Tuesday 18 August 2020

A surprise: there seem to be three young Hobbies in Hyde Park, not two which was all I had seen. Dustin Foo was there yesterday and got this fine picture of them in the top of a plane tree.

At first glance you might suppose that the bird on the left was one of the parents. But a closer look shows that it has none of the red feathers around its legs that an adult would have. Dustin also saw an adult attacking a Lesser Black-Backed Gull that had flown too close to them. Here it is with one of the young in a picture taken by Dustin's brother.

A Carrion Crow bathed in the Serpentine.

This is one of the Jays that takes peanuts from my hand, looking slightly annoyed because I was photographing it instead of feeding it at once.

The holly berries in the picture are already ripe. Everything is happening quickly this year. The Swifts, Swallows and House Martins have already departed to Africa, though the Reed Warblers are still here -- I heard a young one yesterday at the east end of the Serpentine.

A young Great Tit searched for insects in the dead tree near the bridge.

Ahmet Amerikali found a Robin here.

The flock of Long-Tailed Tits paused in a hawthorn tree.

A slightly baffling picture taken by Mark Williams at the Queen's Temple. I'd say this bird is a young Willow Warbler, judging by its pale legs, but the sunlight and the reflections from the green leaves have made it appear a very bright yellow.

The young Grey Heron stretched out to look for fish in one of the Italian Garden pools.

This pool, the southwest one, contains plenty of young carp. But there are also some large ones, the biggest nearly two feet long.

They have grown to this size in eight years at the most, since the pools were drained when the garden was renovated and refilled in the spring of 2012. Presumably they come from eggs brought in stuck to the legs of birds.

A Great Crested Grebe took advantage of the shoals of small carp swimming in the shallows at the edge of the Serpentine. Catching fish in shallow water demands a different technique, splashier than a grebe's usual neat dive. She is the mother of the chicks from the nest at the west end of the island, so she carried the fish away to feed one of them.

The chicks from the nest at the bridge were under the willow.

The Coot chicks in the Italian Garden are getting quite large.

A top view of the Moorhen that seems to be nesting under the weir at the Serpentine outflow. It's preening on the edge of the weir with water rushing past its feet.

The Black Swan's leisurely wash was interrupted when it was charged by a belligerent Egyptian Goose and had to get out of the way in a hurry.

Leona Tan sent in pictures from yesterday of the Mallard on the Round Pond still with four ducklings ...

... and the one at Bluebird Boats still with three.


  1. Great news about the three young Hobbies! We're being spoiled here.

    I wonder what got into that Egyptian to make it brave the prospective ire of a Black Swan. Who knows what gets into those stubborn heads of theirs.

    1. Egyptians do get ridiculously defensive about territory. This one had three half-grown goslings on the shore. When the goslings are little and their parents rush out against some imagined intruder, the goslings are open to being taken by gulls, so it's a self-defeating tendency.

  2. Great news about the Hobbies. Agree with your ID of the Willow Warbler-one of this year's birds.

    1. The Foo brothers pulled off quite a coup in getting those pictures in the close-spaced trees. But I worry about the Hobbies when they migrate. In this year where everything is happening too soon, they have missed flying with the hirundines.