Friday 30 June 2023

Young birds everywhere

A family of Coal Tits bustled around in the Chinese Water Fir beside the Serpentine outflow. Here are two of the young ones.

The dead tree near the southwest corner of the bridge was also busy with a young Blue Tit ...

... and two young Great Tits.

Long-Tailed Tits were working through the next tree. This is a fledgling.

A young Blackbird landed in a tree on the other side of the Long Water.

The young Carrion Crow at the Italian Garden is growing up and its blue-grey eyes are changing to dark brown.

It was too windy for the Little Owls at the Round Pond to be out, but there was a view of an owlet by the more sheltered Serpentine Gallery.

Mark Williams got a fine shot of a Robin in St James's Park carrying an insect for its fledglings.

Feral Pigeons find Green Alkanet delicious. This is the third time I've seen one eating the leaves.

A Magpie was not concerned with the memory of Rudolf Steiner. It wanted a peanut.

The male Peregrine was by himself on the tower, hunkered down against the wind.

A Grey Heron preened on a dead tree to the song of a Wren and a Blackcap.

Black-Headed Gulls have returned in force, and there were 18 on the posts at Peter Pan, along with a heron.

The younger brood of Coots in the Italian Garden have managed to cross to the northeast pool, jumping up two foot-high kerbs on their way.

But that's nothing to this trek. Jon Ferguson tells me that the Mute Swan with one cygnet on the Round Pond is the one that nested in the reed bed below the Diana fountain, ring number 4DVP. They must have left to escape bullying by the dominant Serpentine pair with six cygnets, making a journey of almost a mile overland through hostile terrain full of foxes.

I thought we'd lost the single Mandarin duckling, but this morning it was back with its mother in their usual place beside the Serpentine. It's quite fearless, and at 0:04 you see it shooing an adult Mallard.

The four Mallard ducklings are now strapping teenagers and will be able to fly soon. The fourth was a bit farther along the shore.

It wasn't a good day for insects, but there was a sight of a Honeybee on a Meadow Cranesbill flower.

Thursday 29 June 2023

Cygnet on the Round Pond

A family of Blue Tits bounced around in a bush on the edge of the Rose Garden. This is one of the young ones.

Lower down there was a family of Wrens. Again, this is a young one.

They were dashing wildly all over the place.

At the Round Pond, one Little owlet appeared in the morning ...

... and both of them in the afternoon, perched together high in a horse chestnut.

The other male owl at the Serpentine Gallery was on guard defending his owlets. He shifted around and preened nervously. I couldn't even see the owlets today, but he knew where he had put them.

We're hardly seeing the females of either family, but this was the case last year too. Presumably they come out in the evening to help with finding food for their young.

This is the young Magpie that was rescued, and is now absolutely accustomed to being looked after by its saviour, whose hair it was busy messing up. She told me that she had had it for three weeks after finding it fallen out the the nest. It already rules her two dogs.

Another Magpie was bathing in the Dell.

The Peregrines on the tower were more friendly today, and were actually looking at each other.

The Great Crested Grebes on the Long Water were maintaining their nest.

A grebe was guarding the stolen Coot nest at the Serpentine outflow.

A half-grown Moorhen chick wandered around on the shore by the island. I was worried for its safety, but after a while its mother arrived to take care of it.

Astonishingly, a Mute Swan has managed to hatch a single cygnet on the Round Pond. She must have remained unnoticed by anyone among the waterfowl on the gravel strip for five or six weeks.

Mark Williams reports that the captive Shelducks in St James's Park have bred, but they already seem to have lost all their ducklings except one.

A Marbled White butterfly sped all over the Rose Garden with me in pursuit, but finally it consented to perch in a bush so that I could photograph it.

A Buff-Tailed Bumblebee was hard at work in the clump of eryngium at the Lido.

Wednesday 28 June 2023

Young crow tries to deal with a peanut

Young Carrion Crows have to learn how to shell peanuts, which they do by watching their parents and then by trial and error. This one in the Italian Garden fountains nearly managed to do it, but lost patience and gave up.

Having tried and failed, it went back to a parent and begged loudly to be fed.

The male Little Owl at the Round Pond was in the dead tree outside the hole in the sawn-off branch.

He was in  a tolerant mood and allowed me to film him preening.

I didn't come very close to this owlet at the Serpentine Gallery ...

... but I was still warned off by its fiercely protective father.

The Peregrines on the tower had reverted to their old distant ways and were preening on either side of the central division, out of sight of each other.

A family of Long-Tailed Tits passed through the trees at the east end of the Lido. The young ones are beginning to look more like adults.

There aren't usually many Lesser Black-Backed Gulls on the lake, but there was a little band of them perched on the pedalos.

The pigeon eater's mate was enjoying her share of the latest kill.

A Herring Gull snatched the end of a baguette which someone had thrown to the Canada Geese.

The male Great Crested Grebe was guarding the stolen nest at the Serpentine outflow in case a Coot should want to reclaim it.

While all the other pairs of Mute Swans have lost some cygnets, the ultra-aggressive dominant pair on the Serpentine have kept their six, which are now growing fast.

The oldest Greylag Goslings are now adult-size teenagers.

The youngest has a long way to go.

I think this moth seen behind the Albert Memorial is a Dark Arches, Apamea monoglypha.

A bee a short way off seems to be a Megachile species, but I can't find one with this orange tuft on the tip of the abdomen. Update: the orange is probably a bit of pollen it has picked up.

The pomegranate bush near the Big Bird statue is in flower. The top flower is already developing into a fruit.

Tuesday 27 June 2023

Owls aplenty

The adult male Little Owl at the Serpentine Gallery perched with one of his owlets before flying off. and there was also a view of the other owlet in the next tree.

The male Little Owl at the Round Pond was on the dead tree. I didn't see the owlets ...

... but two days ago Virginia got some fine pictures of him with an owlet ...

... and the two owlets together.

Mark Williams took this pleasing shot of two young Starlings finishing off a bowl of coup at the Lido restaurant ...

... and another of something very odd: a woman taking a young Magpie for a walk on a lead. She must have rescued it, but couldn't be asked as she had a phone glued to her ear. She also had two dogs, but if the Magpie survives it will rule them effortlessly.

A Jay beside the Long Water was shedding a wing feather, but this didn't impede it as it swooped town to grab a peanut from my fingers. Like most birds they moult their flight feathers one at a time.

It's only water birds that moult them all at once and are flightless for several weeks. The Black Swan is in this situation. He was resting on the edge of the Serpentine.

The Mute Swan from the nest by the Diana reed bed was on the other side of the lake contemplating her single cygnet. It looks pathetic in this picture, but soon got up and moved around briskly.

The sole surviving cygnet on the island is now growing well.

The seven Egyptian goslings and their parents were sprawled carelessly all over the path. They are not worried by people, but if a dog appears in the distance they are alert enough and run for the water.

An intense stare from a Red Crested Pochard drake.

The Great Crested Grebes that took over the Coots' nest at the Serpentine outflow were still in possession. But they found the nest uncomfortably high to climb on to. Duncan Campbell photographed one trying to mate, and falling off.

So today they have pulled some of the nest down and covered it with weed to make the sloppy mess they are used to.

The nest at the Diana fountain reed bed, built from scratch by grebes, is even sloppier. I am always worried that these things will fall to bits.

The first Black-Headed Gull has returned and was on a post at Peter Pan. The picture shows the foolishness of calling them 'black-headed', but we're stuck with the name.

A fine close-up by Duncan: a Hornet Hoverfly, Volucella zonaria.