Sunday, 7 August 2022

Cetti's Warbler

Neil scored a photographic coup in getting a good picture of a young Cetti's Warbler on the east side of the Long Water.

These shy and elusive birds are notoriously hard to photograph, even in places like Rainham Marshes where there are a lot of them. There are very few in the park.

Another picture by Neil, of a male Chaffinch near the Serpentine Gallery prettily lit by sunlight reflecting up from the dry yellow grass.

My picture of a Great Tit in the Flower Walk taking a piece of cheese from Neil's hand.

A Feral Pigeon sunbathed under the Henry Moore sculpture.

Stock Doves perched in a treetop.

Wood Pigeons gorged on elderberries.

The Little Owls are becoming harder to see and any picture I get now may be the last one this year. The leaves are falling from their chestnut and horse chestnut trees and they will be moving to leafier trees where they are hard to find. Also the young owls will soon be kicked out to fend for themselves. Today, on a second visit to the family at the Round Pond, I was lucky enough to find one of the owlets in a hole that they sometimes use. It was dozing but sleepily opened one yellow eye when it heard me rustling through the dead leaves below.

The female Peregrine on the tower was also dozing.

A Cormorant preened at Peter Pan, looking very shiny in the sunlight.

On the far side of the lake all was serene on the Great Crested Grebes' nest.

A Grey Heron climbed into the Mute Swans' nesting island, to the disgust of the male swan who was having a rest with one of the cygnets.

Meanwhile the female swan pushed the Coots off their nest under the fountain.

Greylag Geese fed in the shade of the trees. There is still some nourishment to be had from the parched grass.

The algae clogging the fountain pools in the Italian Garden at least provide food for the carp.

A pair of Red-Eyed Damselflies mated on a mat of algae. While the male gripped the female she was laying eggs.

A rival male buzzed the couple.

Saturday, 6 August 2022

Robin singing again

A couple of cooler days have brought the small birds in the Flower Walk back out of hiding, though lack of rain remains a problem and they have to depend on the bird bath for their drinking water. A Robin, looking tatty after breeding for a second time, even sang a couple of phrases after its midsummer silence.

A young Robin, evidently its offspring, hopped around in the flower bed below.

The dependable Coal Tit came out to be fed ...

... as did a horde of Great Tits.

A Long-Tailed Tit perched in the red-leafed cherry tree, which has dropped most of its leaves because of the drought.

The young Blackbird here must be working hard to find enough insects to satisfy its hunger. The dry ground doesn't offer any worms. Luckily Blackbirds are omnivorous and there are already berries on some of the shrubs in the Flower Walk.

The Kingfisher is still on the Long Water but was only distantly visible from the far side.

One Little owlet could be seen beside the Round Pond ...

... and another at the Serpentine Gallery, but neither of them would pose for a good picture.

The female Peregrine was on the tower.

A pair of Grey Herons are still undecided about whether or not to nest in a tree near the bridge, well away from the heronry on the island. They often perch and preen here, and have started and then abandoned a nest, and I've even seen them mating, but they hesitate to commit themselves. It will be too late soon.

The single young Moorhen was at the island, looking at the top of a post it was about to jump up on.

The hot weather has made the Serpentine a mass of algae. A Greylag Goose inspected a thick patch.

Canadas scooped it off the surface, looking like a big version of Shoveller Ducks.

There are still lots of Meadow Brown butterflies, the commonest species in the park.

Friday, 5 August 2022


A Kingfisher appeared on the Long Water. We seldom see them in the park, and this is the first sighting since January 2021.

A young Blackbird ate a windfall plum near Peter Pan.

A Blue Tit ...

... and a young Great Tit hopped around in the shade of a yew tree in the leaf yard.

Long-Tailed Tits hunted in a holly tree beside the Long Water.

A Jay and a Magpie uneasily shared a branch.

Two Rose-Ringed Parakeets ate an apple on the railings.

A Starling scavenged a bit of a chip at the Dell restaurant.

Both Peregrines could be seen on the tower at different times. This is the male.

One of the Little owlets at the Serpentine Gallery came out on a branch. They have grown up a lot since they were last seen.

An owlet at the Round Pond perched in their usual horse chestnut tree, which has a convenient hole for them to shelter in.

A Grey Heron stood on a fallen tree near Peter Pan.

A single Black-Headed Gull interrupted a line of Cormorants on the posts.

On the far side, the Great Crested Grebe sat on the nest.

The youngest two Egyptian goslings reclined beside a boathouse.

There were several female Emperor dragonflies in and below the Italian Garden, laying eggs on various bits of floating debris.

Thursday, 4 August 2022

How to annoy a Jay

A Carrion Crow sunbathed in the parched grass.

A Jay in the Flower Walk wanting a peanut put on an appealing expression.

Nick Abalov had come to the Flower Walk without any peanuts, and his picture shows the Jay puffed up and angry at not being fed.

A Wren perched on a twig.

A flock of about 20 Blue Tits passed through the treetops. You think there aren't many Blue Tits in the park compared to the numerous Great Tits, and then you see a lot at once.

Two Feral Pigeons ate flowers in the border.

Both Feral Pigeons and Wood Pigeons normally have a vegetable diet, but scavenging has led Feral Pigeons to become omnivorous, and this one at the Lido restaurant happily eats fish. The Wood Pigeons, closer to wild birds, stick to the chips.

In the Italian Garden a bronze pigeon resisted being pushed off the duckboard by another pigeon that wanted to come down for a drink.

One of the Little owlets at the Round Pond could be seen in the top of their usual horse chestnut tree, though the only unobstructed angle was looking directly into the sun.

A second owlet quickly dodged into a hole. But when I came back later it had emerged and looked down sleepily.

I didn't see their mother today. Here is a good picture of her by Tom.

Both Peregrines were on the barracks tower.

One of the Moorhens nesting in the Dell stream builds up its second nest. The two chicks are hidden in the reeds. Moorhens often make more nests after they have bred, and this one is in a more sheltered and safer place than the first.

The main danger here is from the resident Grey Heron, one of last year's young birds, which likes to stand on the small waterfall. In this picture the Moorhens' first nest is in the foreground and the second one at top right.

A Greylag Goose was guarding two teenagers. The young geese weren't hatched in the park, a dangerous place for goslings because of the numerous Herring Gulls on the Serpentine. The geese have learnt to breed elsewhere and bring in their young as soon as they can fly.

A Hornet Hoverfly perched on a fallen leaf.

A male Brimstone butterfly fed on a white buddleia blossom, its yellow wings folded to reveal only the green underside that makes it look like a leaf.

Tom took this picture of a Clouded Yellow at Rainham Marshes. Unlike a Brimstone it has yellow on both surfaces of its wings.