It was time to go around the lake for my monthly bird count. Late summer is not a time for exciting discoveries, and the only notable departure from normal was that most of the park's Coots had for some reason moved to the Long Water, where 96 of them were milling around in the centre of the lake. I couldn't see what had caused the move. There are a lot of pedalos and rowing boats on the Serpentine, but Coots are generally indifferent to these.
The Mandarin on the Long Water still has her four ducklings, and today was joined by three females and a male. Mandarins fly in and out from the nearby Regent's Canal where many of them nest. They also disappear off the lake into the bushes, so you never know how many of them you are going to see.
The Mallard on the pond in the Italian Garden is also still holding on to her four. Here they are resting peacefully on a floating duckboard. Their mother was on the other end of the board keeping an eye on them.
A large flock of Long-Tailed Tits, at least 50 of them plus some acompanying Blue Tits, swept across the Flower Walk in front of me, settled in a bush and uttered the purring noise that they make when they are feeding. The young ones are now long out of the nest and completely independent, so the birds can move around in clans rather than as individual families. They will stay in these large groups through the autumn and winter until it is time to nest again, and even then they will be quite gregarious and sometimes even share the care of their young.
A boisterous family of Carrion Crows -- not the familiar Charlie and Melissa, a different lot -- has taken to visiting the Italian Garden. There are three youngsters.
Here an adult is standing protectively on a biscuit, and a young crow is flapping and squawking to be fed.
Its parent gives it a small piece, which it doesn't consider to be enough.
So it waits until one of its siblings comes down and starts begging too, and then it reaches under the confusion ...
... grabs the biscuit, and flies away with it.