Saturday 29 February 2020

A wonderful find in a bin at the Lido restaurant for a pair of Carrion Crows: two whole chicken mayonnaise sandwiches, to which they returned again and again. In case they still had a corner to fill afterwards, there was some falafel too. Human wastefulness is scavengers' gain.

A Starling was foraging for insects in a big flower pot on the terrace.

Another crow gave me a haughty stare from a gatepost beside the Long Water, the paint worn off by countless birds' claws.

A noisy political rally at the Hyde Park bandstand didn't disturb the Redwings a few yards away in their little triangle of worm-rich ground. They were safe behind a fence and knew that no one was paying attention to them.

There were also several Blackbirds.

A Goldcrest came out on a yew tree in the leaf yard.

There was a good showing of small birds near the bridge, including two Coal Tits that came to my hand ...

... and plenty of Blue Tits.

I haven't seen the usual Chaffinches here for several days, but here's a pleasing picture of a female by Cindy Chen.

A Cormorant took off from the Long Water.

A pair of Coots bounced around in the choppy waves at the east end of the Serpentine. They want to build a nest on top of the weir where the water flows out of the lake, a silly place to which they return every year only to see their chicks swept away, but Coots have a strange inability to learn from experience. The current high winds won't die down for at least a week, but the persistent birds will hang around hopefully for as long as necessary until they get a chance to start building.

The pair of Mute Swans on the island stay mostly in front of the gate where they used to go in and nest, but which is now closed. They still haven't adjusted to the change. But there are several places outside the fence screened by bushes where they can nest perfectly well.

A Pochard drake glowed in the sunlight.

Friday 28 February 2020

A day of continuous rain suited the Blackbirds by bringing up plenty of worms.

But as the laying of turf reduces the space available to Redwings on the Parade Ground, their numbers have fallen.

A Robin was sadly bedraggled.

The female Peregrine on the barracks tower stared down at me from over 400 feet away, able to see me much better than I could see her.

Feral Pigeons sheltering under the canopy of the Dell restaurant discovered a large piece of cake. It didn't last long under the onslaught.

On the roof directly overhead, the pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull and his mate waited for them to come out.

The heavy rain died down to a drizzle, giving the Mute Swans at the Dell restaurant a chance to preen. They like to gather on the edge of the terrace, where the fence screens them from dogs.

Great Crested Grebes are not in the least disturbed by rain.

There was still a Moorhen on the sketchily made nest on the rock in the Dell stream.

But the Mallards a few feet a way have an unfortunate habit of turfing it off when they want to stand on the rock.

The Coots at Peter Pan persisted in building their foolishly sited nest ...

... while Death stood on the next post.

The Grey Heron nest that was successful last year is now being built up again for reuse.

A fine picture by Cindy Chen taken in better weather: a Treecreeper on an oak next to the leaf yard.

Thursday 27 February 2020

A pair of Goldcrests in the leaf yard were dashing around incessantly.

So were the Long-Tailed Tits building their nest in the Rose Garden.

A Blackbird digging in a flower bed came up on a bench.

Turf laying on the Parade Ground has confined the Redwings to a small fenced-off triangle east of the bandstand which is so far untouched.

Yes, there are a lot of videos of Robins singing on this blog, but they are irresistible.

The female Little Owl near the Henry Moore sculpture came out briefly between the morning sleet and the afternoon wind.

A Wood Pigeon perched in a blossoming tree in a hunched-up attitude that made it look like a small vulture.

Feeding the small Black-Headed Gulls is probably not a good idea, but it's fun.

A young Herring Gull played with some instrument of torture from a gym.

The pigeon-Killing Lesser Black-Back was on his usual spot with his mate again. He soon flew off in search of lunch.

The nesting Grey Heron on the south side of the island got up, turned over the eggs, and settled down again.

A Tufted drake turned round as his mate surfaced beside him.

Tufted Ducks are omnivorous. The submerged branches of the dead willow near the Italian Garden must harbour many small aquatic creatures, and Great Crested Grebes also often visit them.

Pochards are also partial to snails and insects when they can get them. This female is one of the few permanent resident Pochards on the lake, and is often seen at the Diana fountain landing stage.

Wednesday 26 February 2020

This turf on the Parade Ground was laid only yesterday and the worms in the soil underneath haven't surfaced yet, but it seems to be full of little creatures that a Mistle Thrush was picking up.

There were three other Mistle Thrushes in the trees ...

... and all the Redwings were in trees while I was there. You can hear them chattering in the video above.

A Carrion Crow turned over bits of leftover turf, looking for worms and insects on the underside.

But the leftovers that crows like best are those at the restaurants. Here's a scene at the Lido restaurant, now reopened with smart new tables and chairs on the terrace.

Looks like a hamburger bun and some purple stuff.

Is the bun good? Yes, soaked in greasy meat juice.

We'll have that. [Takes it away and hides it.]

And the other bit.

Now what about the purple stuff? No ...

... we'll leave that for the Starlings.

A Grey Heron gathered twigs for a nest at the west end of the island.

The pair of Lesser Black-Backed Gulls that have been moving around the Long Water were on the ruined swan island. I don't think they intend to nest in the park.

However, I am fairly certain that the pigeon-eating pair do nest every year on the roof of the Dell restaurant, where unfortunately they can't be seen.

A Great Crested Grebe started a nest on a branch of the collapsed willow next to the bridge.

The pair of Moorhens in the Dell have started making a nest on the rock in the stream. But, as in previous years, they will probably find a better place. They have succeeded in raising some chicks every year for some time.

A solitary Moorhen can constantly be seen standing on the same post at the reed bed east of the Lido.

Tuesday 25 February 2020

The Redwings on the Parade Ground have been forced to the southwest corner by the turf laying operation, and are now next to a busy path.

But they are so busy themselves, hauling up plentiful worms, that they have stopped being afraid of the passing humans and are quite approachable.

Plenty of birds at the bridge came out to be fed. I was with Jon Spoard, who took these excellent pictures of a Jay flying down to snatch a peanut from my hand ...

... and a Coal Tit arriving for a pine nut.

A Blue Tit waited for its turn.

This is one of the Long-Tailed Tits that are nesting in the gorse bush in the Rose Garden.

A Robin gave the camera a penetrating stare ...

... and so did a Magpie in the Italian Garden ...

... but were outclassed by the silver eyes of a Jackdaw.

Four of the Grey Heron nests on the island were occupied today. Only three are shown here as the other, on the far side of the island, has a bird sitting on eggs low in the nest and barely visible. The first nest in the video is the one that successfully produced young last year. It needs some rebuilding before it's fit to use. The second, high in a treetop, is visited occasionally and hasn't really got going yet. The third, at the east end of the island, is regularly attended by two herons and will probably have eggs in it soon.

A Great Crested Grebe took off for a short flight up the lake.

The Coots under the balcony of the Dell restaurant are keeping their nest together, but have wisely deferred any plans to build it up to a useful height until the wind drops and the waves subside.

'I'm tired of being symbolic. I think I'll have a little lie down.' One of the figures on the side of the Asia statue group on the Albert Memorial.