Sunday, 23 September 2012
Lovely weather for ducks, as my grandmother used to say when it rained non-stop.
But at least there is some interesting news: two juvenile Hobbies being fed by their parents. They were right at the top of a lime tree a short distance north of the Physical Energy statue. If you enter 51.507674,-0.17852 in Google Maps you will see where they were spotted. On the ground you walk from Physical Energy towards the Speke obelisk, and it is the third lime tree on the right (the first tree is not a lime, and doesn't count). Since the Hobbies have not been seen until a couple of days ago, and the first sighting was several hundred yards away by the Diana playground, it seems probable that the nest was outside the park, and the family is just coming in to feed.
There were about 40 Swallows hunting over the Serpentine, no doubt pausing for a good feed on their way southeast. The rain had brought the insects down to a few inches above the surface, so the birds were whizzing around at ankle height and it was difficult to be certain that they were all Swallows, but I think they were.
The Red Crested Pochards are emerging from eclipse, and a male on the Long Water was already looking quite smart, though he was too far away for a picture. As the ducks get into their winter plumage, the small group of very pale mallards that live on the Serpentine become distinct from the others. This is one of the palest. Others are more normal, but their iridescent heads are dark red rather than green.
Near the outflow of the Serpentine a second-year Herring Gull enjoys an unexpected treat.
And a young Great Crested Grebe makes a brief visit to the shore, not really a place for a bird that can hardly walk.