Monday 31 May 2021

A Chiffchaff preened in a treetop. A quick burst of song, and off it flew to catch insects. It's the father of at least one nestling, which I photographed on Friday.

A Blue Tit preened on a hawthorn twig. Hawthorn trees are popular with all the small insect-eating birds at all times of year. They must contain more insects than the others.

The male Grey Wagtail was in the Italian Garden collecting various insects over the ponds.

The Great Crested Grebe chick was on the water beside a parent. It's grown quite a lot, thanks to its parents' efforts to find suitable sized fish at the wrong time of year. A single chick stands a reasonable chance of survival, though they were unable to support two.

The grebes on the nest under the willow near the bridge have decorated their nest with a red strap, their favourite colour.

The Coots at the other side of the bridge fed their chicks. The recently laid eggs are making it difficult for the parents to look after the chicks and incubate the eggs at the same time.

The Mute Swan family on the Long Water annoyed a Coot by letting the cygnets poke around it its nest. The young birds need extra protein to grow, and eat the insects that infest the nest.

The same thing was happening at the east end of the Serpentine.

The young Black Swan had a vigorous wash, and dived for several seconds. It has stayed at the east end of the lake for some time, keeping away from the aggressive males at the other end.

You can see at the beginning of the video that one of its feathers fell out. It blew ashore and I photographed it. You can see the brownish grey tip that gives a young Black Swan a variegated appearance.

Two broods of Greylag Geese passed in line astern.

The Red-Crested Pochard drake who used to belong to a trio with two Mallards was back on the Long Water alone, as he was when I saw him on the Serpentine yesterday. Perhaps he will join the next group of Red-Crested Pochards that visits the park.

The big single pink roses in the Rose Garden are sending the Honeybees into a frenzy of pollen gathering.

The important thing for a bee is being able to get into the flower. Many of the complicated double roses are impenetrable to them.

Allium flowers are easy to browse on and much visited, though they don't excite the bees as much.

Sunday 30 May 2021

The House Martins are now nesting in the cornice of the Kuwaiti Embassy just outside Hyde Park. Several of the plaster roses were occupied. The recent rain will have provided mud for repairing last year's nests, which are invisible on top of the rose petals.

The male Grey Wagtail was busy catching insects in the Italian Garden.

A female Blackcap carried a caterpillar to a nest in the scrub at the east end of the Serpentine.

Just a pair of ordinary Feral Pigeons on a post at Peter Pan. The darker 'Blue Chequer' pattern is commoner among the pigeons here than the original grey of their wild Rock Dove ancestors.

The second brood of two young Grey Herons are just about ready to leave the nest and start flying around. This one had flapped and scrambled up to the top of a tree.

I've only seen one Great Crested Grebe chick on the Long Water during the past week. Fish of the right size for feeding chicks are scarce at the moment, and the parents have done well to keep one.

The Coots on the wire basket at the bridge have also lost a chick and are down to three. A Herring Gull was perched on a nearby post looking as if it intended to grab another.

Coots can make nests out of almost anything. This one is in a reed bed on the Long Water, so it's made of reed stems.

The Mute Swans from the nest east of the Lido are now down to three cygnets. One rode in the safety of its mother's back.

The pair nesting at the boathouse still seem to have only two eggs, but the female has started incubating them.

Three swans stormed down the lake. They are starting to moult and will all be flightless soon. Moulting makes them even worse tempered than usual.

Geese are arriving on the lake to moult in a safe place, including these two Canada x Greylag hybrids which I don't remember seeing before.

Two families of Greylag Geese were at the Lido. They have had a good year for breeding here, and even more so in St James's Park where there is an absolute mob of goslings. Yet the Canada Geese have hardly bred at all. I have no idea what has caused the difference.

This is the blond male Egyptian Goose who was exiled from his family by an intruding male when he was recovering from an injury. But two of his three goslings have inherited his colour and are doing well.

A Blue and Yellow Macaw was being taken out for a bit of fresh air. This is not one of the pair of Hyacinth Macaws which are seen here quite often.

A video from Rainham Marshes by Norbert Jakab. Bearded Tits are shy and generally hidden in the reeds where they live, so it was interesting to see a young one climbing around.

