Sunday 31 March 2024

Two owls for Easter

A very happy Easter to all readers.

Surprisingly for a busy Sunday with grey and slightly chilly weather, both the female Little Owls were out. The one at the Round Pond was in a horse chestnut tree near the nest tree -- though in fact I expect the pair to choose a different nest hole this year, as the bottom of the tree now has a squirrel family in it and the top has a pair of Stock Doves, always serious rivals for Little Owls. If anyone finds them at what looks like a new nesting place, I would like to know.

The owl at the Serpentine Gallery was in a classic Athenian pose.

At Mount Gate, a Jay and a Blackbird looked picturesque in a blossoming cherry tree but in fact were having an angry and noisy dispute.

One of the Coal Tit pair is now always waiting for a pine nut.

The Robin pair perched on the railings below.

A Robin in the Rose Garden shrubbery had found a larva on a branch.

A Wren stood on a spindly stump by the leaf yard. 

A Blackbird sang in new horse chestnut leaves by the Queen's Temple.

A Blackcap was singing nearby. They are very hard to film, as they constantly jump around in the branches.

The Grey Heron at the east end of the island has been sitting in the nest for 34 days now, so something should be happening soon.

Pigeon Eater, who has been with his mate for several days, was alone. It seems likely that she is now nesting on the Dell restaurant roof, but there is no way of being sure without using a drone.

The Black Swan and his Mute girlfriend have settled down to making a nest in the reed bed just east of the Lido swimming area.

The male swan 4FUK, no longer dominated by the killer swan 4DTH, is getting more and more aggressive. He was pointlessly persecuting a group of swans near the Lido.

A pair of swans were making a nest on the grass by the outflow. Swans often start nests here but so far the attempt has never lasted.

No Egyptian goslings could be seen by the boat hire platform, but the single survivor at the Lido is still with us.

A Mallard has just produced 13 ducklings. They were beside one of the small boathouses.

The Pochard x Tufted hybrid is now a permanent feature of the Lido. He was dozing, but opened one orange eye for a moment.

The willows and horse chestnuts are the first trees to come into leaf, but now others are following. This is a wych elm near the Hyde Park bandstand.

Saturday 30 March 2024

Green Woodpecker excavating a nest hole

A Green Woodpecker pecked vigorously at a tree near the Italian Garden.

It was probably enlarging a nesting hole, of which you can just see the edge in the video.

A Carrion Crow held a tattered object which I think was the decayed corpse of a bird. Whatever it was, it was too rotten even for the crow, which gave it a few pecks and dropped it.

A female Magpie fluttered her wings and called to her mate. This display means 'Feed me.' She was making sure that he would bring her food when she was sitting on the nest, which they have built in a tree at the northwest corner of the bridge.

The old Grey Heron was back at his lookout post on the Henry Moore sculpture.

A Greenfinch sang on the other side of the path. It was hard to see through the twigs, but I got some kind of a picture.

There was a Wren in the same tree ...

... and another near the Buck Hill shelter.

The Long-Tailed Tits aren't too visible at the moment, since they have finished building their nests and are now sitting on eggs, and the chicks haven't hatched yet. But there was one in a tree by the Serpentine Gallery.

A Coal Tit at Mount Gate wanted to be fed, and was getting very impatient with being photographed.

Pigeon Eater and his mate were on their favourite spot on the roof of the Dell restaurant.

A Moorhen looked for small edible creatures on the lower waterfall in the Dell.

The Coots' nest in the dead willow by the Italian Garden is getting larger every day.

A Greylag Goose on the Serpentine had a vigorous wash and a flap.

The Egyptian Geese by the boat hire platform are now down to five goslings ...

... but the last survivor at the Lido is still holding on.

The Black Swan passed by with his girlfriend.

There's a young female Mute Swan in the Italian Garden, who has been there for three days. She may have been chased off the lake by the killer swan. She may in fact be one of their offspring from last year; the code on her ring is 4GIK but I haven't recorded the codes of the five cygnets. She can climb out when she sees a chance, but has to wait till the killer and his mate have gone away from the nesting island, which they are still doing as she hasn't laid any eggs yet. Meanwhile she can subsist perfectly well on the algae in the pool.

