Tuesday, 4 September 2012
A pair of Sparrowhawks were circling over Kensington Gardens, calling to each other -- in fact I heard them before they came into view. They didn't find anything to eat, so they found a thermal, climbed effortlessly to a great height, and sloped away to the south. Often you find a sad circle of feathers where one of these birds has dismantled its prey. Usually they are pigeon feathers; apparently only female Sparrowhawks are large enough to take pigeons, and the solitary Sparrowhawk that I often see here is certainly female.
The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gulls have also taken their toll, and I saw the pair near the Serpentine bridge with a fresh victim. This sight is now so commonplace that I didn't bother to photograph it. There is no visible reduction in the number of Feral Pigeons, and indeed the supply seems inexhaustible.
Otherwise it was business as usual. The three young Moorhens in the Italian Garden have grown feathers to cover their indecently naked wings. Here one of them explores a wooden duckboard on the edge of the pool.
The returned Little Grebe made another appearance, too far away for a picture. There seems to be only one, though it is hard to tell with these furtive little birds. On the Long Water, a young Great Crested Grebe was sleeping peacefully in the shelter of a willow tree.
The Ring-Necked Parakeets, which have kept their distance recently, have started coming down for food again. Here is one of them dealing with an exceptionally large peanut. She was back for another within two minutes.
And here is another kind of dragonfly, a Red-Veined Darter, Sympetrum fonscolombii, perched on one of the iron posts that support the netting around the plants in the Italian Garden. It would not come over for a closer picture.