigeons very efficiently any time she likes.

A Nuthatch appeared by the leaf yard, and Tom got a picture of it before it flew away, shortly before I arrived. It looks like a female. The Nuthatch I photographed here recently was male, so there are a pair.

A Starling looked jaunty on a post near the leaf yard.

A Jackdaw looked hungry, and of course got a peanut when I had taken this picture.

So did the Jay which waits for me in the arbutus near the bridge.

The usual Coal Tit was on the other side of the bridge. You just can't help photographing these charming little birds.

Another superb picture of a Short-Eared Owl by Tom, from a location in north London which it would be unwise to disclose as too many people, some of them irresponsible, are turning up to photograph it and are beginning to bother it.

The Goldeneye on the Serpentine came closer today ...

... and spent a bit more time on the surface.

The White-Fronted Goose is still in the Diana fountain enclosure.

One of the young Great Crested Grebes was fishing with a parent on the Serpentine. They are now on equal terms, but the young one probably isn't catching as many fish.

Thursday, 3 December 2020

 There has been a severe shortage of Blackbirds recently, not only in the park but elsewhere in London, and not just attributable to them moulting. But a very wet day brought out a couple to look for worms brought up by the rain. This one was near the Diana fountain ...

... and there was another, which we have seen before, in the olive tree behind the Lido.

Two Goldfinches twittered in a tree between the Rose Garden and Rotten Row, where they are often seen.

A Blue Tit perched in the big magnolia tree in the Dell, which has been misled by the recent mild spell into budding, and now faces a severe setback as the weather returns to the miserable December norm.

A female Chaffinch poked around under the holly tree bear the bridge. I was worried by the appearance of its bill. It doesn't have the papilloma virus disease that affects Chaffinches' feet and makes them scaly, but it might be affected by the Knemidocoptes mite whose irritation causes scales to develop on both bill and feet. Or it might just have poked into something sticky and not yet wiped it off.

A Carrion Crow checked a paper bag to see if there was anything edible in it.

The male Peregrine was on the rain-lashed barracks tower, looking huddled and miserable. His mate didn't arrive, and he flew off after a while.

The White-Fronted Goose was still in the Diana fountain enclosure, an excellent place for geese with lush grass, running water and railings to keep dogs out. It was a bit surprising that the only other geese there were three Egyptians.

The Grey Heron has been standing on the edge of the fountain for days, not doing anything but herons spend most of their time doing nothing.

The Goldeneye was furiously busy diving as usual. It came closer to the edge, allowing a reasonable picture in spite of the bad light.

A pair of Gadwalls scraped algae off the concrete edge of the lake.

The Red-Crested Pochard drake was in the Italian Garden as usual, his splendid coiffure completely unwetted by the rain.

A Great Crested Grebe did a particularly huge shrug-and-fluff gesture.

A Moorhen trotted along the grassy bank at the back of the Lido.

A young Herring Gull played with a crayfish claw. There was a large bite out of it presumably made by the gull which had then scooped out the contents.

Wednesday, 2 December 2020

A White-Fronted Goose is a rare visitor to central London. This one spent a while in Regent's Park before it came here yesterday.

Today it was grazing by itself in the enclosure of the Diana memorial fountain.

A pair of Egyptian Geese claimed territory on the sawn-off poplar at Peter Pan.

Tufted drakes are easy to film under water because their white sides show up well, but females are quite difficult. However, it's possible in the shallow water in front of Peter Pan when the water is clear.

A brief flash of sunshine lit up the Red-Crested Pochard in the Italian Garden.

The female Great Crested Grebe of the pair at the east end of the island was fishing under the platform at Bluebird Boats.

The pair from the other end of the island had a little display.

The Grey Heron in the Dell was eyeing the little pool at the top of the waterfall, but really I don't think there are any fish here as the water for the top level of the waterfall is recirculated by an electric pump (the Serpentine outflow emerges lower down). Maybe it just enjoyed the water flowing over its feet.

A Carrion Crow bathed in the Serpentine.

A fine close-up by Neil of one of the crows that haunt the bridge and waylay passers by for food.

A Great Spotted Woodpecker called from a tree near the Henry Moore sculpture.

The Dunnock at the Lido restaurant searched for bugs under a bench.

Tom sent this picture of a Short-Eared Owl -- not in the park, of course. Actually I don't know where he took it, but it's a lovely image.