Sunday 3 September 2023

A rare visit from a unicorn

The male Little Owl at the Round Pond was jumping around restlessly in the horse chestnut tree, but I got a hasty picture of him before he was off again. He gets these skittish moods.

The male at the Serpentine Gallery was on yet another branch in the lime tree and took a bit of finding, but at least he stayed in one place.

He had a preen.

Ahmet Amerikali photographed this rather yellow warbler near the Henry Moore sculpture. It looked like a Willow Warbler but you can see in this shot that its legs are dark, so I think it was an unusually yellow Chiffchaff. There has been a family of these in the area.

A dramatic picture again by Ahmet of a Cormorant near the Italian Garden catching a large carp -- so large that the bird had to let it go.

A carp in the Italian Garden fountains, safe from the Cormorant, had a big grin on its face.

A Cormorant on the posts at the bridge panted, fluttered its throat and yawned to keep cool on a hot afternoon.

Beside the long Water a Grey Heron looked almost like part of the dead tree it was standing on.

The three Great Crested Grebe chicks at the bridge were under the willow waiting for a parent to arrive with a fish.

The other chicks on the Long Water were also waiting. But all the chicks are getting as many fish as they can eat, which is a lot.

This is the Mute cygnet that its mother rescued from the murderous swan on the Serpentine by walking with it up to the Round Pond, quite a trek for a swan. It's rather small for its age but seems in good health. It has one leg tucked up on its back, a normal position for resting it but  it looks odd -- and you can hear a French visitor telling his son that it has a problem, but I put him right. On an adult swan the leg would be hidden under its wing.

The Black Swan on the Serpentine followed his girlfriend -- if that is indeed what she is, because she tolerates his attention but never follows him.

A Migrant Hawker dragonfly hovered over the reeds near the bridge.

There was another Garden Spider here. There seem to be a lot of spiders at the moment.

Ahmet got a fine shot of a female Willow Emerald damselfly on a bramble near the Henry Moore.

There are still some Speckled Wood butterflies in the Flower Walk, always a good place to see them. One perched in a dogwood bush.

Virginia took this remarkable picture of a creature seldom seen in the park, or anywhere. It was one of two brought in for a birthday picnic at the Queen's Temple.


  1. I hope the Unicorn wrangler is a maiden, as tradtion proscribes, I believe.

    1. Dictates, I mean.

    2. A unicorn is anybody's if you currycomb it right.

  2. Hi Ralph, have you seen the foxes today? Jenna

    1. Sadly no. Paul and I looked for them in the Dell.

  3. The day they learn that unicorns were actually rhinos, and maidenhood made not a lick of difference in not getting trampled...
    I've seen very yellow Chiffchaffs, vividly so, but mostly in springtime. I wonder if it is a trick of the light.

    1. The new yellow feathers grown by Great Tits and Blue Tits depend for their brightness on the quantity of yellow astaxanthin pigment they get from their diet of insects. So they go pale over the winter and brighten in spring. It may well be the same in Chiffchaffs.

  4. I can happily say I have now seen my first Unicorn! Another tick off the list.

    The suspense of the Foxes whereabouts will now linger with me for the rest of the week. I do hope nothing drastic has come about of them.