Wednesday 30 June 2021

Virginia found an injured female Great Crested Grebe beside the Serpentine. The park has no Wildlife Officer at present, but fortunately Alberto, a volunteer for London Wildlife Protection, has stepped in to deal with emergencies. The bird was put in a box and taken to Anita's London staging post from where she can be taken to a rehabilitation centre. There were puzzling bite marks, too small for a dog, too large for a rat. We fear there may be mink loose in the park. Apparently there was a mink farm that was closed down some years ago, and some idiot released the mink into one of the Royal Parks -- I don't know which of them.

Here is the grebe at Anita's. The poor bird looks dreadful but has a good chance of recovery.

We didn't know which grebe it was, and were worried that she might be one of the two nesting pairs at the island. All looked peaceful on the nest behind the baskets, as far as you can see anything at all here, but there was only one bird present at the time so no way of being sure.

Both grebes were at the nest at the east end of the island ...

... but there was a lone male near the Dell restaurant, and this may be the mate of the injured bird. They will try to return the female to the lake as soon as possible.

While Alberto and Virginia were rescuing the grebe, Virginia saw a Greylag Goose that she had been trying to find, which had a wire trace from a fishing line knotted round its leg. This too was rescued and taken to Anita's.

Here is it with the wire removed, recovering in company with a Canada Goose.

A Greylag on the Serpentine chewed bark, which they are fond of for some reason.

The Mallard at Peter Pan preened herself, watched by her two ducklings.

The Lesser Black-Backed Gull that I photographed yesterday eating a pigeon had a large carp today. Obviously the bird hadn't caught it, and had simply found it dead.

The familiar Carrion Crows on Buck Hill have three youngsters. One was exploring a tissue to see if it was edible ...

... and the other was pestering a parent on an urn in the Italian Garden.

A Starling scolded a crow from a branch.

A Chiffchaff sang from a nearby tree.

Tom found a family of Willow Warblers on the east side of the Long Water yesterday, and took this picture of one of them.

One of the young Grey Wagtails was back on the rock at the top of the Dell waterfall. Their grey and bright yellow plumage is effective camouflage against the grey rock with yellow lichen.

Tuesday 29 June 2021

The Herring Gull that has started killing pigeons was eating its latest victim in the territory of the original pigeon-killing Lesser Black-Back, who was there and watching but didn't intervene. There would have been a fight, and there are enough pigeons for all.

There is yet another pigeon killer, this Lesser Black-Back. It was at the Triangle car park, which is also the hunting ground of the Herring Gull above. I saw it recently here with a pigeon remnant from a kill, but it had certainly caught this one itself.

A young Herring Gull had to be content with a crayfish.

A Grey Heron fished from the dead willow near the Italian Garden.

A young Grey Wagtail perched on a rock by the Dell waterfall.

The House Martin colony on the Kuwaiti Embassy was busy, with several active nests. A bird dropped out of the cornice, neatly avoiding the anti-pigeon spikes. You can just see the nest on the plaster rose above.

A Wood Pigeon ate mixed weeds in a shrubbery near the bridge.

A Goldfinch sang from a television aerial in Rutland Street, south of the park.

The Great Crested Grebe under the willow by the bridge rested on the nest while the single chick wriggled about.

These Great Crested Grebes on the Serpentine had been displaying briskly ...

... and when they dived it looked as though they were going to do their weed dance. But only one of them came up with weed, so the moment fizzled out. One of them gave a disappointed shrug.

There is a new grebe nest on the island, unfortunately behind the wire baskets so you can't see it properly.

It's uncomfortably close to the existing nest, so there will be conflict. This nest is about to hatch. It's also about to be lost from view as the plants grow up around it, so let's hope the chicks emerge soon.

The single Mute cygnet from the nest at the boathouse strolled along the edge of the lake.

One of the brood of ten young Greylag Geese had a preen ...

... and a flap, showing that its primary feathers are emerging.

Peacock butterfly caterpillars crawled around on a nettle, their usual food plant.

