Wednesday 4 August 2021

The young Hobbies were making a lot of noise around the greenhouses and chasing a parent through the tops of the plane trees, momentarily visible but impossible to photograph. There were also Sparrowhawks, which have bred in their usual place on the hill above the Old Police House though I never established the site of their nest. One bird perched for a moment on a bare branch. It turned out to be a Sparrowhawk.

The Kestrel was on the Hyde Park side of Buck Hill. I couldn't find where her young were.

The female Little Owl looked down from the top of her nest tree.

A Jackdaw in the leaf yard waited to be given a peanut. When they first returned to the park about five years ago, you only had to look at one and it fled. Now they stare boldly back at you.

A Blackcap looked out of a holly tree near the bridge.

A Wood Pigeon had eaten most of a bunch of unripe elderberries, and was taking a short break before continuing.

Unlike Feral Pigeons, which eat just about anything, Wood Pigeons stick mainly to a proper wild bird diet. They are fond of tender young leaves. This one is picking clover and small dandelion leaves out of the grass.

Two young Herring Gulls pestered a parent, hoping to be fed. The adult thought they were quite old enough to feed themselves.

The single Great Crested Grebe chick at the island is beginning to grow proper wing feathers, though it will be a couple of months before it starts trying to fly.

When grebes are preening -- and sometimes when they aren't -- they often move their wings up and down alternately. I have no idea why they do this.

The Coots on the post at Peter Pan added feathers to their nest. These serve as both structural material and ornament.

The Coots in the Italian Garden have lost their last chick, and have doggedly returned to the nest to lay some more eggs. These birds are unstoppable.

The solitary Mute cygnet is still trying to join the family on the Long Water. Although it's usually kept at a distance, it's not being attacked. Maybe it will succeed by sheer persistence.

A Blue-Tailed Damselfly perched on the well worn rail at the Italian Garden where people climb in and out because the gateway is at the wrong end. The original cast iron rail was broken by constant use, and this is a steel scaffolding pole.

There were plenty of Meadow Brown butterflies appropriately in the Meadow.


  1. Hi. That perched bird is a sparrowhawk not a hobby.

    1. Thank you. I should have looked more closely. It was screeching chaos there at the time. I think that, just as happened last year, the Hobbies and Sparrowhawks have nested too close together and this has resulted in conflict.

  2. I wonder how the swan parents manage to know that that cygnet doesn't belong to their family. How can they tell all apart?

    Videos aren't loading today for me. Looking very forward to seeing the Grebe wing movement.

    A couple of days ago we were having breakfast outside in a cafeteria. There were droves of sparrows carpet-bombing and diving for crumbs. There was a quite realistic wooden eagle owl in the terrace, ostensibly to scare them away. But they even perched on top of the thing! I think that Jackdaw knows that there is nothing to fear.

    1. I'm sure that birds can recognise individuals of their species as surely as most humans can.

      Alarmed to hear that videos aren't working for you. A few weeks ago Blogger stopped recognising the insertion code I was using, which was YouTube's recommended code. Blogger's own code, automatically generated by clicking on its 'Insert video' button, produces video that only works on a computer, not a mobile. That leaves just one code, an obsolete but effective one used by Blogger until their disastrous redesign last year, and this works on both computers and mobiles -- or at any rate it used to, and still does as far as I can find from tests on various devices. But if this is staring to fail, I'm stuck. At the moment I'm trying to see if Rumble is a better platform for videos. If so, I can ditch YouTube entirely.

      There is a life-size wooden Eagle Owl on top of the loggia in the Italian Garden. Its a favourite perch for pigeons.

    2. Happy to see I can see them now perfectly well. They didn't load yesterday in any browser.

  3. Ralph, can you clarify please, have hobbies nested this year? I hadn't noticed any reference in your Blog, maybe that is for Wildlife and Countryside Act reasons. And if so are you able to say close to last year's nest or - again - is that not for dissemination. Can you also indicate best place - if thee is one - to see little owls. I have your map of a couple of years ago, not sure if this still applies. David Jeffreys

    1. I don't think the Hobbies nested in the park, they just visit it sometimes. Two young ones were recently seen following a parent near Orme Square.

      This is the Google Maps reference for the Little Owls' nest tree.

    2. Hi Ralph Dave Jordan Asst Park Manager here.Pls can you call me on 07891 041 596 when convenient(Hobby related) Thanks.