Monday, 16 January 2017

The Kingfisher perched in the middle of the dead willow tree next to the Italian Garden. It was a bit hard to find an unobstructed view through the branches, but that also meant that the bird felt protected and could be photographed without hiding behind the balustrade.

When I passed the tree a second time, it was still there.

The newly found Little Owl was also in a calm mood, and stayed in the oak tree near the Italian Garden for several hours. He allowed me to walk right round his tree to find a good angle for a picture.

The female owl in the lime tree near the Henry Moore sculpture was also visible.

And so was the one in the oak near the Albert Memorial.

One of the local Peregrines was in the usual place on the Metropole Hilton Hotel tower.

It's 300 ft high, so you'd need a lens the size of a town drain to get a good picture.

The bird feeder in the Rose Garden had been taken over by Rose-Ringed Parakeets. A Coal Tit waited for them to go away.

But a bold Blue Tit came down and fed, ignoring the big green bird on the other side.

A flock of Long-Tailed Tits worked their way through the bushes beside the Henry Moore.

At the Lido restaurant, a Coot examined a crisp packet, as much interested in its shiny silver inside as by the prospect of some crisp crumbs remaining in it.

A Magpie was doing the same on Buck Hill.

The number of Cormorants on the lake is down to five. Two of them were perched on one of the reed rafts at the east end of the Serpentine, the one where the nesting Mute Swans broke down the fence.

Two swans flew from one end of the lake to the other, apparently in high spirits rather than because one was being aggressive.

The undersized Egyptian Goose was washing in its usual place near the Triangle car park. I've included a Coot in the picture to show how small it is. The poor little bird always seems to be alone, and ignored by the normal sized Egyptians.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

We may have a new Little Owl in Kensington Gardens, or at least we may have found one that was there already. This one was calling from a large oak tree with brambles round the base 100 yards southeast of the Italian Garden. It was small and seemed to be male.

It's possible that he's just the mate of the one in the lime tree near the Henry Moore sculpture, who was also out of her hole in spite of the drizzle.

But there was at least 300 yards between the two, which is a long way for a Little Owl to go from the nest hole.

The female owl near the Albert Memorial was also visible. She has the luxury of a sheltered hole which she can look out of comfortably without getting wet.

The rain had deterred people from coming into the park to feed the Rose-Ringed Parakeets, and instead of the usual Sunday crowd there were only two. That made the parakeets all the keener to be fed, and there were mobs of them in the trees at the corner of the leaf yard.

The male Coal Tit of the pair in the Rose Garden was singing in the intervals of coming down to the feeder. He caches most of the seeds he collects, but paused to eat one on a branch.

The local Robin was also coming to the feeder.

As anyone who feeds birds on their hand will have noticed, Robins don't have a strong grip, and it was having to flutter to stay on. The Coal Tit was nonchalantly perched with its vice-like grip, and a gale wouldn't have blown it off.

A small flock of Long-Tailed Tits was passing through the trees at the bottom of Buck Hill.

The white-faced Blackbird came out on a dead tree near the Italian Garden.

Rain is welcome to Blackbirds. This one at the side of the Dell was hauling worms out of the waterlogged ground every few seconds.

A Carrion Crow at the Dell restaurant was pleased to find that fish was on the menu.

On the restaurant roof, the pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull and his mate were calling affectionately to each other.

These Mute Swans were also in the mood, though it has to be said that the female was under age.

The Pochard--Tufted Duck hybrid is still in the Italian Garden. She is as large as a Pochard and the same shape, though there is a hint of a tuft on her head. She is intermediate in colour between a greyish-brown female Pochard and a dark brown female Tufted Duck, and has slightly vermiculated plumage like a Pochard. Her eye colour is also intermediate between the brown of a female Pochard (only drakes have red eyes) and the yellow of a Tufted Duck, and is a kind of marmalade colour. The white patches at the base of her bill are larger than those of either parent. This led to her being mistaken for a female Scaup by several people. She also dives as busily as a Scaup and spends more time under water than on the surface.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

The Kingfisher was back today, in a place where it could be photographed from the Italian Garden at only 50 yards' distance instead of right across the lake.  Hope to find it in the dead willow tree soon for a close shot.

The pair of Gadwalls were back in the Italian Garden pond ...

... along with the Pochard-Tufted Duck hybrid.

They kept very close to the hybrid duck. It is a busy diver, more so than either of its parents, and stirs up a lot of silt from the bottom, which contains small invertebrates that the Gadwalls can eat.

A Shoveller was speeding along at the east end of the lake, raising a bow wave.

A Common Gull was worm dancing in the Diana fountain enclosure.

Did they learn this trick by watching Herring Gulls? Presumably it's transmitted from one Herring Gull to another, since it wouldn't be much use in their original habitat on a rocky shore.

I threw a peanut to a Carrion Crow on the edge of the Serpentine, and a Coot ran in and grabbed it.

But it didn't know what to do with it, and soon the peanut was grabbed by a gull.

When young Herring Gulls get peanuts, they don't seem to know that they are edible either, and play with them. But sooner or later they will crush the shell with their strong bill, and the aroma of something tasty will emerge.

The white-faced Blackbird near the Italian Garden came out to be given a bit of digestive biscuit.

The usual Dunnock was under the feeder in the Rose Garden.

It's getting quite used to me, so I shall try throwing down some seeds for it. It has to realise that I'm throwing things for it, not at it. The Blackbird has already reached this stage.

There's no problem in feeding the Blue Tits ...

... and Coal Tits at the bridge.

When anyone they know passes, down they come and call for attention.

The female Little Owl in the lime tree near the Henry Moore sculpture was out, despite the persistent drizzle.

So was the female owl near the Albert Memorial, caught here when she paused in the middle of preening.

Friday, 13 January 2017

A shower of sleet in the morning didn't stop a pair of Egyptians from displaying and making the usual raucous din.

The female Little Owl near the Albert Memorial also ignored the weather.

Later the sun came out for a while, but the strong chilly wind kept up, and ruffled this Robin beside the Long Water.

On the other side of the Long Water, the Kingfisher was visible, though the light was poor at this time and it was hard to get a picture at this distance.

A Jay came out of the bushes to apply for a peanut.

Two Feral Pigeons were fighting under the feeder in the Rose Garden.

The local Dunnock sheltered behind a leaf till it was over.

A stripped pigeon caracase near the Dell restaurant showed that the notorious Lesser Black-Backed Gull and his mate had breakfasted. She was having a rest while she digested another heavy meal. When he turned towards her, the wind picked up his feathers.

The Diana fountain, deserted by people in the foul weather, was full of Herring Gulls looking for worms, drinking, washing, and looning about.

Customers at the Triangle snack bar have to run the gauntlet of an increasing number of Mute Swans.

The Pochard-Tufted Duck hybrid was on one of the ponds in the Italian Garden.

On the lake below, two Shoveller drakes were bobbing their heads to try to attract a female. A fight broke out.

When the winner swam over to the female she was not impressed, and shooed him away.