Tuesday 31 May 2022

Rainy day

It was a day of heavy showers, including a thunderstorm, and occasional sunny intervals. A soggy female Great Tit ...

... had several young sheltering in a tree behind the Albert Memorial ...

... and took pine nuts to feed them with.

Blackbirds are glad when it rains, as it brings up worms. This one was in the Flower Walk.

A Wren struck a grand pose at the foot of Buck Hill ...

... where a young Blackcap could be seen in the leaves ...

... and a Robin scolded a Magpie.

I give the Magpies peanuts to draw them away from trying to eat the young songbirds, though it probably makes no difference. One waited on a swan-headed urn in the Italian Garden. (This is one of the replacement urns carved a few years ago to replace badly eroded ones when the garden was being renovated. The quality of the carving is excellent.)

A Jackdaw was also expecting a peanut.

A female Grey Wagtail and a young one hunted around the outflow of the Serpentine. The young one is already independent and feeding itself.

Mark Williams sent a fine picture of a juvenile Dunnock in St James's Park. I've never yet managed to get a picture of a young one.

Two pairs of Great Crested Grebes on the Serpentine were doing territorial displays at each other. One grebe emphasised the point by coming up with a bit of weed and waving it at his mate as if performing the full dance, although they hadn't gone through any of the preliminary display.

The Coots in the nest by the bridge ignored the rain and got on with feeding the chicks.

The Mute Swans from the gravel bank in the Long Water brought their cygnets over in the hope of being fed, but the rain had kept away the usual visitors who stuff them with unhealthy bread.

As soon as a shower stopped, the Buff-Tailed Bumblebees in the Rose Garden emerged from wherever they had been sheltering and crowded on to the Stachys flowers.

An Early Bumblebee preferred a patch of Heuchera.

Monday 30 May 2022

No sign of summer yet

A cold wet day didn't deter a Reed Warbler from singing in the small reed bed next to the bridge.

Wren also like reeds.

A Robin brought a small green insect to its nest near the Henry Moore sculpture.

A family of Blue Tits hopped around in a tree below the Triangle car park. An adult was looking worn down by its long task.

One of the Grey Wagtails in the Dell bathed in the small waterfall. It needed to be remarkably sure-footed not to get washed down.

Another hunted along the shore at the Dell restaurant.

A Carrion Crow scattered salad over a table at the Lido restaurant, looking for something more interesting on the plate.

A Magpie perched in a patch of roses that have accidentally come up in the scrub beside the Vista.

The Mute Swans nesting on the gravel bank in the Long Water brought over their new cygnets to the shore.

The four older cygnets were at Peter Pan. So far I have seen no sign of conflict.

The six at the Lido are in good order. While I was taking this picture their father was on the shore pecking Virginia to try to make her feed him.

The blond male Egyptian Goose near the Triangle and his mate have brought out five new goslings. Two of them are light coloured.

I wonder what would happen if he got together with Blondie, who was at the Dell restaurant alone as usual.

Virginia tells me that the oversized Egyptian gosling at the Vista was adopted from parents who nested near the Serpentine Gallery and inexplicably abandoned their brood of two.

The Moorhens nesting in the weir at the Serpentine outflow climbed out together.

Bumblebees are particularly fond of the many species of Salvia found in the Rose Garden. These are Vestal Cuckoo Bumblebees.

There were also a great many of them on the 'Lamb's Ears' (Stachys byzantina) ...

... and some on the Cornflowers in the wildflower patch.

Sunday 29 May 2022

Singing Blackcap

A Blackcap sang in a chestnut tree. He was looking a bit tatty from feeding chicks.

A Song Thrush found a slug on the path near Peter Pan, and paused on a branch for a moment before flying on to its nest.

One of the Blackbirds in the Dell was also hunting for his nestlings.

Both Grey Wagtails could be seen under the Dell waterfall. One basked on a sun-warmed rock.

A young Blue Tit clung to a dogwood blossom near the bridge.

A young Great Tit stared out of the next tree.

Someone was feeding the Starlings on a table at the Lido restaurant, but a young one expected to be fed by its parents. It will soon be taking food directly.

I did the Kuwaiti embassy staff an injustice. After I spoke to one of the staff about how fine it was to have a colony of House Martins on the building, they have removed the wire mesh over the holes in the cornice, and the birds can come and go freely. There are still only a few of them, but at least one hole was being visited. Full marks to the Kuwaitis.

The Coots nesting on the old water filter below the Italian Garden have two chicks and several eggs still to hatch.

A pair of Moorhens are nesting at the Serpentine outflow. I don't think this small pile of twigs in the nest. I think they are nesting inside, at the bottom of the weir, as they have done in previous years.

A Moorhen chased his mate over the little waterfall in the Dell.

The Mute Swans nesting on the gravel bank in the Long Water were at the back of the bank, and you could only get an occasional glimpse of the heads of the cygnets.

The dominant pair were touting for food at Peter Pan as usual.

A pair of Egyptian Geese on the Serpentine have hatched nine goslings.

The Greylag Geese have started moulting their flight feathers already.

Two fine pictures from Mark Williams: a very confident fox in St James's Park ...

... and a Marsh Fritillary butterfly at Hutchinson's Bank.

A Buff-Tailed Bumblebee landed on a buttercup in the Dell, which sagged to the ground under its weight.

Saturday 28 May 2022

More cygnets

The Mute Swans nesting on the gravel bank in the Long Water were moving around, and clearly something was happening. A closer look showed that at least two cygnets had hatched.

Later their mother took them to the back of the gravel, and you could see that there were five.

Their father chased off a pair of Canada Geese.

Now there is going to be trouble with the dominant pair, who were at Peter Pan with their remaining four cygnets touting for food.

However, the gravel bank offers some protection, as any attacking swan has to cross it to engage the swans on the other side. And the two males seem evenly matched, as we saw from their faceoff yesterday.

Ahmet Amerikali found the neglectful Mandarin mother with her ducklings for a change. I'm sure she let them wander off again after this picture was taken.

There may be a new Grey Heron chick at the west end of the Serpentine island. I heard a faint clacking sound like a newly hatched chick begging. If there is one it won't be visible, as any nest is completely hidden by leaves.

This is one of the teenage herons from the earlier nest, standing in a basket at the edge of the island.

An adult heron was in the water lilies in the Italian Garden, ready to grab a fish unwary enough to come out from under a leaf.

This video shows how little the Grey Wagtail in the Dell has to do to ctach the swarming midges.

The Reed Warbler showed briefly in the reeds under the Italian Garden.

The number of Greenfinches in the park is rising, especially around the Long Water. One male perched in a dead tree on the east side ...

... and here are two more singing.

The Blackcap family near the Henry Moore sculpture could be seen in the bushes. This is a young one.

Two Wrens were lurking in the shade: one behind the Albert Memorial ...

... and the other in the Dell.

The Tawny Owl was inside his tree in the morning but came out in the afternoon.

A patch of white clover in the grass near the Serpentine Gallery attracted several Buff-Tailed Bumblebees.