Wednesday 31 August 2022

More Goldcrests

Another pair of Goldcrests appeared, this time in a yew tree in the North Flower Walk. Here is one of them.

There was also a Coal Tit. No surprise to find them together again, as both are very small insect-eating birds that like the shelter of evergreens.

Still no further sign of the young Little Owl at the Round Pond. He's now launched on his adult career somewhere in Kensington Gardens and we may not see him again. But the Little Owls have given us a wonderful show this year and all good things must come to an end.

The female Peregrine was on the tower again.

The two latest young Grey Herons at the island, which have been climbing around in the trees for some time, are now exercising their wings before they start trying to fly. They have to get this right, because once they come down they need to be able to fly up again to the nest where their parents feed them.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull was near the Dell restaurant with his mate ...

... and a short way along the bank the young gull which is presumably theirs was begging plaintively. They took no notice. It's a big gull now and can do its own scavenging.

The Great Crested Grebe pair at the west end of the island are already in their plain winter plumage.

This afternoon Drew Love-Jones the Wildlife Officer picked up a battered Mute Swan which had clearly lost a fight. We thought it might be the intruding male that nested on the gravel strip on the Long Water and was then ejected by the dominant Long Water swan. But no: when I went by later the intruder family were together by the Triangle car park ...

... and the dominant family were on the gravel.

My guess is that the intruding male is the big bully who usually harasses the other swans at the west end of the Serpentine. Frustrated at being thrown off the Long Water, and even more aggressive than usual because of having cygnets to protect, he vented his feelings by pointlessly beating up another swan that was just minding its own business. The victim in now being looked after and expected to recover.

The Egyptian Goose pair at the Henry Moore sculpture looked down at their own intruder, which is still stubbornly refusing to leave. They have settled down to an uneasy truce, which is quite sensible behaviour by Egyptian standards.

Geese, like gulls, seem to find ropes and cords fascinating. This Greylag poked and chewed the orange plastic rope of a lifebuoy for some time before sitting down to contemplate it.

A Pochard drake cruised by the Vista.

Clumps of pink stonecrop in the Dell are attracting a lot of bees, including this Buff-Tailed Bumblebee.

There are Speckled Wood butterflies all over Kensington Gardens.

Two butterflies outside the park: a Small Copper at Rainham Marshes photographed by Tom ...

... and Nick Abalov's head-on view of a Large White on a cabbage leaf at Down House in Kent, which is where Charles Darwin lived.

And finally two other pictures from elsewhere by Mark Williams, a House Sparrow at the Tower of London, where there is a thriving colony ...

... and a young Blackbird in St James's Park.

Tuesday 30 August 2022


Three Goldcrests appeared today. A smart one looked out of a yew in the leaf yard ...

... and there was a pair, both looking tatty after raising young, in another yew in the Dell. I only got a picture of one and didn't see the young clearly, but there was a lot of movement inside the tree.

A Robin lurked in a bush in the Rose Garden. The small birds here are as shy as completely wild birds, and even the normally confident Great Tits are wary compared to the ones in the Flower Walk which come out calling to be fed. The difference is that no one feeds the birds in the Rose Garden.

The family of white Feral Pigeons with symmetrical black markings like a Rorschach inkblot test is usually seen near Peter Pan, but today one of them had flown down to the Lido.

Both Peregrines were on the tower in the morning, but the male had left by the time I got there.

The two Grey Heron chicks -- if you can call these great gawky creatures chicks -- were milling around in the trees on the island.

A parent was diligently fishing to feed the ravenous young.

Great Crested Grebes were moving around the Long Water skimming just below the surface. This is a typical grebe activity. I think they are catching very small fish which can be swallowed immediately without stopping.

A Moorhen at the boathouses was building a second nest, as Moorhens do when their young have hatched. The blue sheet is a heavy tarpaulin used to make a coffer dam around one of the boathouses while its brick foundations were being repaired.

One of the three chicks.