Friday 29 March 2024

Nesting Blackbirds

Today I went round the park with Sandy Sorkin, who photographs wildly exotic birds in Central America and elsewhere but today had decided to settle for the ordinary inhabitants of the park. It's useful to have two pairs of eyes so we got plenty of pictures, and here are a few.

A male Blackbird at Queen's Gate was collecting worms for his nestlings. They pull up the worms and leave them lying, then hop quickly around and gather them up before they can dig themselves in again.

He passed his mate, who was doing the same.

A hawthorn tree near the Italian Garden contained a pair of Blackcaps ...

... a Wren ...

... and a pair of Blue Tits.

Hawthorns are always a good place to find small insect-eating birds at any time of year. It seems that they have a lot of bugs in them.

A Coal Tit at Mount Gate waited to be fed in an unfamiliar bush. It turns out to be a new Zealand shrub, Griselina littoralis, sometimes called broadleaf privet though it isn't related to European privet.

The usual Chaffinch was near the Serpentine Gallery, and caught several pine nuts.

The bold Robin perched expectantly on a camellia in the Flower Walk.

A female Pied Wagtail searched for insects in the joints of the slate roof of a boathouse.

The Jay I saw yesterday at the Lido was waiting in the same place for a peanut. It doesn't take them long to catch on to a source of food.

A Grey Heron standing bolt upright in the reeds didn't have the camouflage colouring of a Bittern, but nevertheless managed to look quite inconspicuous.

The killer male Mute Swan left his mate on the nesting island ...

... and went off to gather reeds, looking oddly domestic for such a murderous creature. I thought he was going to bring them to his mate, but after several minutes of brisk activity he just left them and swanned off down the Long Water.

There were seven new Egyptian goslings at the Triangle.

The sole survivor at the Lido was browsing among the daisies on the grassy bank.

A Tufted drake turned upside down to preen his shining white belly. This is known as 'roll preening'.

A Small White butterfly perched on a fancy narcissus in the border at the Rose Garden. I've seen some in the distance in the past few days but this is the first picture I've got this year,

Thursday 28 March 2024

Wind and rain

It was a day of wind and rain. One of the Robin pair in the Rose Garden sheltered under a bush.

The other was on a branch above, looking rather gloomy and not singing.

But the rain does bring up worms, and a male Blackbird in the next tree was clearly impatient for me to go away so he could fly down and carry on hunting.

A Great Spotted Woodpecker also visited. The red patch on the back of the head shows that he's male.

A Starling walked along the edge of the Round Pond, looking for edible water creatures washed ashore in the spray.

Several Pied Wagtails were hunting beside the Serpentine. A female stood on the kerb with raindrops bouncing off her head.

A brief sunny interval brought out a Jay in a blossoming cherry tree at the Lido.

The young Grey Herons from the island have started exploring, and one of them was on the fallen Lombardy poplar on the Long Water at the Vista.

The heron at the west end of the island was standing in the nest. It does seem that they don't have any eggs, despite earlier signs of sitting. This is what happened last year in the same nest, a hopeful beginning followed by failure. But there's still a chance that they'll have another try.

Pigeon Eater had nothing to hunt, as the local Feral Pigeons were sheltering under the overhanging roof of the Dell restaurant. He passed the time by diving into the lake ...

... and having a vigorous wash.

A pair of Herring Gulls stood on the Diana fountain landing stage. The male yawned cavernously. That huge gape allows them to pick up a tennis ball.

It was business as usual for the nesting Coot at Peter Pan. The nest is growing daily as the other bird constantly brings twigs.

With no people bringing loose dogs kept away by the rain,  the Mute Swans can go up on the grass at the edge of the Serpentine and have a good feed. The Black Swan and his white girlfriend went with the flock.

The female swan on the nesting island stood up: no eggs yet.

Her ferocious mate could be seen in the distance chasing another swan off the lake.

The Egyptian Goose at the Lido brought her last gosling down the grassy bank.