Tuesday 25 August 2020

It was a windy day.

The three young Hobbies were enjoying it immensely, whirling about with their parents. These two pictures were taken two hours apart.

Then they settled in a tree and one of them ate a small bird, probably a Great Tit, brought by a parent. Another waited for its meal on the next branch.

The Grey Wagtail returned to the pool at the top of the Dell waterfall and stayed fairly still for a bit, allowing a close-up view.

Three Carrion Crows perched on the standing stone. There is a legend that it was brought from Stonehenge by Charles I. This is rubbish. It's just a 7-tonne chunk of Cornish granite installed by a whimsical Victorian to add a bit of rugged grandeur to the scene.

The pair of Lilian's Lovebirds are still around and were calling from inside a tree, where I couldn't get a picture. But a young Chiffchaff was answering them from the next tree, and did come into view briefly.

A female Blackbird foraged under a tree in the Meadow.

I always look for the Little Owl on Buck Hill but haven't seen her for a while. She seems to have found a new tree. The lime where I last saw her was full of Wood Pigeons.

The faithful Polish Black-Headed Gull T4UN has returned, and was on a post on the far side of the Long Water from Peter Pan.

The young Great Crested Grebes from the east end of the island were sheltering from the wind in the lee of the electric boat, and one posed prettily in front of a plastic collision buffer.

The chicks from the other end of the island were out on the lake, one pestering each parent.

A young Moorhen made itself comfortable on a rock in the stream in the Dell.

There are still more Red-Crested Pochards arriving on the Long Water. If anyone is passing the Duck Island in St James's Park, please will they look to see if there are any left there.

That is in addition to the 40-odd Common Pochards on the Long Water, so it's pochards as far as the eye can see.

The three young Mallards on the Serpentine are quite big now and have a good chance of survival. They huddled together in the strong wind and preened.


  1. Is it my impression, or has it been a better year than usual for the survival of ducklings and goslings?

    I wonder how old the Polish gull is. Smaller gulls aren't as long-living as large gulls, but this one looks quite hoary.

    I think the three Crows are a bit offended that their seat is so common. Surely they deserve the finest Stonehenge stone for their perch.

    1. It's been slightly better than average for Mallards, and about average for Egyptian Geese. No other waterfowl species has had any surviving young at all. It looks as if the big geese have given up breeding in the park entirely, probably because of foxes.

      Black-Headed Gulls are quite long lived, the maximum recorded being almost 33 years. The maximum known for a Herring Gull is 49.

  2. Lovely to see the Hobbies & the Grey Wagtail.

    Also good to see your Pochard numbers rising.

    1. The 40-odd Common Pochard are regular migrants. Numbers have been stable for the last few years. The unprecedented number of Red-Crested is mysterious, and I suspect that something has shifted them from the largish flock in St James's Park.