Tuesday 21 September 2021

Just time for a quick round of the park before heading off to Rainham Marshes. I didn't find a Little Owl at the Serpentine Gallery. Little Dave the gardener told me that he had seen a Kestrel circling the tree, so probably they had had a disagreement and the owls had retired to their hole.

But the male owl near the Speke obelisk was visible for a change.

Robins were singing loudly all over Kensington Gardens. This one was in the leaf yard.

A Pied Wagtail perched on the roof of one of the small boathouses, then hunted insects in the moss and lichen on the tiles.

It caught a fly.

One of the two younger Great Crested Grebe chicks cruised past.

A female Tufted Duck rested on the edge of the Serpentine.

There were three kinds of egret at Rainham. Two Cattle Egrets and a Little Egret (front) searched for small edible creatures.

A Little Egret caught a dragonfly in the reeds.

And there was also a Great Egret, the first one I've managed to see at Rainham.

A female Wheatear perched on a heap of earth on the mound upstream from the reserve, which is an old rubbish tip and the highest ground in the flat landscape.

A Little Grebe caught a small fish and flipped it about before swallowing it. Little Grebes can shake fish so violently that they disintegrate, which is handy for feeding chicks with the pieces.

There was also a teenager still with traces of juvenile stripes on its face.

Marsh Frogs were croaking loudly in several places.

A Wasp Spider waited at the centre of its web.

Willow Emerald damselflies mated on a bramble stem.

A Common Carder Bee climbed over a buddleia flower.

A Hornet Hoverfly (Volucella zonaria) rested on a log.

After I left to come home Tom found a female Kestrel, which had eluded me. He got a fine photograph of her in flight.


  1. Congratulations on the Great Egret! Such an elegant and impressive bird.

    Very lovely pictures from Rainham Marshes. I would never have imagined that such relatively small birds such as Little Grebes should be so strong as to be able to disintegrate small fish!

    Glad to see Cattle Egrets keep expanding their population. I have a very soft spot for them.

    1. Little Egrets are increasing fast now. There were at least eight at Rainham and they appear in Kensington Gardens from time to time. Cattle Egrets are now often seen at Rainham, where there is a herd of cows (which still won't let them on), and sightings of Great Egrets are becoming more frequent. In a few years there will be egrets all over London.

  2. Looks like you had an excellent day at Rainham & congrats on your egret hat trick! I had planned to go yesterday but decided to go to Brent Res to see the Little Stint that had been present for about 10 days. Needless to say it had gone but a Ruff was reasonable compensation along with 2 Green Sandpipers. 4 Little Egrets there.

    As well as some fine bird photos you got some good insect shots & I adore the Marsh Frogs. Though they're not native in the UK they do seem to have an important role in the food chain-supporting the various heron/egret species & Grass Snakes. I did see a photo last year of a Marsh Frog eating a smaller one.

    I may get there on Friday as the weather looks sunnier than Thursday.

    1. Sorry to be so slow in replying -- I accidentally went out without my phone and was plunged back into the 20th century. Hope you have a splendid day at Rainham. There is always something there that makes a visit worthwhile. The extremely accommodating female Kestrel that Tom has photographed is likely to be along the river wall between the exit turnstile and the visitor centre.

  3. Thanks Ralph- yes Rainham is always worth the visit.