Saturday 12 September 2020

 The Hobbies are still flying around north of the Serpentine.

Starlings waited in the hawthorn on the terrace of the Dell restaurant to snatch scraps off an empty table. The tree has berries to keep them going.

Neil shot this video on a visit to Japan -- a murmuration of starlings whirling around before settling down in a tree for the night. But, perhaps surprisingly, there are none of our familiar Common Starlings in Japan. He thinks they are probably White-Cheeked Starlings, Spodiopsar cineraceus, in Japanese ムクドリ muku-dori, 'muku bird', named for their fondness for sweet muku fruit.

A Wren came down to drink in the pool at the top of the Dell waterfall.

A Great Tit probed for insects in the rotten wood of the dead tree near the bridge.

Another racing pigeon had gone native on the shore of the Serpentine.

I've seen Herring Gulls crush peanuts easily with their powerful beaks, and I gave one to a gull so that I could get pictures of this. But the gull didn't seem to understand what a peanut is. It picked it up delicately ...

... took it into the water, then lost interest and dropped it.

But a young Herring Gull nearby moved quickly in and shelled it expertly to eat the nuts.

It's well known that gulls learn from others about which foods are good and how to deal with them. It seems the adult had missed a bit of its education.

A close-up of one of the Grey Herons that hang around the Italian Garden. They are quite unafraid of people and I had to step back from it to get this shot.

On the Serpentine, one of the insistent Great Crested Grebe chicks went to sleep and gave its parent a break from feeding it, but the other one was awake and noisier than ever.

Mute Swans splash furiously when they are preening. The idea seems to be to get as much water into their water-repellent plumage as possible to lubricate the feathers that are being preened.

This is the other blonde female Egyptian Goose on the Serpentine apart from Blondie -- there is also a pale male. She has quite different flight feathers from Blondie, with narrow pale and dark stripes.

Blue-violet cranesbill flowers have been blooming behind the Lido for a remarkably long time during the summer. They are very popular with bees, and here they are being visited by Honeybees and Common Carders, the small bumblebees with a ginger tuft on the thorax, of which there are a lot flying at the moment.

A fine picture by Tom of a Wasp Spider at Rainham Marshes.


  1. What a pretty Starling species! I am glad all Starlings, even those on the other half of the world, know how to perform a decent murmuration.

    Herons in Kensington Gardens are really, really something else. I'd go bonkers if I were able to get that close to one.

    1. There was an old park regular called Roy, sadly no longer with us. He worked in a hotel a short distance away and used to feed his favourite heron on leftover cheese and sausages from the kitchen. It would follow him down the path like a dog waiting for one treat after another. On one occasion it ate 1 lb (454 g) of sausages in one go.

  2. I think your long flowered Geranium is the cultivar Rozanne which is particularly long flowering unlike some of the pure species. I have it in my garden for that reason.

    Love Tom's shot of the female Wasp Spider. Quite a few people have said there seem to be far fewer this season. I've only seen a couple this year- one in Richmond Park & the other on Canvey Island while looking at rare dragonflies.

    1. Thanks. A shame that YouTube compression chewed up the bee video so badly.

      Tom said that there are Wasp Spiders in many places at Rainham now. And that;s when some of the paths where I have seen them are shut because of the great panic.