Friday 21 August 2020

One of the young Great Crested Grebes on the Serpentine is now catching fish for itself. Its parents are still feeding it as well. It's clearly an early learner, though there are now so many small fish in the lake that it's not hard to get one.

Ahmet Amerikali took this dramatic picture of a young grebe struggling to swallow a pike its father had brought. The father looks a bit concerned, but the young grebe finally managed it.

A Cormorant on the Serpentine gave the camera an imperious stare.

The reason why the Black Swan is following both male and female Mute Swans has become clear. He is trying to split up a couple and join up withe the female. Here he cuts in ...

... and here he drives the male away without a fight, by following it closely. These pictures were taken at different times but it was the same manoeuvre with the same pair.

Two of the four cygnets on the Serpentine chased each other for fun.

This family now has a rival. The dominant swans on the Long Water came under the bridge with their three cygnets and went right up to the landing stage by the Diana fountain where the four cygnets were. The parents of the four were not there at the time, so it didn't come to a fight, but there may be an ugly scene soon.

A flight of Greylag Geese passed over the Serpentine.

Another picture by Ahmet: a young Egyptian practising flying.

The unusually clever Mallard on the Serpentine has managed to keep three ducklings alive despite the circling gulls. She put them under a fence so that they couldn't be swooped on, and in a patch of weeds which provided some camouflage.

Leona Tan sent a picture of the four ducklings on the Round Pond still in good order.

The migrant Pochards have turned up for the winter. There were about 40 drakes on the Long Water -- the sexes migrate separately -- mixed up with a dozen Red-Crested Pochards though these don't migrate, they just come in from St James's Park when they feel like it.

A young Herring Gull was chased by others because it was holding some unidentifiable object, presumably edible. It might be two of those large aquatic hoverfly larvae. The original picture is not all that sharp, so blowing it up doesn't help.

It was a windy day and, as often on such days, there was a Peregrine on the barracks tower. It seems that their other daytime place, on the Metropole Hilton hotel tower in the Edgware Road, is more exposed to the wind and they find the barracks more comfortable.

One of the young Hobbies rushed over our heads and vanished into the trees before I could get a picture. Later the best I could manage was of one flying very high over the Parade Ground -- probably an adult but impossible to tell from this distant picture.

Earlier, Paul had seen all three young ones, and also two of them attacking one of the young Sparrowhawks and making it dive into a tree.

There was a Green Woodpecker in the Meadow.

A flight of Long-Tailed Tits passed by the Serpentine Lodge, taking some Great Tits and Blue Tits with them and at least one Goldcrest.

A female Chaffinch came out on the ground in the leaf yard.


  1. Great photos as usual - this is a brilliant blog. Is there a good location to catch a glimpse of the hobbies? I've still to locate those little owls btw

  2. Thank you. The Hobbies are now flying over a wide area of Hyde Park centred on the Old Police House. You just need to listen for them and be lucky.

    1. Ah listening.... never been good at that ...or luck! We will try tomorrow . Thanks

    2. Just got back and I’m excited to say that we saw and heard them by the old police house also saw a shoveller in eclipse which I think I would’ve missed if they hadn’t been mentioned in this blog. Thank you so much for pointing them out - still hoping to find those elusive little owls one day though

    3. Glad you found the Hobbies. The Little Owl is being difficult at the moment, but of course as soon as I find her new place it will be mentioned on the blog.

  3. So proud of the young Grebe catching its own fish now!

    The social lives of swans are the best sort of soap opera.

    1. It's very early for that young grebe to be catching its own fish. A sign that it will survive the awful shock of being abandoned.