Tuesday 26 July 2022

Peregrine calling

A Peregrine on the Knightsbridge barracks looked out ...

... saw her mate approaching (long before I could, of course) and started calling to him.

In yesterday's comments, L. Fairfax suggested, 'In Bromley in May a pair of Peregrines turned up, bred and left -- I wonder if they are the same ones as the Hyde Park ones?' Even if they aren't, the absence of our Peregrines for several months suggest that they were off breeding somewhere. I've seen them mating on the tower and think they might nest there if someone put up a tray of gravel for them, but that would be a bit tricky in a military installation.

Today's Little Owls were the female near the Round Pond ...

... one of the owlets, which was flying from tree to tree ...

... and the female at the Serpentine Gallery.

A Jay followed me from the gallery to the Flower Walk, demanding several peanuts on the way.

A young Carrion Crow on the edge of the Huntress fountain in the Rose Garden tried to reach down to the water without falling in, but inevitably did. The white patches on its wings are caused by an inadequate diet of junk food while growing fast, causing a lack of black melanin pigment. Its next set of plumage should be all black.

Blackcaps were ticking loudly in several places around the Long Water, but as ever lurking in the leaves and hard to see.

A Wren dashed into cover from a willow and I got just one hasty shot of it.

A young Robin came out of the bushes in the Flower Walk.

A young Starling scavenging at the Dell restaurant was beginning to get its shining adult plumage.

More and more Black-Headed Gulls are returning from their breeding grounds.

A teenage Moorhen turned up near the Serpentine island. The nest must have been on the island, and I never saw the least trace of it. Moorhens are very good at lurking.

The nest in the stream in the Dell is still going, though only one of the chicks was visible.

But sad to say, the Coots' nest next to the Dell restaurant has been raided and was empty, with no traces of chicks or eggs. All that work to make the huge nest, and two broods completely lost.

The female Pochard was still on the weir.

Nick Abalov found a large green caterpillar crossing the path. He thinks it's a Lime Hawk-Moth. An Eyed Hawk-Moth is also a possibility. Both have that strange blue tail horn.


  1. Very sad about the Coots. Even if they can't and won't be stopped, they must have suffered a lot for it,

    I wonder what Greek poets would say about white Crows, even if partially so.

    1. Completely white crows are seen from time to time. I think the ancients would have viewed them as terrible portents of doom, as they did with anything seriously out of the ordinary.

  2. There are at least three or four peregrine territories between Bromley and Hyde Park - the chances of a pair nesting at Bromley and then turning up at Hyde Park have got to be negligible.

    Resident pairs can get very elusive at this time of the year, keeping out of sight of their young, which are increasingly far-sighted and strong on the wing. But if you keep a careful watch at the best times (early and late) around the old nest site and other likely spots - tall buildings and structures etc - there's a good chance you'll see either the adults or the juveniles pop up.

  3. This pair are most probably the same birds regularly seen at the Trellick Tower - only about two and a quarter miles away and easily visible once you get high enough. Unfortunately there is no provision for a suitable nest surface there either, and every year the birds try but fail. Perhaps the residents' committee could be persuaded to lay some gravel on the roof and other strategic points. Peregrines can be noisy neighbours, but no more so than other birds (large gulls, geese) and the residents of the Barbican and at least a couple of other London apartment blocks seem to coexist quite happily with theirs.

    1. Yes, I think any connection with Bromley is most unlikely. But I have thought for years that the Knightsbridge barracks pair were the same as the ones I used to see on the Trellick tower -- and also on the Metropole Hilton tower. You can see them taking straight line flights between these places.