Thursday, 31 August 2017

The three new Great Crested Grebe chicks were with their parents under the Serpentine bridge, being brought fish.

Two of the young Mute Swans on the Long Water were rushing around flapping. None of them has managed to get airborne yet.

The Black Swan was preening under the other side of the bridge.

Farther along the Serpentine shore, a Carrion Crow was finishing off one of the notorious Lesser Black-Backed Gull's kills ...

... while the gull went in search of his next meal.

A Grey Heron landed on the roof of one of the small boathouses.

There was the sound of a Little Owl calling from a tree a hundred yards south of the usual chestnut tree near the leaf yard. It's a very tall horse chestnut next to the path that goes in front of the Queen's Temple. There are two large new patches running right across the tarmac here, which makes it easy to find the tree. Finding the owl in the leaves is harder.

A Wren was hopping around on the path near the bridge.

The strayed racing pigeon is still in the Rose Garden.

Above him, a Small White butterfly perched on a rose.

A Common Darter dragonfly was basking in the sunshine at the top of the Dell waterfall.

It took off and flew over a patch of bright green duckweed.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

It was a day of steady rain, but Grey Herons take no notice of such things.

The rowan tree on Buck Hill, so busy yesterday, contained just one young Blackbird.

There were no Blackbirds in the hawthorn next to it, where they usually congregate. They would have been on the ground looking for worms brought up by the rain. In their absence, a Robin struck a proud attitude.

A wet day is often a good time to find one of the Little Owls near the Albert Memorial. Their branch is not as good a shelter as you would think, since it's split along the top edge, and the place just inside the hole is one of the few parts that doesn't let in the rain.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gulls were on the roof of the Dell restaurant. The female had not washed her face after her bloody lunch.

The Great Crested Grebe family on the Long Water could be seen from the bridge. One of the three chicks was under the willow tree and wouldn't come out to be photographed.

An outboard motor provided a place for one of the young Coots to preen. Three of the brood at the Bluebird Boats platform have survived.

The Moorhen family near the bridge has been a surprising success, with five survivors from the original seven. Here are four of them with a parent ...

... and the fifth, a few yards up the shore.

The youngest Egyptian Goose on the Serpentine has been a sole survivor since it was tiny. It's now a handsome teenager.

The Black Swan was preening near the bridge.

The white Mallard was farther up the shore. I've been hoping to get the two into the same picture, but they won't cooperate.

A patch of duckweed on the Long Water provided a feast for a Mallard.

There's a new noticeboard at Peter Pan showing the birds on the Long Water, a much needed replacement for the tatty old one which was barely legible. This is the best photograph I could manage, since it's still fenced off while the concrete sets around the base. The birds are well drawn and described, and there is quite a good selection.

A casual visitor would be lucky to see a Little Grebe, and amazingly lucky to see a Cetti's Warbler, below and to the right of the grebe. A Red-Crested Pochard looked up at me from the water, as if sad not to be included.

There is also no picture of a Mandarin. Both are often seen here. Although they are park escapes now gone feral, so is the Egyptian Goose and, going back to the 17th century, the Canada Goose.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

A visit to the park earlier than usual found a lot of activity on Buck Hill. At least twenty Mistle Thrushes were searching for worms in the grass ...

... and insects in the trees.

They were accompanied by Magpies, of which they are not fond, so there was some angry rattling.

A flock of Goldfinches twittered overhead ...

... and there was a distant view of a Chiffchaff, a difficult bird to photograph so one is grateful even for a bad shot.

After a while the Mistle Thrushes decided to visit the rowan trees. This one has the ripest berries and is visited by many fruit-eating birds. The Blue Tit was looking for insects among the berries.

The early morning swimmers of the Serpentine Swimming Club were still at the Lido. The Black-Headed Gulls are used to them, and take no notice as they thrash past.

The Black Swan was also undisturbed, and was resting on the shore.

But a Mute Swan with teenage cygnets felt protective, and hissed at the passers by.

Carrion Crows were eating some scattered rice on the shore of the Serpentine when one of them noticed a wine-bottle cork that made an interesting toy.

The female Little Owl at the leaf yard looked briefly out of her hole.

As usual, there was no sight of the Little Owl in the oak tree near the Albert Memorial. But this feather found directly under the tree shows that they're still in residence.

Monday, 28 August 2017

The new Great Crested Grebe family on the Long Water came near the bridge, so it was possible to get a view of them from above.

Three of the young Mute Swans on the Long Water were trying to fly. It will be a while before any of them get off the water.

The Black Swan wasn't worried by the Bank Holiday crowds of boaters and bathers, and cruised down the side of the Lido.

A Canada Goose on the shore near the island was very unsteady on its feet. Nothing seemed to be broken, but it could barely waddle.

A couple of years ago one of the Canada--Greylag hybrids also had difficulty in walking, for no apparent reason. After a while it was killed by a fox.

A Grey Heron was staring through a hole in one of the rafts of water plants at the east end of the Serpentine. Since the nesting Mute Swans ripped up the plants, the raft has been falling apart. The heron clearly expected a fish to swim across the gap and allow itself to be grabbed.

The Moorhen on the old Coot nest in the boathouse still hasn't laid any eggs, and it seems likely that it won't and the long breeding season is finally over.

The Mistle Thrushes on Buck Hill stayed out of the rowan trees, and were clearly waiting for me to go away before they would return and feast on berries.

But there was a young Blackbird in one of the trees.

The Blackcap a few yards north of Peter Pan is often heard tut-tutting in the bushes, but is very hard to see.

A Long-Tailed Tit paused in a hawthorn.

The female Little Owl in the leaf yard emerged briefly on a branch of the chestnut tree.

Sunday, 27 August 2017

A Nuthatch appeared in the leaf yard, the first seen here for a couple of months.

A Goldcrest looked for insects in a yew tree in the Dell.

There were several Mistle Thrushes in the rowan trees at the top of Buck Hill.

A Starling caught the sunlight as it scavenged along the edge of the Serpentine.

The hedge alongside the enclosure of the Henry Moore sculpture has been trimmed. This allows a Grey Heron to stand close to the fence and wait for a rat to come incautiously close, when the heron will strike between the bars and haul it out.

The new brood of Great Crested Grebe chicks on the Long Water were beside an older chick from the previous brood.

One of the adults caught a fish far too large for the small chicks. I hope the older one got it.

The Moorhens in the Italian Garden were preening while one of their chicks shelted in the clump of plants.

Gulls are creatures of habit. The Lesser Black-Backs on the Serpentine always bathe in exactly the same patch of water.

If you start feeding Mute Swans from a pedalo, they will follow you around for the whole of your trip.

There are still some Emperor dragonflies in the air, though they are a bit tattered by now.

The shelter at the bottom of Buck Hill is used for picnics, boxing, kickboxing, karate, kendo, tae kwon do, capoeira and sometimes even sheltering from the rain. Today it's Latin dancing.