Monday 28 June 2021

A Magpie used a twig to bring up insects from the rotten trunk of a felled tree. A wasp is visible at one point, so maybe there's a wasp nest in the crevice.

Magpies were envious of a Lesser Black-Backed Gull which had found a dead fish in the Serpentine.

The dismal muckiness of the shore is caused by moulting Mute Swans gathering in this corner of the lake.

A Jackdaw on a fence by the leaf yard deftly shelled a peanut and ate the contents.

On the same fence, a Carrion Crow shook a peanut bag to remove the last fragments.

There were two families of Great Tits at the bridge. Here is one of the young ones in a yew tree ...

... and one in a dead tree trunk across the path. You can just see the back of another bird in the hole, which may be where the parents nested.

A Cormorant jumped out of one of the pools in the Italian Garden and went to look for fish in the next one.

One of the Great Crested Grebe chicks on the Long Water reached too far forward on its parent's back, fell into the water, and had to climb back up.

The older chick at the north end of the Long Water saw that a parent had caught a fish and hurried over ...

... only for the parent to decide it was time to feed itself.

There are two Coot chicks in the nest in the half-timbered boathouse, with two eggs left in the nest now unlikely to hatch.

The single surviving chick from the brick boathouse is adult size now. It wasn't a good year for the parents -- usually they bring up several young.

The Black Swan was on the Long Water having a flap, watched by two crows. Young swans have black-tipped flight feathers. Its next year's set will be all white.

The two blond Egyptian teenagers are now almost fully grown. They have very pale flight feathers, even paler than Blondie's, but there is more colour on their heads.

Here is Blondie for comparison. She was standing nearby.

The young Mallard at the bridge cropped algae off a post.

The Eryngium flowers at the back of the Lido are beginning to come out and attract bees. I think this is an Early Bumblebee, but it was soaked by the drizzle and not looking too recognisable.

Sunday 27 June 2021

The Great Crested Grebes at the north end of the Long Water are nesting again. You can see the sitting bird in the reeds. Their chick is still being fed, and will be for some time, but it will have to grow up fast when the new chicks are hatched. It is already beginning to try fishing for itself, though probably not catching anything yet. Luckily there are lots of small fish in the lake now.

Thanks to Virginia for this lovely picture of the grebes in the middle of the Long Water with their two chicks.

The single chick at the south end, by the bridge, looked out from its father's back.

The three Coot chicks at Peter Pan are now quite large and looking much more attractive, at least to human eyes.

There are two slightly younger ones from a nest between the wire baskets on the Serpentine island.

The recent warm weather has caused a considerable growth of algae in the Long Water, annoying the park staff but delighting the Mute Swan family who think it's delicious.

A very young Greylag gosling rested in the middle of the path, ignoring passing humans. But if a dog appeared, even in the far distance, its mother would call frantically to get it into the water.

The brood of ten are growing up fast.

The two pairs with two goslings each are always together, which is unusual for Greylags (unlike Canadas, where mothers get together and even look after each other's goslings). Perhaps the two mothers are sisters. Geese retain family attachments all their life.

The Red-Crested Pochard with the faded head was at the Vista.

A Herring Gull on the edge of the Serpentine used its powerful beak to break open a crayfish it had just caught.

One of the adult Magpies in the family that nested near the Triangle car park has a short tail. Probably the feathers got broken during nesting. It will have to wait till the nest moult before it gets back to normal.

A Great Tit bathed in a puddle in the Flower Walk.

I was surprised by a Coal Tit here which came to take food from my hand. Perhaps it is the very confident one usually found between the Albert Memorial and the West Carriage Drive. Coal Tits are quite mobile, and if you feed them they may follow you for several hundred yards. Thanks to Neil for this picture of it.

The wildflower patch in the Rose Garden is in full bloom with poppies, cornflowers and oxeye daisies.

But the Honeybees are going for purple flowers at the moment, such as lavender ...

... and cranesbill.