Tuesday, 5 October 2021

It was surprising to see about twenty House Martins over the Round Pond. I though they had long gone on their way to Africa.

There were about 200 Starlings at the pond, pretty much the whole population of the park. As soon as they see someone with a promising-looking bag on the edge of the pond, the whizz over in a mob to see if any food is on offer.

The Robin in the corkscrew hazel in the Flower Walk has a favourite twig, and can usually be found on it.

The Coal Tit also has a favourite place. It came down to be fed.

A Chiffchaff hunted insects in a half-dead hawthorn tree near the Rose Garden.

A Carrion Crow strolled among the autumn crocuses near the bridge.

A Grey Heron fished under a large tree fern in the Dell.

Cormorants dried their wings in a brisk breeze on the posts at the island.

The two youngest Great Crested Grebe chicks were together on the Long Water, waiting for a parent to arrive with a fish.

A Shoveller drake looked very smart in his new feathers as he spun at the Vista.

Now that the Mallards are back in breeding plumage, individuals can be recognised again. The drake here is the one with the pale front that joined the trio with the Red-Crested Pochard drake in the Italian Garden last year, throwing out another Mallard drake in doing so. It seems that he has now also evicted the Red-Crested Pochard and has the female all to himself.

The three dark Mallards with white aprons are distinctive at all times of year.

A Mute Swan circled several times over the Serpentine. They need a good deal of open space to turn.

The ivy at the back of the Lido was thick with Common Wasps.

There was also a Tapered Drone Fly, Eristalis pertinax, a Honeybee mimic.

Mario alerted me to this Hen of the Woods fungus under an oak tree south of the Round Pond. I meant to visit it earlier but was delayed by heavy rain, which had made the fungus a bit battered and soggy too by the time I arrived. This is not the same as the well known bright yellow Chicken of the Woods. I suppose it gets its name from a slight resemblance to the feathers of a hen.


  1. The Swan reminds me of a B-52 we saw at an airshow in Vigo some years ago. She passed over the city of Vigo, but she needed such a large airspace to maneuvre that she had to go beyond the Cíes Islands (10 kms away as the crow flies) to make a turn.


    1. I saw a swan trying to make a U-turn over the Long Water, which is narrower than the Serpentine, about 100 metres wide. It didn't make it and crashed into a tree, falling through the branches to the bank below. Surprisingly it was unhurt, though humiliated and furious.

  2. A little late with this but, to my surprise, I saw a group of eight or so House Martins near Kelso in the Scottish Borders last Saturday.

    1. There have been several recent reports on the London Bird Club Wiki of small groups passing through on their way to the Channel crossing.