Monday 4 October 2021

The Rose-Ringed Parakeets in the park are very fond of the seeds of the catalpa tree, which they strip out of the long hanging pods. The tree is also known as the Indian Bean Tree, but it's an American species, so 'American Indian' is meant, while the parakeet is a genuine Indian species.

The small birds in the holly trees near the bridge included Greenfinches ...

... and Long-Tailed Tits.

A very short video shot by Ko. A pair of Mistle Thrushes in Kensington Gardens near the Bayswater Road has been struggling with Magpies for several years, and has never yet managed to nest successfully because Magpies attack the nest. Here a Magpie drives a Mistle Thrush out of a rowan tree where it has been eating the fruit, and it leaves with an angry rattle. 

The male Peregrine was briefly on the tower.

But he was restless and flew off to the crane in Knightsbridge for a few minutes, then left at high altitude in a northwesterly direction, maybe heading for Trellick Tower where I saw the pair several years ago.

Elizabeth found this Sparrowhawk just outside the window of her flat in Bayswater and got a good close-up shot. It's probably one of the young ones from the nest near the Old Police House in Hyde Park.

A Grey Heron looked for fish on the small waterfall in the Dell.

The waterfall is a one-way system for the carp in the stream, as once they have gone over it they can't get back. Nor can they leave downstream as the water goes through a grating into a pipe, flowing to the Thames over a mile away. So they are trapped in a few yards of water, where however they seem to do well and grow to a large size.

The Black Swan on the Serpentine dozed standing on one leg.

It woke up and cruised off, uttering melodious hoots at the Mute Swans, to which they didn't reply. A Mute Swan can actually produce a similar call, but they seldom do.

A pair of Egyptian Geese sat in the middle of a path in the Italian Garden.

These are not the original Egyptians that used to be found here, with the blonde female. I think that that pair finally came to the end of their long life several months ago. They were both at least 22 years old, and were the first Egyptians to arrive in the park.

The flowering ivy at the back of the Lido is full of Common Wasps, and there are also hoverflies that mimic wasps -- these are Myathropa florea, sometimes called the Batman Hoverfly for the mark on its thorax. The mimicry is far from exact, but enough to discourage birds from eating it.

Another wasp mimic, Syrphus ribesii, which I don't think has a common name.

And another fly, a Greenbottle, whose Latin name I had to look up. It's Lucilia sericata. Lucilia is said to have been the name of the wife of the Roman philosopher Lucretius, author of De rerum natura, On the Nature of Things. Sericata means 'dressed in silk', because of its beautiful sheen.

Stages in the short life of a Yellow Fieldcap mushroom, which emerges, fades and withers in the space of a day.

Tom was at Rainham Marshes, and got a fine picture of a pair of Bearded Tits which had come down to pick up grit from a tray put out in the reeds for them.


  1. Ralph, the lower hoverfly isn't D.albostriatus. This genus has a dark stigma on the wing (lacking here) & usually has pale stripes on the thorax as its scientific name alludes to. Also the yellow stripes tend to be more angled. Looks like Syrphus ribesii.

    Good to see a Greenfinch again. Haven't had one in my garden since last year, though have seen some locally earlier in the season. Didn't see any in the country park down the road yesterday but did see as many as 30 in nearby Perivale Park a few weeks back.

    1. Thanks for the correction.

      For some reason Greenfinches are doing well in the park after being nearly wiped out by disease a few years ago. They can be seen daily, unlike Goldfinches which seem to arrive only at intervals.

  2. It's astounding that a Sparrowhawk should be so close to Elizabeth's window! What a great experience she had!

    The Black Swan is so melancholy-sounding. Perhaps it is feeling lonely again.

    1. It must be discouraging for the Black Swan not to be answered when it calls. While Hugh was still Wildlife Officer -- and we had a different but equally solitary Black Swan -- I suggested catching it and releasing it in St James's Park so it could be with others of its kind. He said no, it would just come back here. But actually I don't think it knew its way round London. In the event it flew out after the current Black Swan arrived, destination unknown, so maybe it wasn't so lonely after all.