Friday, 24 March 2017

The Bar-Headed Goose paid us another visit. Here it is on the edge of the Round Pond. It's extremely tame and ate out of my hand.

The Egyptian Goose family made themselves comfortable.

But on the Serpentine, Blondie attacked a Coot which had pecked at one of her brood. She still has five, but in this picture the fifth is almost hidden by the Coot.

The family at the Lido are also in good shape.

The Mute Swans ejected from the reed bed by workmen yesterday were making a new nest outside it, near the Diana fountain landing stage. I don't think the new plastic netting will stand up to a determined assault by a swan.

The Long Water pair were together on the little island.

They have evicted all the other swans

The Red-Crested Pochards that were near the Dell restaurant have moved to the Long Water. Here is one near Peter Pan.

The pair of Mandarins on the Serpentine now trot up expectantly when I pass, and were rewarded with some bits of digestive biscuit.

One of the Little Owls in the lime tree near the Henry Moore sculpture was looking down from the branch where their hole is.

Although this owl looks quite slim and flat-headed, I'm pretty sure it's the female of the pair. The male is very small, and the main impression is of a pair of enormous yellow eyes.

The male Little Owl in the chestnut tree near the leaf yard was in and out all day, but I had bad luck and all I saw was him vanishing into the hole. But Virginia got this pleasing sunlit picture.

A Treecreeper on the next chestnut tree was splendidly camouflaged.

The new leaves are now giving camouflage to the Rose-Ringed Parakeets, which have been highly conspicuous all winter and could be seen a mile away by a hawk.

They were exploring nest holes, but I really think this one is too small.

A Dunnock turned up in a new place, near the southwest corner of the bridge. Judging by the fairly large area of grey on its head, it's a male.

A Wren appeared in the thicket on the east side of the Long Water.

So did a Long-Tailed Tit. From this angle its impressive tail is invisible.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

There was a new brood of four Egyptian goslings on the grassy bank at the back of the Lido swimming area. One was asleep on its mother's back ...

... and the other three were running around on the grass.

Blondie has lost another gosling and is now down to five. They wandered along the edge of the Serpentine, but she soon called them back.

The four young ones at the Round Pond have survived another night. Their father ran off to chase away some Greylags which were minding their own business.

Sometimes their mother also goes off on one of these pointless excursions, and it is then that the watchful Herring Gulls and Carrion Crows strike.

A short way off, a Carrion Crow was collecting swan feathers to line its nest.

The dominant Mute Swans on the Long Water have begun nesting on the little island that was made for them.

At the east end of the Serpentine, a pair of swans have smashed down the fence on another raft and started nesting in the reeds. They will relentlessly destroy all the plants on this part of the raft, as they did last year on the first raft, which was so thoroughly trashed that nothing has grown back.

The dominant male swan in this area chased another on to the shore.

The white Mallard and his mate were at the Dell restaurant. Over the winter the yellow colour has completely faded out of his feathers, and he is now as white as a swan.

The Great Crested Grebes whose territory is here were having a dispute with the pair from the island. and both pairs were circling in their low threat posture.

It was a windy day, and a Moorhen that turned downwind got spectacularly ruffled.

A young Herring Gull was playing drop-catch with a plastic packet.

A Grey Heron on the Long Water cleaned its bill with its foot, or possibly the other way round.

This is one of a pair of Long-Tailed Tits that are building a nest in a bush in the Rose Garden.

There are two pairs here, occupying two bushes.

The male Little Owl in the chestnut tree near the leaf yard looked out of his hole. But it was too windy for him to come right out.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Several Chiffchaffs were singing around the lake, hard to see in the bushes. This was the best picture I could manage, of one below the Triangle car park.

A Wren was also climbing around in the bushes.

It's much easier to photograph birds that come out to be fed, such as this Coal Tit at the other end of the bridge ...

... and this Robin at the Lido ...

... and a Jackdaw at the Round Pond, who had eaten one peanut and was expecting a second.

