Sunday, 4 September 2016

One of the adult Little Owls near the Albert Memorial appeared in an oak tree.

Their owlets have certainly been chased away by now, and no one has seen them for a week. Kensington Gardens must be absolutely stuffed with Little Owls now, and it is only a matter of time before someone finds another in a new place. There must also be some in Hyde Park. However, there was no sign of the Little Owl near the leaf yard. It was windy, and these small owls don't like that and tend to stay in their holes.

The wind also caught an Egyptian Goose preening on the shore of the Serpentine.

A Mute Swan has started sitting behind the railings of one of the small boathouses, the place where a pair tried to nest earlier this year. It was preening, which revealed rather surprisingly that it has only just begun to regrow its wings after moulting. All the other swans have long since finished and are able to fly. Perhaps it's sheltering behind the railings because it feels vulnerable.

The Black Swan was with the cygnet on the gravel bank in the Long Water, surrounded by a motley collection of ducks and gulls but no other swans.

Some Mute Swans had indeed come back on to the Long Water after yesterday's expulsion by the dominant pair, but they were all huddled on the far side, as far from the Black Swan as possible. Perhaps he has been chasing them.

Some Coots on the Serpentine were taking turns to peck at a wholemeal bread roll, but were making no impression on it. It must have been monumentally stale.

In the Italian Garden, a teenage Moorhen was looking after a small chick. It is one of the pleasing things about Moorhens that the older chicks take care of the younger ones, and sometimes even bring them food.

This is one of the second brood of Great Crested Grebe chicks from the nest on the island. They are now quite large and beginning to grow black crests, and were fishing together until a parent turned up and they rushed over to beg.

A Grey Heron was staring into the little pool above the lower waterfall in the Dell. There are some small carp here, but all the large ones are below the waterfall, having been swept over it at some time and unable to get up again.

A second-year Lesser Black-Backed Gull gave me a grave look.

At this age they still have dark eyes and look almost gentle, different from the cruel-looking pale green eyes of the adults. But that is an illusion: they are gulls, and out for anything they can get.

The Mistle Thrushes on Buck Hill arrived one by one on a maple tree ...

... before swooping down into the rowan tree to cram themselves with berries.

A flock of Long-Tailed Tits passed through the trees at the bottom of the hill.

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