Saturday 19 September 2020

 A Moorhen admired its reflection in the little stream in the Dell. People say that birds can't recognise their own reflections, but water birds see them all the time and must have some idea of what they're looking at.

It's the secret of Moorhens' success that they can eat almost anything and find something to eat anywhere. They outnumber Coots considerably in the country as a whole, but oddly there are ten times as many Coots in the park as there are Moorhens -- perhaps because it's a confined space and Coots are very aggressive. Coots have only been in the central London parks for about a century. They were deliberately introduced in St James's Park in the early 1920s, and have now bred excessively. There are often over 200 of them in Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens.

Two young Moorhens preened on a dead willow in the Long Water near the Italian Garden.

One of the Great Crested Grebe chicks from the west end of the island pestered its mother, who was preening and didn't want to be disturbed. The adults are beginning to fade into their winter plumage.

The male Mute Swan on the Serpentine with two teenage cygnets patrolled the border of his territory. This is the very aggressive swan who killed another when the cygnets were just hatched.

Job done, he returned to his family.

A Mallard went to sleep facing downwind and got its feathers ruffled.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull trotted past Blondie as he went to hunt. The two share a territory but have completely different interests and don't bother each other.

Another Egyptian Goose at the Dell restaurant saw a Carrion Crow dunking a bit of bread ...

... and waded in and grabbed it.

A Black-Headed Gull found the discarded end of an ice cream cone, which it managed to swallow whole with some difficulty.

The ledges on the Serpentine bridge provide a good place for Grey Herons to keep a lookout.

The Grey Wagtail was zooming up and down the Dell catching insects. It paused for a moment on a rock at the bottom of the waterfall.

Long-Tailed Tits worked over a tree near the bridge.

The nest in the broom bush in the Rose Garden, abandoned months ago, is still intact -- a tribute to the skill of the builders.

The lavender patch in the Rose Garden, a favourite place for bees, has now withered. But there is a miniature species of lavender planted around the flower beds, less fragrant but a Buff-Tailed Bumblebee found it satisfactory.

Lavender honey is sought after and expensive.


  1. I wonder why they choose some flowers and not others. I imagine they see things and colours we cannot.

    Very sad little vignette of the abandoned nest. It reminds me of that famous short story, ""For sale: baby shoes, never worn."

    Dare I ask if Blogger is behaving itself today, or have you tamed into submission?

    1. Darn. Read a couple of posts back, I see Blogger is still its unbearably disastrous self.

    2. I have noticed that a bee tends to visit flowers of the same colour, as if there were specialists in purple or red or white. But maybe this is just because their little minds can only think of one thing at a time. They can certainly see some way into the ultraviolet, and many flowers have ultraviolet guide lines on the petals converging at the centre, acting like the markings on a helicopter landing pad.

      I don't see the nest as sad. It did its job very well and the young Long-Tailed Tits are now flying around the park with their family.

      Blogger is as bad as ever, but I have found ways round the bugs. It's taking much longer to assemble the blog, though, on account of having to put in and position each picture one at a time.

  2. Ralph, I am sorry to hear that the new blog format is giving you so many problems. You bring so much pleasure that it pains me to think that your having to overcome these stressful and time consuming problems.

    1. Thank you. I'm finding ways round the problems but it takes much longer to assemble the blog.