Saturday 29 August 2020

The first cold morning of autumn made the small birds much hungrier, and they flocked to the feeder in the Rose Garden which I had just refilled.

Our resident House Martins left some time ago, but today there were a few over the Serpentine, on their way south.

The birds in the park don't like drinking the water in the lake, which comes from a borehole. Whenever rain produces puddles they drink from these, however muddy the water gets. Pigeons are the only birds that can drink continuously with their head down -- other birds have to take a beakful of water and throw their head back to swallow it.

A Long-Tailed Tit investigated a hawthorn twig. They seem to like hawthorn trees, evidently because they harbour a lot of insects.

Another beautiful picture by Julia of the female Kestrel in the Meadow.

A Herring Gull caught a crayfish ...

... but a begging young gull distracted its attention. A Carrion Crow saw an opportunity and carried the crayfish off, pursued by a Magpie.

We quite often see Black-Headed Gulls with one leg. The loss doesn't seem to hamper them much, and there was one gull which came to the Vista year after year.

A Grey Heron stared into a reed bed on the Long Water, hoping for a fish to emerge from between the stems.

One of the youngest Great Crested Grebe chicks from the west end of the island was out on its own. Even when younger than this they are pretty safe from gulls, thanks to their ability to dive instantly.

This is one of the much older ones from the nest near the bridge. They have more or less stopped begging from the parents and are at the stage where they dive with them, learning how to fish by watching the parent.

A young Moorhen, also from a nest near the bridge, rested on a post.

Ahmet Amerikali got this picture of Greylag Geese splashing down.

A pair of Mandarins could be seen at the Vista. The drake was too far away for a worthwhile picture, but you could see that he was coming back into his ridiculously gaudy breeding plumage.

Those of you who thought there was only one Spiderman will be gravely disappointed by this picture taken at the Lido restaurant.


  1. I'm almost afraid to ask what it's going down there.

    I am very hopeful about this year's young Grebes. They seem to be on a fair way to gaining crucial fishing skills.

    1. The most curious thing about that picture is that all their costumes are different, a tribute to the unfocused energy of the Chinese ripoff costume trade.

      Keeping my fingers crossed about the young grebes, but there are plenty of fish and it's looking good so far.

  2. It certainly felt more like November than late August yesterday. I can't remember wearing 3 layers on top in August before, though still in shorts!

    When I arrived at Ruislip Lido there was a large mixed hirundine flock swirling above me. At times it was difficult to ascertain if they were the same birds at times coming round or new birds arriving. A conservative estimate of over a 100 birds but the true number could have been higher, especially seeing some figures from elsewhere- great to see migration in action! Hope your House Martins had a successful season- some are still at nests at the Lido.

    1. I don't think our House Martins had much of a year. I kept an eye on the Kuwaiti Embassy and there were never more than a few flying in and out of their hidden nests.