Saturday 31 December 2022

Soggy crow

Early rain died out, but not soon enough to avoid making a Carrion Crow very soggy. Its head and neck are much wetter than the rest of it, I suppose because the feathers here can only be preened with a foot and don't get oil spread over them efficiently.

The male Peregrine on the barracks was also looking sadly damp.

Lots of small birds were waiting to be fed in the Flower Walk. This Coal Tit ...

... and Blue Tit are regular customers ...

... but I now get a pair of Chaffinches who follow me part of the way to the Round Pond, catching thrown pine nuts in midair.

At the Round Pond a Pied Wagtail investigated the pools left by small waves breaking over the edge.

A Grey Wagtail dashed around on the edge of the Serpentine and over the weir where the water flows out.

A flock of Long-Tailed Tits flew down the edge of the Long Water.

A Dunnock allowed itself to be photographed in the Rose Garden. Usually they flee as soon as you look at them.

There were still some Redwings near the allotment.

The male Great Spotted Woodpecker near the Speke obelisk was on view.

This Jay behind the Albert Memorial usually intercepts me when I'm on my way home.

The Czech Black-Headed Gull ET05.589 was on the post where I saw him earlier and seems to have taken firm possession of it, shouting defiance at the other gulls on the ground.

The Little Grebe was still busily diving in the Italian Garden fountain.

A row of Coots preened in the drizzle. A bit of moisture makes preening easier.

Friday 30 December 2022

Redwing in the grass

The Redwings were still at the top of Buck Hill. Here is a very long shot of one hunting for insects and worms in the grass. You can't get close to these very shy birds in the open. You can hear the other Redwings chattering together in the trees above.

Someone has carefully arranged the bit of sawn-up tree on the hill that from a distance looks like a seated ape to give the best illusion. Although I know perfectly well that it's there it still catches the eye.

At the foot of the hill a Great Spotted Woodpecker looked for insects in the bark on the underside of a branch. This is a male, as you can see from the red patch on the back of his neck.

The Robin here can sometimes be persuaded to come out and take pine nuts from the path, but today it was in a sour mood and stared at me distrustfully from a branch.

The local pair of Egyptian Geese grazed under the Henry Moore sculpture.

The Little Owl at the Round Pond certainly wasn't in residence, as there was a squirrel cheekily looking out of his hole. But there have been squirrels here before and the owl has come back. The whole tree trunk is hollow and there's plenty of room for all.

The female Peregrine was on the barracks tower and I thought she was alone ...

... but then Paul saw something on one of the radio antennas on top of the building, and it was the male with his feathers blowing about in the wind. He didn't stay there long, and came down to the usual ledge with his mate.

A good portrait by Ahmet Amerikali of the regular female Pied Wagtail on the edge of the Serpentine.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull had finished his breakfast and was preening his smart feathers.

The Cormorants that were all over the Long Water yesterday have almost all left.

I think they must have been a roving band which didn't know that their colleagues had hoovered up most of the fish. Having discovered that there wasn't much left, they went off to find somewhere better.

The Little Grebe in the Italian Garden was lurking in its favourite place in the irises.

It came out to dive beside the Gadwalls, several times getting too close and being shooed away. 

It looks as if both the grebe and the ducks are feeding on the same kind of tiny water creatures, and that these are brought up by the ducks dabbling and splashing. You see a similar effect with Shovellers, which rotate in circles so that they constantly pass over the creatures they have stirred up.

A Moorhen foraged among fallen leaves at the edge of the lake.

The new pair of Mute Swans on the Long Water made short work of chasing off half a dozen intruders, and came over to the Vista.

The new male seems to have settled smoothly into his role as co-owner of the Long Water. He was always a bully even when confined to the Italian Garden, and now he has an equally fierce new mate to impress.

I hadn't seen the blond male Egyptian on the Serpentine for some time, but he was cruising along the south side. This is the male who was pushed out of his own family by an intruder a while ago. He was alone.

Thursday 29 December 2022

Great Tits everywhere

Great Tits are among the commonest birds in the park, but even so it's remarkable how many there are all over Kensington Gardens, popping out of the bushes everywhere. This one was in a yew beside the Henry Moore sculpture ...

... and here is one of the four that come to be fed near the Speke obelisk.

Another near the bridge called and hopped around nervously. There was a Magpie in the top of the tree.

At the other end of the bridge a Blue Tit was picking larvae out of a moth-damaged tree.

Long-Tailed Tits hunted through a plane tree near the Round Pond.

A chilly wind kept the Little Owl here out of sight in his hole, but it's much more sheltered at the Speke obelisk and the male owl emerged during a sunny spell.

The Redwings were in the same tree as yesterday near the Magazine. It has ivy around its lower branches and they're eating the berries.

A Carrion Crow washed in the Serpentine.

Some shots of the Black-Headed Gull who regards the landing stage at the Diana memorial fountain as his territory.

A stretch of the other side of the lake belongs to the Polish gull T4UN.

It's not at all clear what this Grey Heron was picking up in the Dell stream, but that's very often the case with sharp-eyed birds finding small edible creatures.

After almost all the Cormorants left I wasn't expecting them to come back, but today there were 19 on the Long Water. Ten perched on the posts at Peter Pan.

The Little Grebe in the Italian Garden confronted a pair of Gadwalls. They don't like it fishing under them, but leave it alone as long as it doesn't get too close.

The new pair of Mute Swans came over to the Vista to see if anyone would feed them before they went off to chase away some intruders which had come under the bridge.

The Black Swan on the Round Pond was alone. But he doesn't spend all his time with his new girlfriend.

A female Pochard cruised along the Lido.

Wednesday 28 December 2022

Dark and drizzly

It was a dark day of intermittent drizzle. A Carrion Crow ate an apple that someone had put on the railings for the Rose-Ringed Parakeets, which were mostly staying in cover because their feathers aren't waterproof.

The Redwings were in the dense trees on the north side of the allotment.

The male Chaffinch ...

... his mate ...

... and a Great Tit came out on the corkscrew hazel in the Flower Walk.

A Great Tit searched for insects in fallen leaves near the bridge.

The Little Owl at the Round Pond was staying dry in his hole.

A Great Spotted Woodpecker called near the Speke obelisk. A pair have a hole here in a half-dead birch tree. This is the female.

A Pied Wagtail sprinted up the edge of the Serpentine.

There were no crowds feeding the Feral Pigeons at the Dell restaurant to give the Lesser Black-Backed Gull an easy catch, so he reverted to his usual tactic of standing quietly on the edge waiting for a pigeon to forget he was there.

The Grey Herons' nest on the island has been active every day since it was started, so there's a good chance that the pair are serious about nesting. We had a successful early nest last winter.

A heron stood on a planter in the Italian Garden. I wonder whether there are enough medium-sized fish here to make fishing worthwhile. The Cormorants have done their usual thorough job and left.

The Little Grebe was lurking in another planter. It certainly wouldn't go anywhere near a heron.

It came out and did a bit of diving for whatever it is that it's finding to eat here. It has been here for a fortnight, so it must be doing well enough.

The Black Swan on the Round Pond has been seen with a Mute teenager recently.