Monday 10 July 2023

Common Tern and Common Sandpiper

A Common Tern, by no means common in the park, flew over the Long Water.

Another infrequent visitor was a Common Sandpiper, which Bill Haines digiscoped at the Serpentine island.

Otherwise it was business as usual. At this time of year ordinary small birds can be hard to see, but there was a young Robin at the back of the Lido.

A Little Owlet at the Round Pond perched on a horse chestnut branch where I've often photographed both its parents. The place is popular because it's sheltered but gives a wide view.

Its father, watching from the next tree, thought I was getting too close to it and gave a warning cry. I backed off, not wanting to annoy the good bird.

The male owl at the Serpentine Gallery looked down from a lime tree.

This Feral Pigeon has the original Rock Dove pattern with two wing bars, but also the 'Brown' mutation which restricts the production of black eumelanin pigment.

A Grey Heron had stolen the Coots' nest at the bridge again. The Coots don't need it any more as the chicks are quite big, but they like their nest. They were hanging around resentfully under the bridge.

The single Coot chick at Peter Pan was shocked to see its parents mating.

A pair of Moorhens stood on a fallen branch in a smelly mess of algae and sifted through it. They aren't fussy about their diet.

A Great Crested Grebe brought a bit of wood to the nest at the Diana fountain reed bed while his mate turned over an egg. I couldn't see more than one.

Four new Mallard ducklings came out at the Vista. There are plenty of ducklings this year, but the rate of loss is as heavy as usual. Still, four have made it to near adulthood on the Serpentine.

The youngest Greylag gosling goose-stepped briskly across the path by the Serpentine.

A Small Skipper butterfly drinking from a thistle was rudely knocked out of the way by another. I don't know whether this was rivalry or a failed attempt at mating.

There were also a Common Carder bee and a smaller one that I can't identify.

Duncan Campbell took an interesting picture of a small Yellow-Faced Bee with a Honeybee next to it for comparison. He says, 'It is a female and in another picture you can see white marks on the abdomen so it could be White-jawed, Hylaeus confusus, rather than the Common.'

The ambulance helicopter landed in front of the Knightbridge barracks, on the former site of the Crystal Palace which is now football pitches. As usual it was surrounded by interested onlookers who have to be shooed away before it can take off. Fortunately the McDonnell Douglas MD-902 Explorer has a blower instead of a tail rotor, so the worst that could happen is that someone gets blown over, rather than scythed to bits as would happen with a conventional machine.


  1. I still think coaxial rotor is the best thing since sliced bread!
    It's interesting how different the facial expression in the young Little Owl is from that of his parents. He seems awed and amazed by everything, with those great big eyes. His parents though look a bit jaded.

    1. Yes, there was a Russian helicopter with that arrangement which had its tail knocked off over Ukraine, I think in a collision with a drone, and landed under full control.

      The adult owls can do that big-eyed stare too, but today they were a bit dozy.

  2. A good day with 2 scarcities. Think Bill sent out a photo of the Common Tern perched to one of my What's app groups.

    Loving the bee shots. Can't really make out the solitary bee with the Carder.

    1. I've been hoping that the large colony of Burnet Moths at the Steiner bench would recover after their habitat was smashed last year by the ignorant management. But sadly it looks as if they've been wiped out.

    2. That is rather tragic, Ralph. Ignorance rules like the BBC scaremongering about Hemlock yesterday. Poisonous plants are everywhere!

    3. But nowhere do they grow thicker than in the foul corridors on Broadcasting House.

  3. Wow! The Tern is awesome! I wish I had gone to the park to look for it but I was busy. I might go on the weekend to see it. The skippers are also interesting.

    1. They aren't all that rare here, but easy to miss in a line of Black-Headed Gulls on posts.