Sunday 19 September 2021

The day started fine, and the female Little Owl at the Serpentine Gallery was out in the horse chestnut tree ...

... but it soon began to rain heavily. A Robin sheltered under a bush in the Rose Garden.

Blackbirds don't mind getting wet. Rain brings up worms.

It makes no difference to water birds. A Shoveller cruised under the bridge. This is probably a drake in eclipse.

A female Mandarin followed an Egyptian Goose wherever it went. Several species of duck seem to have the habit of shadowing larger birds.

One of the two younger Great Crested Grebe chicks on the Serpentine prodded a parent in the hope of making it dive.

A Moorhen strolled over the flooded platform of Bluebird Boats.

After the rain eased off, a Starling returned to the Lido restaurant terrace and sang quietly to itself before it saw a chance to grab some scraps.

Others were working over the ants' nest in the Diana fountain enclosure. Starlings feed here constantly and I'm surprised there are any ants left.

A Grey Wagtail hunted along the edge of the Serpentine.

A Jackdaw perched on the dead tree near the bridge, another useful source of insects.

A Carrion Crow ate a Granny Smith apple which the Rose-Ringed Parakeets had ignored. Parakeets much prefer red apples.

Young Mute Swans ate the hard black fruits of an alder tree overhanging the Long Water. These fruits are popular with finches, which pick out the seeds, but I've never seen a swan eating one before.

A closer shot to show that it really was the fruit the swans were after.

Tom was at Rainham Marshes yesterday and sent some splendid pictures of a female Kestrel who was very relaxed about being photographed. Here she is having a dust bath (it was dry yesterday) ...

... hovering ...

... and eating an unfortunate Harvest Mouse.


  1. Dear God, she's such a beauty! The dust bath picture is amazing.

    Perhaps the lady Mandarin feels safer by the Egyptian, which are lean mean fighting machines!

    Missing Robins so much still, although thankfully we saw one yesterday.

    1. Glad you saw a Robin again. They are essential to life.

  2. Lovely shot of the Grey Wagtail- one of my favourite birds which I've probably said before!

    Pretty sure that Shoveler is a first winter male-you can see the rufous pattern on the flanks just beginning to show & the head is darker than a female. They aren't too obvious in these plumages.

    1. Thanks for the correction.

      I got video of a Grey Wagtail bathing today -- hope you enjoy it.

  3. some nice finds Ralph, i plan to visit Kensington gardens on Wednesday for an all day visit, if you want to meet me you're most welcome to, I'll be trying to find the little owl and hand feed a jay so help would be much appreciated

    1. I'll be there from about 11.30 to 2 -- hope to run into you. You have a good chance of finding a Little Owl, even a pair, in the big horse chestnut right next to the north end of the Serpentine Gallery. The other pair near the Speke obelisk is much more mobile and hard to find unless calling. Jays will usually only come to the hand of people they know and trust, but you can try your luck in the South Flower Walk and the shrubbery east of that towards the public lavatories. Bring some raw peanuts in the shell.