Friday, 17 November 2017

The Black Swans have indeed moved from Hyde Park to St James's Park. Here is the long staying Black Swan -- in front at the start of the clip -- with a teenage friend, the largest of the four that arrived in Hyde Park a few days ago. We may have been wrong about it being male, an opinion based on its thuggish behaviour when it first arrived. The friend is larger, and was behaving in a masculine manner.

The other three teenagers were preening on the edge of the lake.

There were three Black Swans in St James's Park before. Now there are eight, and we haven't got any.

There have been White Pelicans in St James's Park since 1664. The original ones were a present from the Russian Ambassador. They have a peculiar fishing method of repeatedly dipping into the water with their enormous bills.

No visit to St James's Park would be complete without a picture of a Little Grebe.

Again, they have plenty of these charming birds and we have none. This is mainly because the St James's Park lake is stocked with fish to feed the pelicans.

Back in Kensington Gardens, a Cormorant thought it had picked up a fish on the bottom of the Long Water. But it turned out to be a twig.

A Shoveller drake looked magnificent in the sunshine.

The injured Egyptian Goose in the Diana fountain enclosure continues to recover rapidly, and is now only limping slightly. He will always have a scar, and maybe a slightly swollen foot. I am resisting the temptation to call him Oedipus. At least geese know who their mother is.

The familiar Robin in the Rose Garden was preening. He is now happy to be filmed because he knows he will be given some food afterwards.

A Great Tit shooed a Blue Tit away from a feeder in the Dell.

It was a good day for seeing Little Owls. The male near the leaf yard was out on a branch of his horse chestnut tree, though later he went into his hole ...

... because there was a pair of Magpies on another branch, preparing to harass him.

His mate was in the usual sweet chestnut. She too had had trouble with Magpies, and came down from a high branch to another one next to the nest hole in case she had to duck in.

The female owl near the Henry Moore sculpture had come out to the end of her usual branch, making it possible to get a better picture of her.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

It was a day to enjoy the autumn colours.

A Great Tit looked splendid against a background of yellow leaves.

A Cormorant ...

... and a young Great Crested Grebe ...

... were set off by tree reflections in the Long Water.

The male Little Owl at the leaf yard was enjoying the sunshine ...

... and the female at the Henry Moore sculpture was ignoring it in her usual way.

A Green Woodpecker climbed up a branch near the Queen's Temple.

On the other side of the Long Water, a Robin scolded another Robin that had encroached on its territory.

A Blackbird in the Dell found a patch of dead leaves that had escaped the gardeners' leaf blowers.

A Jay looked reproachfully at me because I had run out of peanuts.

A pair of Jackdaws on a chestnut branch had eyes only for each other.

A Herring Gull stared from a rowing boat.

A Carrion Crow had found a piece of boiled potato somewhere.

The paper cases of cupcakes at the Lido restaurant are always popular.

But when it's chocolate cake it causes a feeding frenzy.

But I couldn't find the Black Swans, although I went round the lakes twice and checked the Round Pond.

Update: Ian Young reports extra Black Swans in St James's Park.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

The four young Black Swans at the Bridge were joined by the older one, who had come to be fed. He let one of the young ones share his food.

The old Coot nest here is finally beginning to disintegrate under the pressure of ducks nibbling at it to find insects. The Coots are grimly clinging on.

They really didn't like one of the young Black Swans coming too close.

The white Mallard is losing the creamy yellow of his new feathers, and will be pure white again soon until his next moult.

The Rose Garden seems an unlikely spot for Egyptian Geese to settle in, but in fact it has a tree trunk to display on, a fountain to drink and swim in, plenty of grass on the lawns to eat, and mature trees all around where there must be a suitable nest hole.

The injured Egyptian in the Diana fountain enclosure was lying diown to take the weight off his sore foot.

But when he stood up he was visibly better, limping less, and the swelling is continuing to go down.

Across the path, a young Moorhen struck a pose in front of the reed bed.

A female Pied Wagtail was hunting insects in the enclosure.

Another was on the platform of Bluebird Boats, ignoring the boat people who were vigorously cleaning the bottoms of the boats. Birds understand that when people are busy they are safe to go near.

The pigeon-killing Lesser Black-Backed Gull was playing dead, hoping that a careless Feral Pigeon would walk near enough for him to grab. It didn't work this time. But he has plenty of other tricks.

The white-faced Blackbird waited on the fence for her daily handout of sultanas.

The Rose-Ringed Parakeets, so well camouflaged in summer, are now extremely conspicuous. Green feathers work fine all year round in their native India, but not here.

The Little Owl at the Henry Moore sculpture showed how to blend into an English background.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

The Black Swans have returned from the Round Pond to the Serpentine. The adult went off by himself, clearly wanting to be alone.

But his devoted teenage followers wouldn't leave him in peace.

Later they all flew past, with the young ones still following the adult. I was facing away and their arrival took me by surprise since, unlike Mute Swans, they have fairly silent wings, so all I got was a picture of their retreating backs. But it does allow you to see that the adult, in the centre, has pure white flight feathers, and those of the youngsters are black-tipped.

But I did see this Grey Heron coming as it flapped heavily down the lake.

A Cormorant was fishing very successfully in the wire baskets under the bridge. The baskets of twigs serve as a fish hatchery, but the fish -- mostly perch -- seem to stay there even when they have grown fairly large.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull yawned after another heavy meal.

There wasn't much left for the Carrion Crows.

Charlie and Melissa and their two offspring were near the Triangle car park, where there is a snack bar. A pickup drew up with supplies, and the delivery man carelessly left a box open. In an instant one of the crows was exploring it.

The old Coot nest near the bridge has settled into a mixture of hard packed mud and twigs, and no amount of rain seems to dissolve it. It is full of insects, which other birds dig out of it.

A Moorhen attended to its feathers on the edge of one of the Italian Garden fountains.

There is a pair of Coal Tits on the south edge of the Dell, attracted by two bird feeders hanging from trees.

The clouds thickened and by 2pm it was practically dark. But it was just possible to see the Little Owl in her oak tree near the Albert Memorial.

The owl in the lime tree near the Henry Moore sculpture was out for most of the day.

Monday, 13 November 2017

All five Black Swans have moved up to the Round Pond. Together they make a tough gang and can dominate the Mute Swans.

The injured Egyptian Goose in the Diana enclosure is recovering fast, and can now put some weight on his leg.

The marble fountain on the edge of the Italian Garden is surrounded by a semicircular wall which originally enclosed a water filter for the fountains. It is full of fish, and of course the Cormorants know about that.

A Grey Heron prowled slowly and stealthily on Buck Hill, despite a minor encounter with a Carrion Crow.

Another extended a wing to keep its balance in a willow tree beside the Serpentine.

An adult Herring Gull chased a young one which had a bit of food.

A second-winter Herring Gull, just beginning to grow some adult pale grey feathers, was drinking in the rapids of the Diana fountain.

A Grey Wagtail preened on a rock at the bottom of the waterfall in the Dell. This picture was taken from the top of the waterfall.

A flock of Long-Tailed Tits went through the shrubbery near the bridge.

Three Little Owls were on show: near the leaf yard, the male in his horse chesnut tree ...

... and the female in her sweet chestnut ...

... at near the Henry Moore sculpture, the female in the tall lime.

A visitor from the 18th century seen near Kensington Palace.