Saturday, 27 August 2016

This is the first day for some time that I haven't been able for find any of the Little Owls. I think that the owlets near the Albert Memorial have now finally been thrown out by the parents, and the one I heard calling yesterday, in a different tree from the usual close group, was complaining about being ignored. The parents, their duty done for the year, may now be anywhere in the general region.

A pair of Jackdaws were perched in the maple tree near the leaf yard that the Little Owls here often use.

But at least there are several families of Great Crested Grebe chicks to enjoy. This is the one from the island, today seen at the far east end of the Serpentine.

The Coots from the boathouse were diving to bring up food for their three chicks.

These two Moorhen chicks in the Italian Garden pond were pulling up strands of algae and sifting through them. Both have found some small black invertebrate.

A Grey Heron on the Long Water nearby was also carefully sorting out a very small fish from a strand of algae that had come up with it.

For those who were worried in yesterday's comments that the dead Lesser Black-Backed Gull seen near the boathouses might be our own pigeon killer, here is a picture of the pair alive and well and in their usual place on the Dell restaurant roof.

They had eaten as much as they wanted of their latest kill, and a Carrion Crow was standing possessively on the remains.

I couldn't find the Tufted duckling today. But when it's on the island with its mother it's often invisible from the shore.

The white Mallard drake at the east end of the Serpentine was flapping his wings. Although he is not an albino, he is at a slight disadvantage compared to normal coloured ducks because white feathers are less strong than dark ones, and liable to fray.

The Black Swan was on the gravel bank on the Long Water.

The adopted cygnet was resting a short distance away.

The white-faced Blackbird was in one of her calmer moods, and came out to take a piece of biscuit. I've been trying to make friends with her for months, but sometimes she just flies away when I approach.

A Starling touched down neatly to join a group on the weathervane of the Lido restaurant.

Cormorants' feathers have quite a beautiful pattern when viewed in the right light.


  1. There are a couple of videos on Youtube of coots beating up a gull in the water, one a medium-sized gull that probably died and another a Larus that had to limp to shore. And also a mallard beating up a medium-sized gull. Jim n.L.

  2. Good news for us (he may be a murderous b*stard, but he's our murderous b*stard), bad news for pigeons. You win some, you lose some, I guess.

    1. It gladdened my heart to see him with his mate in his favourite place on the restaurant roof.

    2. Well at least it seems he isn't trying to teach the next generation to do it. Jim n.L.

  3. Hi Ralph,

    I love photographing the parks Cormorants, how often do you see them sitting flat like this on the posts? I've not managed to get a shot of one in this position but would love to!

    Also, do you think their numbers will increase and good numbers of them start using the posts up near the bridge again?

    Kind Regards,

    1. The number of Cormorants in the park depends on the supply of fish. At present the year's young fish have grown enough to interest the Cormorants, so numbers are growing up. When they have eaten most of the fish they will return to the river, and the cycle will begin again.

    2. Thanks for this Ralph, much appreciated! How about them sitting flat like this on the posts?

    3. They do this quite often when the post is flat-topped and wide enough. I saw a Cormorant in this attitude today.

    4. Ah, thank you Ralph, really appreciate that and will keep an eye out for it myself! Kind Regards, Ben