Wednesday 21 February 2024

Grey and drizzly

A grey drizzly day. A Pied Wagtail hunted among the puddles on the horse track beside the Serpentine.

The Pied Wagtails on the Parade Ground were not frightened away by the men laying turf. They are park residents and used to people working and not paying any attention to them.

The Redwings, not accustomed to such things, had fled into the trees and couldn't be seen.

A Blackbird sang on the edge of the park in a tree next to the busy Kensington Road, having to raise its voice to be heard over the traffic noise.

The pair of Robins by the Henry Moore sculpture were chasing each other through the bushes, flirting rather than threatening. One came to rest on either side of the path.

A Great Tit emerged from the Garrya elliptica bush by Temple Gate.

There was high demand for pine nuts to cheer up a miserable day.

The Coal Tit at the southwestern corner at the bridge is very shy and hates being photographed. It lurked in a dogwood bush.

A Coal Tit at the other end of the bridge was not troubled in the least by the camera.

A Blue Tit perched on the railings below.

A male Feral Pigeon puffed himself up and strutted around trying to impress a female. She isn't in the mood.

The Peregrines on the tower were soggy and depressed. I had to wait some time for the female to show her face.

The young Grey Herons stood on their nest ...

... and there was an adult in the west nest ...

... and the east one -- both herons here are quite pale.

The four remaining herons from the three pairs stood along the edge of the island, well spaced out to avoid conflict.

The male Egyptian of the Henry Moore pair was wandering around Buck Hill alone, but I can't belive that his mate is nesting again. After four weeks without much food she must be thin and exhausted and will need some time to recover.

Sad to say, it seems that the Egyptian gosling on the Round Pond has been eaten. I didn't see it yesterday or today.

The killer Mute Swan and his mate were on the Long Water without their teenagers. For some days the mother had been pecking them irritably, and it looks as if they have finally been thrown out as the couple prepare to nest again.

Tuesday 20 February 2024

Not just Redwings

It's not just Redwings that are taking advantage of the fenced-off Parade Ground. Among other birds there are Pied Wagtails, Starlings, Jackdaws, Carrion Crows, Herring Gulls, Black-Headed Gulls, Wood Pigeons and Egyptian Geese.

A Blackbird dashed around at the edge of the Rose Garden.

A Dunnock sang a couple of phrases beside the Henry Moore sculpture, just long enough for me to find and photograph it.

A pair of Long-Tailed Tits are constantly at the northwest corner of the bridge, and must be making a nest in the bushes here.

A forsythia bush by Mount Gate is coming into bloom, making an attractive background for a Great Tit ...

... and a Blue Tit.

A Magpie perched on the metal crown that makes an ornamental chimney for the gas lamps beside the Serpentine.

The female Peregrine was alone on the tower again. Her mate is much more inclined to wander around than she is.

The young Grey Herons had quietened down and were out of sight at the bottom of the nest. One adult guarded them ...

... while the other looked down from a treetop.

One of the pair in the nest at the west end of the island is always in place now ...

... and there is a new pair in the small nest at the east end. This nest isn't large enough to use, but they could always take over one of the larger unused nests left over from previous years to save the trouble of building it up.

A young Herring Gull payed with a rubber glove.

It's only when you see the pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Back standing next to some Egyptian Geese that you realise what a hulking great bird he is.

The Black Swan was on the Round Pond, temporarily away from his girlfriend and calling to her. When he saw me standing on the edge he came over, hoping for food. Well, grass is good for him and he gets more than enough rubbish from visitors.

The mahonia bushes in the Rose Garden are almost through with flowering, but there was enough left to attract a Buff-Tailed Bumblebee. Other flowers are beginning to come out so they won't face a shortage.

Monday 19 February 2024


Long-Tailed Tits are going around in pairs now rather than their winter family flocks. One at the northwest corner of the bridge inspected a sprouting leaf.

The Coal Tits at Mount Gate are also a pair.

The Robin by the Henry Moore sculpture sang a few phrases. He has a mate somewhere in the bushes, and the two are just beginning to notice each other again after their winter solitude.

