Monday 20 May 2024

Little Owls exchanging calls

The Little Owls at the Round Pond called to each other. The video shows the male, though he was more fluffed up than usual and looked as big and round as a female, but the calls identify them.

It wasn't possible to film the female, as she was  hidden in horse chestnut leaves. I got a momentary glimpse.

The usual Magpies were around on the ground below. There are a lot of them here. Thy don't seem to be bothering the owls, which is surprising.

A young Robin called from the corkscrew hazel bush in the Flower Walk, and a parent turned up with some food for it.

A young Great Tit near the bridge fluttered its wings and made scratchy begging calls.

Virginia got a dramatic shot of one of the Long-Tailed Tits in the Rose Garden arriving at the nest with an unfortunate spider.

I saw one bringing a Crane Fly and an unidentified caterpillar.

The young Starlings are out of the nest and following their parents around begging to be fed. At this age they are plain brown without the gorgeous brocade plumage of an adult. These were on the grassy bank at the Lido.

The young herons were lurching around the island, and also returning to the nest and clattering loudly for food.

Pigeon Eater, absent for several days, was back in his usual place by the Dell restaurant.

I managed to get a better recording of the mysterious bird call at the Triangle car park -- at the cost of cuts and scratches from milling around in the bushes -- and this time the Merlin app was able to identify it. It's a young Great Spotted Woodpecker begging in the nest hole, so in fact the nest in this video has nothing to do with it, and it's out of sight inside a tree. Compare the Xeno-Canto recording here.

A Great Crested Grebe preened beside the island. There's a pair here. It's possible that the other is nesting behind the wire baskets.

A view of the Coots' nest at the bridge, seen looking down from the parapet. One was sitting on the enormous collection of eggs, more than it could completely cover, and the other turned up with food for one of the already hatched chicks.

On the Long Water the female Mute Swan had returned to her nesting island with the seven cygnets.

The Greylag Geese with two goslings rested in the shade of a willow. In the background you can see the pair with one, and their Canada helper.

The male Egyptian in the Italian Garden, having nothing to do while his mate was in her nest hole, reclined on the balustrade.

One of the two larger goslings of the ill-matched four preened the emerging brown feathers on its wings.

The Stachys byzantina. aka 'Lamb's Ears', in the Rose Garden is coming into flower. It's a favourite with Buff-Tailed Bumblebees.

Sunday 19 May 2024

Young Grey Herons come down from the nest

The young Grey Herons have come down from their nest for the first time. One of them explored the island. It's not very good at flying yet but it gets around.

A Song Thrush sang by the busy path between the Peter Pan statue and the Italian Garden.

This is the second day I've heard this bird call in the shrubbery below the Triangle car park. The bird remains invisible and I'm not sure whether the call comes from the medium-sized nest you can see. I don't know what it is, and neither does the Merlin app. Can anyone identify it?

Ahmet Amerikali got a good shot of one of the Long-Tailed Tits in the Rose Garden bringing insects to the nest.

The female Little Owl at the Round Pond was in the small lime tree where both of them often perch.

On the ground below a female Magpie fluttered her wings, calling to her mate to feed her. Sometimes they do this for me, to get a peanut.

A Rose-Ringed Parakeet couldn't get into a Blue Tit box. The metal reinforcement of the hole is to stop woodpeckers from cutting their way in and eating the chicks.

The Great Crested Grebe chick on the Long Water was resting quietly beside a parent.

Last year the Coots' nest under the bridge had 18 eggs in it, laid by two different females who had an uneasy cooperation. It looks as if it's happened again this year. You can see 11 eggs here, with probably 3 or 4 more behind the Coot ...

... and two chicks have already hatched.

A Moorhen walked around the planter in the Italian Garden where the latest Coot nest is, probably deliberately to annoy the sitting Coot. The two species hate each other for no clear reason.

In the early afternoon the Black Swan was wandering round the Serpentine alone, hooting pathetically. Two hours later he was side by side with his girlfriend. Their on-off relationship is puzzling.

A stupid woman urged her dog into the lake beside a Mute Swan, which luckily was more than equal to seeing it off.

An Egyptian Goose was alone on the swans' nesting island in the Long Water. Is this the male of the Italian Garden pair, with the female now nesting in a tree?

The foxes in the Dell groomed each other, getting a light snack of fleas.

Two Brimstone butterflies courted on the lawn by the Henry Moore sculpture. The female is slightly paler. Originally I thought it was two males fighting, but I have been corrected.

There are many varieties of Salvia in the park, all much liked by Buff-Tailed Bumblebees.

The enormous flower bud of a Giant Onion, Allium giganteum, as big as a cricket ball, in the Rose Garden was just opening.

Latin dancing in the Hyde Park bandstand, a splendid way to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon.

