Sunday, 31 July 2016

The young Reed Warblers are now difficult to tell from adults, but have a slight orange tinge to their brown backs.

Also, their plumage is much neater, as the parents are looking tatty after nesting. Both sexes incubate the eggs.

The holly tree near Peter Pan was full of Starlings making such a racket that passers by were staring at the tree wondering what was going on. Nothing in particular was -- they just like this tree.

One of the Little owlets near the Albert Memorial was calling from the top of a horse chestnut.

They are beginning to look like adults, with white spots on their head. It won't be long before their parents throw them out of fend for themselves, as has already happened to the owls in the leaf yard ...

... where the father was back on his favourite branch.

The mass of boats on the Serpentine on a busy Sunday had driven a lot of Egyptian Geese on to the Long Water, where they were occupying the posts near Peter Pan.

Almost all the Canada and Greylag Geese have fully regrown their flight feathers, and many of them were flying around getting used to their new set.

This is the brother of the dark Mallard drake I photographed yesterday, almost identical except for having more white on his front. Both have a white streak behind each eye.

A female Mallard was taking it easy in the willow tree near the bridge.

The Black Swan was at the Diana fountain landing stage, closely following his adopted cygnet. The other swans were giving him a wide berth, as he attacks them if they get too close to the cygnet.

This ladybird on a thistle is one of the invasive Harlequins, in the colour form that makes it look most like a native species. Others are orange or black. A spider has spun a web on the thistle, but the ladybird seemed secure enough walking around on the tips of the spikes.

A honey bee was busy in the marigolds in the wildflower patch behind the Lido.

Red squirrels are seldom seen in the park, and even less often seen texting.

Saturday, 30 July 2016

The teenage Great Crested Grebe on the Serpentine is doing very well on its own. It was fishing in the shallow water at the south edge of the lake, and caught several perch.

The Black Swan was beside the Diana fountain reed bed with his adopted cygnet, who was asleep. He seems to be returning to his obsessive nesting behaviour, and was picking up chunks of weed and throwing them aside.

Then he went under the bridge to the willow tree and started picking up sticks.

The lake was crowded with boats, and the geese were following them begging for food. The youngest Greylag goslings are irresistible, and got a lot of unsuitable snacks. They seem to survive this diet.

There are two of these dark Mallard drakes on the Long Water. The one that I photographed on 1 and 26 July has a larger white bib. Probably they are brothers. The white streak behind the eye is similar to that of the black and white Mallard drake I was photographing several years ago, and it is possible that he was their father, and the colour of this generation is reverting to normal.

One of the Moorhens in the Sunken Garden was enjoying a wash.

There were six Mistle Thrushes rooting around between the Serpentine Gallery and Physical Energy. It may be a single family, but they are quite gregarious birds and often feed together.

A Dunnock came out on the path near the bridge.

The young Carrion Crow on the Vista has still not found out how to shell peanuts. It gave me a baffled look.

So I shelled one for it, while it watched and perhaps learned.

The two Little owlets from the oak tree near the Albert Memorial were perched side by side on a branch.

The family were were mobbed by Blue Tits and flew off. One of the parents, I think the mother, landed in a nearby horse chestnut.

The male Little Owl of the family near the leaf yard was on the edge of his nest hole.

Friday, 29 July 2016

The pair of Mistle Thrushes nesting near the Serpentine Gallery have two young. Here is one of them.

A parent found a caterpillar for it.

A young Carrion Crow on the Vista was also being fed.

Between feeds it was making a terrible racket and flapping its wings. I gave it a peanut to quieten it, but it hadn't yet discovered to to extract the nuts from the shell. It will learn soon.

The three Great Crested Grebe chicks near the bridge were waiting for a fish to be brought. They are quiet when no parent is visible, and start begging as soon as it surfaces.

These are the grebe chicks from the nest near Peter Pan.

The Moorhens in the Sunken Garden are down to a single chick, which they were looking after attentively.

It hasn't been a good year for Moorhens, for some reason. The ones in the Italian Garden have also suffered heavy losses. That can be put down to gulls, but these seldom visit the Sunken Garden.

Both Little owlets from the nest near the Albert Memorial were visible in a horse chestnut tree.

The female Little Owl from the chestnut tree near the leaf yard could also be seen in the nest tree.

A Wood Pigeon was looking for ripe blackberries in the bramble patch east of the Italian Garden.

The Black Swan was at the landing stage near the Diana fountain, gazing fondly at his adopted cygnet.

This young Egyptian Goose grown is one of Blondie's brood. It was preening its almost completely developed wing feathers. Only a few near the leading edge are still partly in their wrappings.

A Grey Heron at Peter Pan had caught a large carp, far too big for it to swallow.

It could have pecked it to pieces, but this idea doesn't seem to occur to herons, and it was obliged to abandon its catch.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

The Reed Warbler families are frantically busy. One of the parents near the bridge was dashing around in the bushes next to the steps ...

... and in the oak tree above the reed bed.

Next to the Lido restaurant, another was in an olive tree, along with several youngsters calling to be fed.

The two Great Crested Grebe families on the Long Water were also very active. Both are still at the stage where one parent guards the young while the other goes off to get fish for them.

The parents change roles every few minutes. If one catches a fish too large for the chicks, it eats it at once and carries on hunting.

The teenage grebe at the island was fishing for itself. It caught three in five minutes.

A Greylag Goose was carefully preening its newly regrown wing feathers.

But the Black Swan and his adopted Mute cygnet were doing absolutely nothing, on the shore near the bridge.

The Coot family at Bluebird boats were interested in an outboard motor.

But a Starling preferred the clock at the Lido restaurant.

There was no sign of the Little Owls in the chestnut tree near the leaf yard. They were clearly not at home, as a Stock Dove was insolently squatting in their nest hole.

They may already have kicked out their owlets to fend for themselves. Little Owls grow up quickly.

I also drew a blank at the oak trees near the Albert Memorial. But there was a distant view of an owlet  high in one of the lime trees near the Henry Moore sculpture.

The patch of wildflowers behind the Lido is at its brightest, and is attracting many bees. Here is a honeybee on a cornflower.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

The Common Tern which has been on the Round Pond moved down to the Italian Garden today. The algae have now been cleared from three of the ponds -- a long and messy job -- and the tern can see that they are full of small perch just the right size.

I was right about the Great Crested Grebe family near Peter Pan having chicks. They have three. The family made its first appearance near the Vista.

The older family had moved towards the bridge, probably after a territorial face-off.

The young grebe from the island was fishing in a desultory way along the south side of the Serpentine.

Near the landing stage, the Black Swan was staring fondly at the Mute cygnet, occasionally uttering little squeaks to encourage it.

The lone Mallard duckling was at Peter Pan with its mother. It is now large enough to have a good chance of survival.

The young Starlings are beginning to grow their adult plumage. This one has a small patch of iridescent feathers on its chest.

A Great Spotted Woodpecker perched on top of the Little Owls' chestnut tree near the leaf yard.

The male Little Owl was in it. He was visited for a few seconds by his mate, who is on the right of this fine picture taken by Tom. Although she is larger than him, she is sitting lower.

Near the Albert Memorial, one of the Little owlets stared down from a horse chestnut tree.

Its mother was in an oak, hard to see with the light behind her.

One more owl: the people at Bluebird Boats are using this plastic bird scarer to keep gulls off their boats. Its wings flap in the wind, giving it an appearance of life. It seems to be working for the time being, but it is already beginning to fall to pieces, and probably the gulls will discover the deception before it disintegrates.