Sunday 20 September 2020

Another quite warm day. The female Kestrel passed over Buck Hill, looking for grasshoppers or, with luck, a mouse.

Feral Pigeons sunbathed on the grass below.

Disturbed by a runner, they got up and remembered what they were supposed to be doing. A male followed a female, making encouraging noises. She wasn't in the mood, and trotted off.

There is a family of Greenfinches near the bridge. A young one perched on a twig.

There is also a Chaffinch family. Here is one of two females that I saw.

One of the usual Coal Tit pair was in the holly tree. Sunshine encourages Coal Tits to sing out of season, and several could be heard around the park.

The scavengers waiting at the Lido restaurant now include two Magpies. This one stared intently at diners on a nearby table, alarming them.

The young Grey Heron that fishes in the Italian Garden fountains has been away for several days, but today it was back and at work.

A Great Crested Grebe flapped its strangely small wings. No wonder they need a desperate 50 yard run to take off.

The Mute Swans with one cygnet, which are trapped near the bridge by aggressive dominant swans on both sides, had an easier time today and came out on to the Serpentine without being harassed.

An Egyptian Goose on the Serpentine has moulted very late indeed and is only just beginning to regrow its flight feathers.

A female Tufted Duck had a brisk wash and preen and a thorough flap to settle her wings.

A Mallard on the Long Water is now back in full breeding plumage.

Birds of a different kind. The Battle of Britain flight came over with a magnificent roar of four Merlin engines. A Hurricane led three Spitfires of different models.

A male Migrant Hawker dragonfly perched on the railings in front of the Diana fountain reedbed.


  1. What a splendid sight! I wish I could have listened to the roar of the mythic Merlin engines. Always loved that name for the engine, the mythical protector of Albion.

    Those tiny stubby lovely, lovely wings!

    1. The Merlin makes a very distinctive sound. When I heard four at once I thought it was going to be a Lancaster.

      The short wing tips of the Spifire Vb were ugly but improved roll rate and climb rate from low altitudes. Spitfire wing tips were removable and different kinds could be substituted by ground crew depending on the mission. High altitudes needed full size tips.

    2. I always meant to ask: are Spitfires named after dragons, or after fiery, feisty women?

    3. It's probably a bowdlerised translation of Cacafuego, the nickname of the Spanish galleon Nuestra Señora de la Concepción captured in the Pacific by Sir Francis Drake in 1579. 'Spitfire' became a slang term for a cannon before it was extended to explosive women.

  2. A beautiful day-all about to get autumnal mid-week. Lucky you having Greenfinch & Chaffinch. Haven't seen either locally for a few weeks; the former had been around in small numbers. We had a couple of good (presume continental) flocks of Chaffinch back in the winter otherwise I heard just 2 singing birds in the spring

    1. There are two families each of Greenfinches and Chaffinches in this small area. Greenfinches in the park have recovered well from the respiratory virus outbreak, but all the Chaffinches except young ones (I think the pictured one was young) are still suffering from that foot disease, which I think is due to another virus.