Friday 30 September 2022

A day for staying indoors

It was a windy day, and at the very exposed Round Pond the teenage Little Owl didn't feel like coming out of his comfortable hole.

One of the youngest Grey Herons stood on the edge of the Serpentine in a streamlined position to avoid being blown about ...

... while the parents displayed to each other on the island.

Starlings at the Lido restaurant made short work of the remains of a plate of scrambled eggs.

One of the Robins in the Flower Walk waited expectantly in a bush. This one is still nervous and will only come briefly to my had to grab a pine nut and flee. Then it comes back for another in the same way. The calmer Robin farther along the path has realised that this is a waste of effort and stands on my hand until it has picked up as many pine nuts as it can carry.

The family of Magpies on the east side of the Long Water has grown and there are now eight of them. They stay together in the family group.

An oak tree on the Long Water was full of Wood Pigeons.

The closest look I could get from the other side showed that they were eating acorns. They swallow them whole and rely on the stones in their gizzard to grind them up.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull was enjoying lunch.

A Cormorant evicted a Herring Gull from a post at Peter Pan before jumping up. There were several untenanted posts, but the joy of bullying couldn't be resisted.

Another Cormorant splashed down inelegantly.

Moorhens like to rest in patches of weeds. This one was making itself comfortable on the edge at Peter Pan.

They have taken to showering in the marble fountain on the edge of the Italian Garden. It seems that the fountain has recently been fitted with a new spray head that breaks up the flow into smaller streams, so it's now more like a shower and less like being drenched with a fire hose.

The Moorhens at the Serpentine outflow are still going down into the weir, where they nested unsuccessfully earlier this year. I don't know what the attraction is other than that it's a safe place to lurk.

The West of England Goose was on the Serpentine was with its new mate. I only realised after I had taken the picture that the mate appears to have blue eyes too. I will try and get a closer shot to make sure.

Thursday 29 September 2022

Nervous Little Owl

The male Little Owl near the Speke obelisk was unusually nervous today, and fled twice while I was trying to photograph him. This picture is the best I could manage at the second try, of him lurking in the middle of a chestnut tree.

This Green Woodpecker photographed by Richard Oxborough near the statue of Queen Victoria in front of Kensington Palace looks very like the one I videoed near the Physical Energy statue on Wednesday 21 September. They move around over a large area, so it's quite likely to be the same.

A flock of Long-Tailed Tits dashed around in the trees near the bridge.

The female Peregrine returned to the barracks tower after four weeks' absence.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull saw a crowd of Feral Pigeons clustering around someone feeding them, and tried running in and grabbing one. This technique is less effective than his well tried method of catching a pigeon napping, and he got nothing but a few feathers.

A Black-Headed Gull tried to swallow a piece of stale dry Arab flatbread ...

... but admitted defeat and spat it out.

The youngest Grey Herons at the island are still tolerated by their parents, though their appeals for food are ignored and they're expected to fish for themselves. They seem to be doing all right.

The older brood, though, have definitely been kicked out. Here one of them gets shooed off the gravel bank on the Long Water.

A Cormorant preening at Peter Pan shone in a sunny spell.

The single young Moorhen from the boat platform rested with a parent on the jetty at the Lido. Unlike their relatives Coots, they don't dive.

The newly arrived female Mute Swan that arrived in the Italian Garden a few days ago is making progress with the cross old resident male, and he will allow her near him when there is a prospect of being fed.

On the Serpentine, the ultra-aggressive male chased a swan that was just minding its own business near the island.

With at least 40 Pochards on the Long Water, they are currently the most numerous duck in the park. They line the east side of the Long Water, though sometimes they're hard to see under the bushes. It's good that these Red-listed birds have found a safe wintering ground.

Wednesday 28 September 2022

Little Grebe still here

The Little Grebe is still unobtrusively going around the Long Water. There was a distant glimpse of it on the far side of the Vista next to a Pochard, which shows how tiny it is.

A Great Crested Grebe was fishing under the balcony of the Lido restaurant. The water is still too murky for underwater shots.

A Moorhen enjoyed a shower in the marble fountain in the Italian Garden. You wouldn't know it was the finest Carrara marble under that coating of algae. Whenever it's cleaned, it gets just as green in a few days.