The Robin in the leaf yard followed me for a few minutes, coming to take pine nuts. He was accompanied by some Great Tits which he chased away with even more ferocity than the Robin in the Flower Walk.

I only ever see one Wren in the leaf yard, but I'm sure there are others deeper in the bushes. Male Wrens maintain harems of females, each with a nest.

The Redwings were still on the Parade Ground, but as usual disappointingly far away.

Earlier than I'd expected, the young Grey Herons in the nest on the island have got restless and started climbing around in the tree. They can't be more than a month old but their growth rate is staggering: they are nearly adult size and have a full set of flight feathers, though they won't be flying yet. One of their parents was lower down in the front of the nest.

The pair of Lesser Black-Backed Gulls on the Long Water were on posts at the Vista. They often visit the raft where I thought they might nest, but have shown no sign of wanting to yet.

Pigeon Eater had struck, fed and gone, and a young gull was finishing the scanty leftovers.

This must have been Pigeon Eater's son, since his mother was standing a short way up the shore and would have chased him away otherwise. She would have taken her share first. (We're only guessing that the young one is a male because it's pretty big.)

The female Great Crested Grebe from the island was searching for fish hiding in debris washed up against one of the boathouses.

The young Moorhen in the Italian Garden, standing in its favourite place on one of the planters, is looking badly frayed in its teenage brown feathers. I looked up the moulting time of Moorhens and this seems to be in the summer, so it will have to wait several months for its darker adult set.

The killer Mute Swan has taken over the nesting island on the Long Water that was built for the resident swans that he murdered. His proprietorial air was upstaged by a Cormorant standing in front of him.

The last surviving Egyptian gosling on the Round Pond has made it through another day. Its parents took it to graze at the edge.

But it's sad news from the Egyptians at the Henry Moore. The female is down from her nest hole and she doesn't have any goslings with her.

Joan Chatterley found a group of at least ten Mandarins in Battersea Park, and here is her picture of some of them.

We haven't had any here this year. Maybe the Mandarins prefer Battersea because there are fewer big gulls, though you would have thought that quite a few of these must fly in from the river.

A squirrel sat on the post in the Dell where it sharpens its teeth by gnawing the aluminium sign, which is now badly eroded. It was eating peanuts which someone had given it.

Sunday 18 February 2024

A glimpse of two Grey Heron chicks

There are at least two chicks in the Grey Herons' nest on the island. Again, this is a pretty terrible video, but you can just see them preening. I don't think we're going to get a better view than this until they start getting adventurous and climb around on the branches.

The Egyptian Geese on the Round Pond preened on the gravel strip in the wind, guarding their last surviving gosling. A young Herring Gull drifted past with a hungry look in its eye.

There have been no further developments with the other Egyptians. The male at the Henry Moore statue wandered vaguely around Buck Hill, occasionally eating a bit of grass. Do birds get bored? I think this one is. Without his mate he has no enjoyable displaying and shouting on a treetop.

The male at the Italian Garden, preening on the submerged wall of the old water filter, was annoyed by a Cormorant fishing next to him.

The Great Crested Grebes from the Serpentine island were fishing near the lake outflow. The male has a distinctively dark face.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Gull's mate, as immaculate as him, was loafing around by the Dell restaurant.

The female Peregrine was on the tower by herself.

Usually the Redwings stay in the shadows under their tree, ready to flee into the branches at the slightest sign of danger, but today one of them came out into the sunlight.

A Jay by the Italian Garden swooped down to grab a peanut from my hand and ate it on a branch.

A Magpie at the Triangle was expecting one.

One of the very shy Blackbirds in the Rose Garden was safe on a high branch but still nervous. Attempts to charm them with raisins have had no effect.

A pair of Great Tits here are now regular customers for pine nuts and follow me around.

At Mount Gate a Blue Tit ...

... a Coal Tit ...

... and a Long-Tailed Tit looked down from the trees.

There was plenty of time to film this Buff-Tailed Bumblebee on a paperbush in the Dell as it spent at least ten minutes on one flower, feeding from one floret after another.