Thursday 20 August 2020

Two Whinchats appeared on Buck Hill.

They are very shy birds and I couldn't get closer than 50 yards to them.

A Carrion Crow enjoyed a splash in the little pool at the top of the Dell waterfall.

While I was filming that video, the elusive Grey Wagtail turned up and started looking for insects around the edge of the pool.

The Shovellers are returning. There was a drake still mostly in eclipse under a bush on the east side of the Vista ...

... and later a female showed up in the same place in a neat lineup with a Pochard and a Mallard.

For several days the Black Swan has been following a female Mute Swan around.

I had supposed earlier that the Black Swan was female after I saw it dallying with a male Mute Swan. Now it looks as if it's male -- that is. assuming it can tell the sex of a different species.

A Tufted Duck made itself comfortable in a deserted Coot nest between two wire baskets at the edge of the island.

The Great Crested Grebe chicks from the west end of the island -- the younger brood from the island -- are now going around separately from their parents, though of course they are still being fed.

Moorhens are definitely nesting under the weir at the outflow of the Serpentine. Here is one carrying a bit of grass down to the nest.

It's very late in the year but they still have time to bring up their chicks before cold weather sets in, and the chamber under the weir is a very safe place for a nest. The chicks will have no difficulty getting out when they need to, as they are much better at climbing than Coots.

A young Moorhen under the bridge had a thorough wash. A sibling that intruded got pecked away.

Another Moorhen found a patch of weeds to relax in on the edge of the Serpentine.

A Grey Heron was well camouflaged in the reeds under the parapet of the Italian Garden. One thinks of Bitterns as the supreme species at hiding in reeds but Grey Herons, with their inconspicuous colour and vertical markings, are not far behind.

It is odd, though, that this heron, which is usually hereabouts, has made no effort to catch the abundant fish in the Italian Garden itself, where a younger heron is absolutely hoovering them up.

Earlier in the year there was a young heron on the Serpentine which was constantly attacking adults and seemed to dominate them. So position in the pecking order doesn't necessarily depend on seniority. It's possible that the young heron in the Italian Garden is the same one.


  1. Not sure about Herons, but when vultures find carrion it's not the oldest or the largest bird that gets first dibs, but rather the hungriest, which tends to be most aggressive. So at times young vultures can and do beat down very large and objectively more powerful adults.

    1. The young heron on the Serpentine was being pointlessly aggressive. It just seemed to enjoy being a hooligan. But, a I said, I'm not sure that this is the same bird.

  2. I have not specific comments, other than that I do you enjoy your blog still.

  3. Well done on the Whinchats- good birds for such a central site! Haven't seen one yet this year but hoping to connect on my patch over the next couple of weeks!

    Good to have the Shoveler back!

    1. Whinchats are rare in the park and I was surprised.

      The Shovellers seem to have returned very early. But from what is happening generally it seems that autumn has set in already.