The two Mute Swans in the Italian Garden were only a few feet apart but not taking any notice of each other. This is the recently arrived one. Readers will know that you can tell the sex of an adult swan from the size of the knob on its bill. When I first saw this swan I thought it was a male with a smallish knob, but from the way two swans have been behaving it seems to be a female with a largish one. I think the resident male, who is very aggressive, would have driven out another male at once.

The gravel strip at the Vista is thronged with Cormorants.

Someone had been throwing down rolls beside the Serpentine. A Lesser Black-Backed Gull was pecking one enthusiastically.

Usually the birds here don't get very excited about bread, but these must have been sweet because there was lively competition for one.

Meanwhile, a Carrion Crow was eating a Feral Pigeon left by the killer gull without any interference at all.

A Grey Wagtail appeared briefly on the water's edge near the Lido restaurant.

There was also a Wren which came out of a bush for a moment.

Starlings preened on a chair on the terrace while waiting for a chance to raid a table.

A Great Tit posed among pyracantha berries in the Flower Walk.

The teenage Little Owl at the Round Pond looked out of the hole in the dead tree.

A young fox strolled through the grass on the edge of the Long Water near Peter Pan.

In the leaf yard, something had slashed the trunk of a cherry tree in several places and it was oozing quantities of sticky sap.

The royal cart is still bringing loads of flowers from the floral tribute for the Queen.

Tuesday 27 September 2022

Little Owl on a rainy day

There was a very obstructed view of the female Little Owl near the Round Pond in a plane tree. It was just starting to rain and she soon flew away to find shelter.

The familiar Robin the the Flower Walk was not put off by the drizzle, and perched on my hand to take five pine nuts.

The Parnassus Frieze of famous artists and architects around the base of the Albert Memorial has a small cornice to protect the marble from rain. Feral Pigeons sheltered under it. This one was looking at William the Englishman, the architect who completed the east end of Canterbury Cathedral in the 1170s after the original architect, William of Sens, fell off the scaffolding.

In a clear interval the Long-Tailed Tits that hang around the back of the Lido were leaping around in a poplar. 

There was a Chiffchaff with them, but I could only get a distant shot when it came out in a treetop.

A Carrion Crow drank from a puddle.

Another was at the top of the Dell waterfall pulling up the mat of algae growing on the edge. I don't know what it was trying to achieve, and maybe it was just playing.

A pair of Black-Headed Gulls displayed and called affectionately to each other on the edge of the Serpentine. For a moment they jumped at each other, but I'm sure from their other behaviour they are a mated pair and not rivals.

One of our regular gulls, EZ73323, was back on the notice beside the Serpentine where it likes to stand.

A young Grey Heron and one of its parents saw someone throwing bread to some gulls and decided they wanted some. The Lesser Black-Backed Gull with pale feet is one of the new lot of pigeon killers, but was only after bread at the time.

All the posts at the island were occupied by Cormorants, so this one had to stand on a moored pedalo.

Four more Great Crested Grebes have arrived on the Serpentine, and were sitting together as grebes do when they have just flown in.

There are also some more teenage Mute Swans, I think three of them as there were six young ones on the Serpentine and three of those grew up in the park. They are older than our local cygnets, which are not yet flying.

The male swan in the Italian Garden and the newcomer are learning to tolerate each other's presence. The male lost his mate several months ago and it's possible that the newcomer will pair with him. She would have to be careful about approaching this aggressive old bird, who might easily attack and even kill her.

A Mandarin drake on the far side of the Long Water was already back in his gaudy breeding plumage.

A Red-Crested Pochard drake was well on the way to growing his bouffant hairdo ...

... and the Shovellers are also getting brighter.

A surprise appearance at the leaf yard: a cart from the royal stables.

The huge mass of flowers still being laid by people at Buckingham Palace after the Queen's funeral is gathered up nightly and taken to Green Park to separate cellophane wrapping and letters from the flowers. It seems that the letters are kept, though I don't know what happens to them. There are also innumerable Paddington Bears which are given to charities if they are not too stained and soggy. The flowers are brought to the leaf yard to be composted; it takes three trips a day to move them all. There were three royal servants on the back of the cart, all dressed in sombre magnificence, hardly the clothes for shovelling rotting flowers but things have to be done in style.