The Mallard mother was nearby. She has lost another duckling and is down to four, but the young are now almost large enough to be out of danger from gulls and the odds are beginning to turn in their favour. Considering that most ducklings get eaten within a couple of days she has done remarkably well. She started on the Round Pond with seven, trekked half a mile overland to the lake, losing one on the way, and has been constantly attending to them on the dangerous lake for several weeks.

The female Mute Swan of the dominant pair on the Long Water was cruising confidently with the teenage cygnets next to the bridge on their newly cleared territory.

Her mate, his fighting done, was asleep on the gravel strip.

The pair are now pushing their rivals well beyond the bridge and down the Serpentine, along with their three cygnets. It seems odd that the rival pair, so tough in claiming territory on the Long Water when they wanted to nest, have now given up so easily. But they lack the sustained bloody-mindedness of the dominant male on the Long Water.

The West of England Goose which flew into the park to moult in June seems to have found a mate and settled down on the Serpentine near the Lido.

A stare from its strange blue eyes.

The long-lasting Verbena bonariensis is still in bloom in the Flower Walk and attracting plenty of bees, such as this Common Carder.

Monday 29 August 2022

Jackdaw in a bad temper

A Jackdaw protested loudly about a Magpie in the same tree beside the Long Water.

A Carrion Crow ate a croissant at the Dell restaurant ...

... and washed it down with a drink at the nearby pool ...

... which was also visited by a rat.

A Starling preferred a chip ...

... and a bathe.

Customers waited in the Flower Walk for their handout of pine nuts.

A Long-Tailed Tit searched for insects in lichen growing on a dead hawthorn.

An escaped Budgerigar perched in a tree beside the Serpentine. People often take a pet bird to the park so it can have a fly around, foolishly supposing that the bird will come back to them. It seldom does.

I didn't see the Little Owl despite three visits to the Round Pond. Rose-Ringed Parakeets peered into the dead tree through a hole.

One of the latest young Grey Herons at the island looked out of a tree, again nowhere near their nest.

There are two broods of Moorhens here -- two half grown chicks ...

... and three much younger ones.

A Great Crested Grebe was fishing near the Lido.

On Sundays and holidays rollerbladers gather in the park to show off their skills with accompanying music. Egyptian Geese honked along to the beat.

The Round Pond is a popular place for flying kites. Some enterprising people added a balloon advertising a festival of South African Amapiano music -- or perhaps several festivals since ama- is an isiZulu prefix denoting the plural.

Sunday 28 August 2022

Grey Heron chicks

I heard Grey Heron chicks calling from a nest on the island several weeks ago but then nothing, and thought they'd died. But today two could be seen and heard, and it seems that they're already exploring the trees as they were some way from the nest.

A heron on the Long Water stalked past a Pochard.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull caught a Feral Pigeon but lost it when a young Herring Gull barged in and tried to take it. Naturally he was furious.

The female Peregrine on the tower was shaking out her feathers ...

... while her mate could just be seen circling at a great altitude.

The young Little Owl is still spending time in the nest tree, and occasionally looks out of the hole halfway up.

Belinda Davie sent a lovely picture of a Song Thrush in the Flower Walk.

I only saw smaller birds here -- one of the tame Robins looking out of a bush ...

... and the reliable female Coal Tit, both expecting pine nuts.

Near the bridge, there was a better view of the female Blackcap I photographed on Friday lurking inside a tree.

A Chiffchaff appeared on a holly tree near Peter Pan ...

... where it was following a flock of Long-Tailed Tits.

A pair of Great Crested Grebes fished around an air bubbler in the Long Water. The silt brought up by the bubbler attracts fish.

There are three Moorhen chicks near the small boathouses. The Egyptian family didn't like them being around.

A picture by Nick Abalov of a flock of Greylag Geese coming down on the Serpentine.

A Common Drone Fly, Eristalis tenax, spent several minutes going over a wild mustard flower.

Another remarkable picture by Duncan Campbell of a Common Wasp attacking a Honeybee. Here the bee has already been stung to death and the wasp is beginning to dismember it before carrying off the parts to its nest.