Tuesday 7 September 2021

Great Crested Grebes on the Long Water were having a territorial dispute, which is usually just a matter of threats and wary circling.

But if neither of them backs down it can turn into a fight.

It's a splashy affair but no one gets hurt.

I should have filmed this, but I had the stills camera in my hand when it broke out. However, I did film the winning pair congratulating each other afterwards and going back to their two chicks.

Ahmet Amerikali got a dramatic shot of the Black Swan being chased on the Serpentine. Any swan, black or white, can be attacked by the two aggressive dominant males, one at each end of the lake.

The Mute Swans which nested at the boat house returned to their nest, which is now ornamented with an accidental sunflower.

Red-Crested Pochard drakes still look very smart when in eclipse.

A Cormorant at the island dried its wings in the sunshine.

A Grey Heron carefully stepped across the small waterfall in the Dell.

Two herons pointedly ignored each other on top of the Henry Moore sculpture.

The trees at the southwest corner of the bridge were full of small birds as usual, but on a hot sunny day they were staying in the shade and hard to photograph. I got a Chiffchaff ...

... and Ahmet got a Blackcap sunbathing ...

... and a Goldcrest.

Cetti's Warblers tend to stay hidden in the undergrowth, so I didn't get video of this, but I thought it was interesting and am showing it with one of my still pictures. A young Cetti from the nest on the Long Water practises his adult song. When he has worked it up it will be much louder and longer. Cettis sing all the year round, though less in autumn and winter.

A Long-Tailed Tit stared seriously from a tree in the Dell.

An area near the leaf yard which was trampled into mud by people feeding the Rose-Ringed Parakeets was fenced off several months ago with a notice saying 'Ground under repair'. No human has set foot in it since and it's turning into a jungle of long grass, weeds and self-seeded trees. It's an ideal place for a fox to hang out during the daytime.

Buddleia used to be rare in the park, but once established it spreads quickly. This is good news for butterflies, which are particularly fond of it. There is a pretty bush on the island.

I couldn't find a Little Owl today, but here is one in Richmond Park photographed by Tom.


  1. Grebes ought to write a book on living the good life. Their fights are bloodless if spectacular affairs, and the winner goes back to a greeting ceremony and to his family.

    For a very long time Cetti's Warblers carried in the Spanish the very unflattering name "ruiseñor bastardo", "bastard nightingale". Nowadays the bird is called, lesss insultingly, Cetia Ruiseñor, "Cettia Nightingale".

    Have you seen the video clip of a Black Swan landing on Tiananmen square, of all places?


    People are freaking out, believing it to be an omen.

    1. I see that there are some big lakes to the immediate northwest of Tiananmen Square. No doubt it strayed in from there. Hope they haven't eaten it.

      There is a small feral population of Black Swans in Britain, and our second-last Black Swan clearly came from one as it was completely unused to people. All descended from park escapes, of course. But would they have parks with Black Swans in China?