Saturday 18 May 2024

Blue Tits in lamp posts

The Long-Tailed Tits' nest in the Rose Garden is at its busiest, with parents arriving every few minutes carrying insects to feed the chicks which are now calling continuously.

Two Blue Tit fledglings were part of a large family in a hawthorn beside the Long Water. 

A Blue Tit landed on a lamp post with insects before going inside to feed the chicks.

This isn't the lamp post I filmed yesterday: several of the gas lights in Hyde Park are used by Blue Tits. The posts have numbers: this one is 76, which has been a nest site for years. Yesterday's was 79. Both are on the south side of the Serpentine.

A slightly tatty Coal Tit in the Flower Walk has started coming to my hand. They're slow to trust you but when they do they're insatiable.

A pair of Reed Warblers are nesting  in the reed bed in the northwest corner of the Long Water. I got a distant shot of one arriving with a larva for the chicks.

The Song Thrush near Peter Pan was singing, but the Saturday crowds were too noisy for filming it.

Pigeon Eater and his mate were away again, and their presumed son was occupying his father's place on the Dell restaurant roof.

The four fountain pools in the Italian Garden now have a Coot nest in each of them. The first three have already produced chicks, but the fourth has only just been started.

The single Great Crested Grebe chick was visible across the Long Water at the Vista. The parents have done well to keep even one adequately fed at this time of year.

The Mute Swans had come to the near side with their seven cygnets to tout for food from the visitors. The huge and dangerous male stood on the edge ready to smash any troublemakers.

It was impossible to tell how the swans at the outflow were faring after yesterday's encounter with the fox, but at least the female was in place with slightly raised wings as if sheltering cygnets.

One of the two young foxes could be seen at the bottom of the Dell.

There are now four eggs in the nest by the Lido restaurant terrace, which were being guarded by the male.

The Black Swan was on the Serpentine by himself, hooting mournfully. Later he found his girlfriend and went over to her. She accepted his presence without enthusiasm.

The second pair of Canada Geese stood on the collapsing raft in the Long Water. They seem to be occupying it but have not yet shown any sign of wanting to nest.

The Egyptians with four small goslings were browsing at the edge of the horse ride beside the Serpentine Road. They have a hard time especially on busy Saturdays. Any time a dog is seen approaching the family has to cross the ride, the road and the pavement to get to the safety of the lake.

The big pink rugosa roses in the Rose Garden are particularly attractive to bees, which roll around ecstatically in the pollen. Here they are visited by Honeybees and a Buff-Tailed Bumblebee.

A Small White butterfly drank from an allium flower.

Friday 17 May 2024

Seven cygnets on the Long Water

The swans nesting in the Long Water, two of whose cygnets we glimpsed yesterday, have seven and today brought them out on to the lake for the first time. Here they are under the water spouts on the edge of the Italian Garden fountains.

The swans nesting at the Serpentine outflow have hatched at least one cygnet, and four eggs still to hatch could be seen. (They had six eggs, so not all are accounted for at present.) However, the nest was being eyed by one of the young foxes from the Dell, and the outcome is uncertain. The male swan, who ought to have been defending her, sailed off to bully other swans on the lake which offered no threat to him at all.

Four Egyptian goslings fidgeted beside their mother on the edge of the Serpentine.

The five teenage Mallards were lined up on the edge at the Triangle. There mother wasn't with them. They have reached the stage of roaming around in a gang.

The male Great Crested Grebe of the pair at the boat hire platform was looking particularly fine. They haven't claimed a nest site yet, but might manage it on the island which isn't far off. I don't think this is the pair previously seen at the east end of the island.

The single chick near the Vista was in the water beside the nest. It's still at the stage where it's guarded in a safe place while the other parent goes off to find fish.

The Coots at the boathouses were feeding two chicks ...

... and the pair in the new nest in the Italian Garden have two eggs so far.

Both Little Owls could be seen at the Round Pond, the female at the top of a horse chestnut ...

... and the male in a small lime tree.

A Blue Tit nesting in the hollow cast iron post supporting a gas lamp beside the Serpentine brought food to the chicks, which were chirping incessantly even when no parent was there.

Young Great Tits were begging noisily in an oak tree at the northwest corner of the bridge ...

... where young Long-Tailed Tits were also being fed by their parents.

This Great Tit perched on a sisyrhynchium in the Rose Garden is one of a pair that follow me around whenever I'm in the garden.

While I was there a flock of Rose-Ringed Parakeets flying overhead suddenly screeched and scattered. There was a Sparrowhawk among them.

The usual Grey Wagtail was hunting on the barred-off path near the bridge, collecting insects for its nest nearby.

A Song Thrush sang in a holly tree beside the Long Water.

A Brimstone butterfly perched on a red campion flower did a good impression of a leaf.