Saturday 29 May 2021

The Hobbies arrived from Africa several weeks ago but haven't yet started nesting. Here they are in a plane tree in Kensington Gardens.

They were calling to each other.

A Greenfinch sang its strange wheezing song from a tree near the Queen's Temple.

A young Long-Tailed Tit near the Dell demanded food from a parent.

The Grey Wagtails in the Italian Garden were busy collecting insects for their young.

The familiar Jay near the Albert Memorial waited in a weeping beech for its customary peanut.

A Great Crested Grebe sitting on the stolen Coot nest under the willow near the bridge passed the time by preening.

A pair displayed on the Serpentine.

Virginia photographed the four Coot chicks in the nest at the bridge, with the eight still unhatched eggs.

One of the chicks  climbed down to be fed and had a hard time scrambling up again.

A sad video. One of the five cygnets of the Mute Swan pair at the island has died, cause unknown. Coots, Carrion Crows and a Herring Gull quarrelled over the little corpse.

At least the single cygnet of the other island pair has been spared so far.

One of the blond Egyptian teenagers was trying to fly. It will manage in time.

The carp were restless, surfacing and thrashing about.

A Grey Heron looked down with interest.

Friday 28 May 2021

A young Chiffchaff, barely out of the nest and still with a few downy feathers, perched on a twig on Buck Hill.

A young Long-Tailed Tit beside the Serpentine was already catching its own insects.

A Greenfinch sang from a twig near the Queen's Temple, where there are now quite a lot of these birds.

A Blackbird had a bath in the fountain in the Rose Garden and preened on a branch.

A pair of Herring Gulls moaned affectionately at each other on the edge of the Serpentine. There is a breeding colony nearby in Paddington, so they can nest if they feel like it.

The Great Crested Grebes at the bridge were repairing their nest. I haven't yet been able to see any eggs in it.

The solitary Moorhen chick in the Italian Garden poked around in the algae.

The Coot nest on the basket on the other side of the bridge now has four chicks in it -- and suddenly, a whole lot more eggs, eight in all. Apparently these were laid in the last few days. It's not clear what the parents will do about this.

The four Coot chicks at Peter Pan are still in good order.

The Mute Swan with five cygnets at the island shooed away a Coot that had got too close.

A Mute Swan, Egyptian Geese and Greylag Geese grazed happily on the newly restored lush grass on the south side of the Serpentine.

Two Greylag families sprawled across the path on the south shore of the Serpentine, so that people had to walk round them.

The four young Mallards that miraculously survived on the open lake are now almost full size, though their wings are not yet serviceable.

It rained heavily in the afternoon. Virginia got a good picture of a Mandarin drake in the downpour.

A interesting picture from Jabir Belmehdi. Ermine Moth caterpillars have built a cocoon around a bush near the children's playground on the south side of the Serpentine. They will now eat all the leaves. A bush similarly attacked on the other side of the lake two years ago has still not recovered.

Thursday 27 May 2021

Young Long-Tailed Tits in a hawthorn near the Rose Garden, well fed by their parents, had a quiet moment in the sunshine.

A Blue Tit looked for insects in the same tree.

A Chiffchaff sang beside the Long Water.

A Magpie bathed in the pool at the top of the Dell waterfall.

The male Grey Wagtail was busy in the Italian Garden, catching some insects on foot and some flying. When he had as much as he could carry, he disappeared through the plane trees on the edge of the park.

Also in the Italian Garden, a remarkable sequence of pictures by Michael Frankling. A Grey Heron saw a carp in the pool and plunged right in to try to grab it. It missed.

The Coot nest on the wire basket by the bridge is hatching out. So far only two chicks are visible, but there were six eggs.

Ten new Greylag goslings relaxed on the edge of the Serpentine while their father kept watch for approaching dogs.

You wouldn't think a Mute Swan could dive, but this one managed by getting up quite a speed before it put its head down. It travelled about 30 yards under water before it came up.

The five cygnets at the island are still in good shape ...

... but there was a lot of chasing in the middle of the lake.

Allium flowers are popular with insects. One in the Rose Garden was browsed on by a Buff-Tailed Bumblebee, Honeybees and a small black ant.