Tuesday, 23 August 2016

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull was finishing off his latest victim on the Long Water near the Italian Garden, the first time I have seen him here.

But when I got to the far end of the Serpentine he had flown there before me, and was in his usual place near the Dell restaurant with his mate. He was still hungry (or maybe she was) and came ashore in a low, surreptitious posture before running at a group of pigeons.

But the pigeons in this area know what he's up to, and escaped in good time.

There is yet another brood of Moorhen chicks in the Italian Garden. It's hard to keep track of the two pairs here, but I think that each has had three broods now, and several surviving chicks of various sizes are roaming around the ponds. Here is one of the new chicks in the nest with an unhatched egg.

The Great Crested Grebe family from the nest near the bridge were having a moment of peace in the shade of the willow tree.

The Black Swan passed in front of the tree, going under the bridge to look for the adopted cygnet.

This was just the other side of the bridge, staring vaguely at a Coot which didn't like anyone getting too near its chick. The two swans wandered off together.

The Tufted duckling was seen this morning near the reed bed east of the Lido. But when I got there, mother and duckling had retreated to the island. I couldn't get an unobstructed view of them.

A flock of Mistle Thrushes flew into the rowan trees on Buck Hill for a meal of berries. They never stay in these trees for long. They cram themselves quickly with berries and then fly off to a taller and safer tree to digest them.

The pair of Coal Tits near the bridge came out to be fed. When photographing one of them I accidentally caught my own reflection in its eye.

One of the Little owlets near the Albert Memorial flew into an oak tree and tried to land next to its father, shown here.

There was a brief flurry and the owlet was sent packing. It landed in a horse chestnut, looking cross.

The female of the pair near the leaf yard was on her favourite branch in the chestnut tree just uphill from the nest tree.

L. Fairfax, who often comments on this blog, found the nest of a solitary wasp, Astata boops, beside a path near the Albert Memorial and sent me this excellent picture. (Boops rhymes with 'Co-ops', not with 'oops'.)

This picture by David Element wasn't taken in the park, but is too good not to use. A female Southern Hawker dragonfly mistook his leg for a tree and laid some eggs on it.


  1. Wow, that picture of your reflection on the Coal Tit's eye ought to be sent to National Geographic. Amazing!

    Love the Coot's determined expression: "You and what army?".

    1. Of course any close-up of an eye will have the photographer in it. It was clearer in this picture because I was sunlit.

  2. Ralph,

    I've gotten myself confused regarding the notorious "pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull". Is the Lesser Black-Backed Gull pigeon-eating as a species, or is our boy a one-off?

    Thank you again for your wonderful blog!


    1. Thank you. This gull does seem to be a one-off. There is a pigeon-eating gull in St James's Park, but it may be our gull on tour -- haven't seen it and can't be sure. You would expect the behaviour to spread to other gulls, but so far this hasn't happened, maybe because the pigeon killer is a big beefy bird and the others aren't strong enough.

  3. Amazing coal tit photo! And it must have been a real treat for David to have this beautiful hawker land on him as he had his camera at the ready. Lovely pics.

    1. So lucky to have a camera with a short lens at the ready. I couldn't have taken this picture, as the minimum distance with my lens is 2 metres, and anyway the thing is too heavy to work with one hand.

  4. Dear Ralph i am lucky enough to walk through all 4 parks on my way to work every day and i love reading your blog. Thought you might be interested to know that on my way home on the top of a bus a couple of weeks ago I noticed a great commotion from a black backed gull flying around and realised that it was trying to get at a dead or anyway badly injured pigeon on the pavement outside Harvey Nicks. Unfortunately there were so many pedestrians it didn't manage to land while i was watching. Caroline