Other birds were feeding themselves. A Pied Wagtail was finding small creatures cast up by the waves on the edge of the Round Pond.

The feeders in the Rose Garden had run out, so the usual female Dunnock was on the path picking up little black grubs.

Also at the Rose Garden, three Feral Pigeons were bathing in a puddle.

During a heavy shower, a Carrion Crow decided that it wasn't wet enough and had a bath on one of the rafts at the east end of the Serpentine.

The tatty appearance of this raft is due to all the plants having been ripped out by nesting Mute Swans last year. The swans have now turned their attention to the other end of the raft, trampling down the fence and crushing the reeds.

However, that is a small thing compared to the devastation caused by humans. There used to be shrubberies around the terrace of the Lido restaurant, with attractive bushes that were home to a pair of Dunnocks, two pairs of Robins and a colony of Wrens, and which were frequently visited by flocks of Long-Tailed Tits. The bushes also acted as windbreaks for the people dining on the terrace -- the edge of the Serpentine is a windy place. Now all the bushes have been grubbed up. There is an architect's drawing on the site showing that they will be replaced by sterile beds of low cultivated flowers. So the birds are gone and the people will have their sandwiches blown away. It would be difficult to imagine a more destructive bit of planning, short of concreting the place over -- which was what the Hyde Park management proposed to do to the a large area at the bottom of the Parade Ground a few years ago, but luckily people discovered their plans and stopped them.

Two male swans were circling each other belligerently next to the terrace of the Dell restaurant.

One of the Canada--Greylag hybrid geese was eating young willow leaves.

At the island, the sitting Great Crested Grebe got off the nest, revealing at least one egg.

Blondie has lost one of her goslings, but still has six. I couldn't count them when I went past, as they were sheltering from the rain under their mother, but I was told later how many had survived.

The family at the Round Pond still have four.

There is now a pair of Mandarins on the pond, which have probably flown up from the Long Water.

No sign of a Little Owl today. They were wisely sheltering from the rain. The Mallards were back on the oak tree near the Albert Memorial during the morning, though they went away later.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

The Little Owl in the oak tree near the Albert Memorial has not been evicted by the Mallards, and was back in her hole today. Possibly she has chased them off, but equally they may just have decided that this tree was too difficult a place to nest in.

There was still no sign of the owl in the lime tree near the Henry Moore sculpture. The Carrion Crow in the nest at the top of the tree looked out for a moment.

At the bottom of the hill a Goldcrest sang in a hawthorn tree.

There have been no more casualties in the two Egyptian Goose families. We had a fright when we saw that Blondie on the Serpentine had only five, but later saw her mate shepherding the missing two back along the edge of the lake. Here he is looking after the family while she preens.

Here is a charming picture by Virginia Grey of one of the goslings on the Round Pond doing the meerkat pose.

On the edge of the pond, a Starling was foraging in the foam left by choppy waves breaking over the kerb. It seems that the waves bring up edible things that are worth getting soaked for.

A young Herring Gull on the Serpentine was playing an inexpert game of drop-catch with a stone, missing it more often than not when it dived in.

Africa Gómez' always interesting blog The Rattling Crow has a video clip of a gull that has learnt the full game, dropping the stone and catching it as it falls. It takes some time to learn this skill.

A Cormorant was fishing over the wire baskets near the bridge. It's unlikely to catch anything by poking its head into a basket, but this scares the fish out into open water where they can be caught.

On another basket, a pair of Coots were trying to bend the end of a long twig round and tuck it into their nest. Repeated attempts failed and they left it sticking out.

A Great Crested Grebe on the Serpentine was preening its shining white underside.

A Tufted Duck at Peter Pan looked remarkably iridescent in the sunlight.

A Mandarin drake chased another away.

This Honeybee had fallen into the Serpentine and was buzzing desperately. We tried to get it out with a long stick, but sadly it drowned before we could rescue it.