Monday 14 September 2020

It was an unseasonably hot day. Cormorants at the island panted to cool themselves, vibrating their throat to increase the air flow.

A Grey Heron sunbathed on the standing stone in the Dell.

On days like this the small birds are mostly sheltering in the bushes, but the regular Great Tits in the leaf yard came out to take pine nuts.

A pretty white Feral Pigeon strolled around on the grass outside.

The pigeons by the Serpentine are at their most vulnerable when bathing. But now they weren't worried about their safety, for the pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull had already killed one of them and was busy eating it out on the lake.

A Hobby circled the north shore of the lake.

A Carrion Crow examined a small pink thing to see if it was edible. It turned out to be a piece of plastic and was rejected.

The look that says 'Feed me.'

Still no sign of the Little Owl near the Henry Moore sculpture, and there was a squirrel in her hole.

However, we've found a new Little Owl in a large black poplar tree near the northeast corner of the Round Pond. It has been heard several times, but so far it has remained out of sight among the leaves.

When Great Crested Grebes have a territorial dispute they bring their chicks along, which gives them a moral advantage. It also teaches the chicks adult behaviour. In this case a brief threat display with head lowered was enough to send the trespassing grebe humbly away.

The Mute Swan family on the Long Water scanned the shore to see if there was anyone with a bag of unhealthy bread, which unfortunately they love.

There were two Shovellers on the gravel bank -- I think there are three in all. The drakes are still in eclipse.

The young Common Carp in the Italian Garden are now about 4 inches long. Their parents, which are 11 or 12 years old, are about 2 feet long. Not many of the little fish will survive, as the local Grey Heron is catching them with horrid efficiency.

A Migrant Hawker dragonfly perched on a dead reed near the Lido ...

... and there was a female Common Darter in the Rose Garden.

These large mushrooms at the foot of Buck Hill are almost 6 inches across. I don't know what they are. Some creature seems to have found them edible.

Update: Mario has identified it as the Giant Funnel, Leucopaxillus giganteus. He hasn't seen this in the park before.


  1. Difficult to be sure from the photo, but the mushroom could be the Giant Funnel (Leucopaxillus giganteus),though I have never seen it in the park.

    1. Many thanks. I've never seen this fungus before either. It's on the path about halfway between the Buck Hill shelter and the Henry Moore, just behind the railings.

    2. Yes, having seen it in the flesh, I can confirm the id

    3. Thanks. Will update the blog when I get home.

  2. At the beginning of the pigeon bathing video, I thought I could hear a high piping voice. Was there a bird of prey around?

    1. It was a young Great Crested Grebe wanting to be fed. The Hobbies were around, of course, but they have a different call.

  3. I can't shake the impression that the Heron looks like the stereotypical exhibitionist.

    Any theory on whether the new Little Owl may be the offspring of any of the existing pairs?

    Who could resist such an imperious stare? Here, have all my peanuts!

  4. Yes, someone else said that to me about that heron pose. I am such a pure soul that it had never occurred to me. [Smirks.]

    I do think that Little Owl is the offspring of one of the three pairs that arrived in 2012. It is going to take some finding in a tall tree with many holes.

  5. Hi Raplh . I heard the little owls and have found a lot of feathers in the trees north from the usual trees 4 times last week just by the guards area ( not sure how this is called) but could not see them , the other one answered once from a group of trees further left on Bucks Hill just by the barrier. This is the last time I have heard them.

    1. Do you mean here? It's actually east of the original tree, not north. This is the line of three horse chestnuts where the owls nested one year when they were driven out of their usual hole a crows nesting in the top of the lime tree.