Sunday 11 July 2021

A Great Spotted Woodpecker called from a tree near Queen's Gate.

On a day without many small birds to be seen, it was pleasing to find a Song Thrush near the Italian Garden, though it was in a bad mood as there was a Jay in the same tree.

I lured the Jay away by bribing it with a peanut.

A family of Long-Tailed Tits was busy in a tree at the back of Holy Trinity Brompton church just south of the park. This is one of the young ones preening. You can hear Herring Gulls. A resident complained to me about the noise. Apparently the growing population centred on the breeding ground in Paddington has just expanded into this formerly quiet area of small streets.

Black-Headed Gulls continue to arrive, and there were plenty in the fallen poplar at the Vista.

Here is one having a wash.

Mateusz at Bluebird Boats kindly took me out to see the Great Crested Grebe chick from the east end of the island. Here it is riding on its mother's back.

They are remarkably unconcerned by passing pedalos.

There was also a glimpse of the other grebes' nest behind the baskets, though it's obscured by branches from every angle.

The oldest chick on the Long Water is now almost as big as its parents.

The Moorhens nesting on the boat platform have hatched some chicks, I think two. Having now fallen off the platform the chicks can't get back up. Mateusz has tried putting up a plank as a ramp, but they haven't got the idea. However, their parents have built a second nest for them under the platform, so they have a fair chance of survival.

The parents divide their time between the chicks and the so far unhatched eggs -- one of their own and two Coots' eggs which Mateusz rescued. A parent left the nest for a short time, revealing a Chinese pamphlet.

The Moorhens may know what it means, but the translation given me by the Yandex online image translator was 'Stick with the star ball, fruit per day', which was not very helpful.

The newly restored grass at the southeast corner of the Serpentine provided a feast for three families of Greylag Geese with a total of fourteen goslings.

An almost fully grown Egyptian Goose on the Serpentine washed and preened its big new wings.

One of the Egyptian pair at the Henry Moore sculpture was alone on the grass. This usually means that his mate is nesting again. They have already produced four young this year, now grown up.

A small black bumblebee was flitting around a patch of knapweed on Buck Hill. It didn't stay long enough for a good picture, and this was the best I could do. I thought it was a female Hairy-Footed Flower Bee, but another picture seemed to show that its legs weren't particularly hairy.

Update: Conehead 54 thinks it may be an all-black form of the Tree Bumblebee Bombus hypnorum or, less likely, the Large Garden or Ruderal Bumblebee B. ruderatus.


  1. I have been to Buckingham Palace Gardens today and at the small lake there were several moorhen nests including some young chicks. No other waterbirds at all, which really surprised me. Any idea why? Thanks Julia S


    1. No idea. I thought Coots were inevitable. And there should be some Gadwalls too, as I am told there are breeding hutches for them here. However, I haven't seen any Gadwalls in Hyde Park for several weeks, although we had a few before then.

  2. Those Gulls must be really loud for people to complain about them. Dunno. I like their cries. I play them when I want to de-stress. No one is happy with what they have, as the saying goes.

    Look at the delighted face of the little girl watching the Grebe and its chick from the pedalo! Pure and unadulteraded joy.

    1. Well, I met a girl in the park who complained about the horrible noise a bird was making outside her window early every morning, and it turned out it was a Blackbird singing. She was Australian. Perhaps she wouldn't have complained about a Kookaburra.

  3. Lovely to see the look of delight on the young girl's face as she watches the grebe family.

    Interesting bumblebee. Bombus hypnorum occasionally has a black form so maybe that or B. ruderatus, though latter is rarer? You would be very unlikely to see Hairy-footed Flower Bee this late in the season.

    1. Thanks. I wish I had got a better picture of that bumblebee, but it was restless and only there for a few seconds, so that was the best I could snatch.