Monday, 24 September 2012
The lake was alive with Swallows, impossible to count but there must have been over 200 of them flying over the Long Water and the upper end of the Serpentine.
There was also a smaller flock of House Martins, mostly at the lower end. While I was watching the spectacle, a small falcon appeared and the Swallows melted away in a few seconds; it was not clear where they had retreated to.
At some distance and in bad light, I could not see whether it was one of the usual park Kestrels or one of the visiting Hobbies. It didn't catch anything, and flew away towards Marble Arch, and ten minutes later the Swallows were out again.
Then two falcons appeared and one of them called to the other, the 'tewtewtewtewtew' call of a Hobby. So it was clearly the two adults hunting for their young ones, who would have been parked on a tree somewhere in Kensington Gardens. I had been looking for them earlier, but hadn't found them.
The seven young Mute Swans made a very brief flight together and came down on the water with varying degrees of skill. I waited for them to have another try but they would not oblige, although their father made several short flights as if to encourage them.
The number of Cormorants on the lake continues to increase, especially around the island where there are convenient places for them to sit.
Here is another splendid picture by Paul Sawford, of the female Kestrel in Kensington Gardens. The pair seem to be permanent residents.