Tuesday, 28 March 2017

A Long-Tailed Tit flew along the side of the leaf yard collecting cobwebs to build its nest.

A Chiffchaff sang in the scrub between the bridge and the Vista.

The Cetti's Warbler in this area has been singing loudly for several days, but is hard to see even for a moment and next to impossible to photograph. I had my once-in-a-lifetime opportunity on 9 December 2015 -- see here -- and don't expect another.

A female Blackbird was washing in the Serpentine.

A Pied Wagtail caught a midge beside the Round Pond.

At the leaf yard, a Jackdaw looked into a plastic bag which had contained cakes from a café in Kensington High Street. There wasn't a crumb left, but it continued to play with it. An envious Magpie came over but the Jackdaw, now joined by its mate, kept it at bay while the pair enjoyed their game.

The Grey Herons in the top nest of the island were fondly caressing each other with their fearsome bills.

A pair of Great Crested Grebes were having a territorial dispute on the Serpentine. They had a display of solidarity.

So, of course, did the rival pair a hundred yards away.

The two Coots on the right were fighting. Three more rushed over to join them.

A pair of Canada Geese did a synchronised splashing display before mating.

Tom was there and took a video.

The Egyptian Goose family at the Lido had somehow got two of their goslings outside the net and one inside. There are holes in the net, so no doubt they were able to sort things out.

Blondie was keeping a close watch on her brood. When a dog appeared in the distance she quickly led them to the water.

This is the family at the Round Pond. The rule is that when your mother preens, you preen too.

The Mandarins on the Serpentine chased each other.

The Little Owl in the lime tree near the Henry Moore sculpture was out on her usual branch.

A Comma butterfly rested on a leaf near Peter Pan.

Monday, 27 March 2017

A pair of Coal Tits were flying around together near Queen's Gate.

Rose-Ringed Parakeets ripped off leaf shoots and flower buds from a horse chestnut tree and ate them on the ground.

A Wood Pigeon was also at work on young shoots and blossom.

Mateusz at Bluebird Boats kindly took me out to see the Great Crested Grebes' nest on the island. This view is taken from the high deck of the Solar Shuttle boat, which was moored in front of it. I was wrong about there being an egg in the nest -- it must have been a bit of white plastic.

Mateusz told me that the midges which are so plentiful this year are infesting the boats. A Pied Wagtail was taking advantage of this.

The four Egyptian goslings on the Round Pond were eating algae off the granite edge.

Blondie was having a wash while keeping an eye on her family.

The family from the Lido had moved down to the nearest reed bed.

A Red-Crested Pochard drake showed off to his mate by chasing another away.

A Mute Swan on the Round Pond had the same idea.

On the Long Water, a swan and a fox eyed each other with mutual dislike.

The pigeon-killing Lesser Black-Backed Gull saw some pigeons bathing, and came ashore to see if he could catch one. This has to be done from the land side so that he can run at them. The pigeons move a safe distance away, but know that they can always escape from a straightforward attack on the ground and are not particularly worried about having a killer in their midst. The gull didn't catch one while I was watching.

The Little Owl in the oak tree near the Albert Memorial was in her usual place, and there was no sign of the Mallards which have been hanging around on the branch.

The owl in the lime tree near the Henry Moore statue was also out, apparently unworried by the Carrion Crows nesting overhead.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Mute Swan have smashed down the fence and invaded a third one of the reed rafts at the east end of the Serpentine. I think the female swan on the left, with a peculiar pink bill, is a 'Polish' swan, but could only be sure if I saw her feet, which would be pinkish-grey. It will be interesting if she manages to nest and breed, because there is a good chance that some of the female cygnets will be 'Polish' too -- that is, they will be white instead of grey.

The crowds on a sunny Sunday had caused Blondie to hide her family in the reed bed east of the Lido. She must have guided them in through the hole cut in the net by the Coots' nest, as there is no other way for them to get in.

The family at the Lido were working their way up the railings of the restaurant terrace, soliciting titbits from the diners.

The Egyptians on the Round Pond were resting. Two of the goslings woke up, yawned and strolled around.

The sitting Carrion Crow in the nest in the lime tree near the Henry Moore sculpture felt the need to stretch her wings. She flew around for a couple of minutes  while her mate looked after the nest, then came back, landed beside him, and got back on the nest.

One of the Grey Herons from the nests on the island was also flying around. But in this case the other bird was on the nest, because with Herons both partners take turns to sit on the eggs.

Almost all the Black-Headed Gulls have left for their breeding grounds, but a couple of young ones remained on the Serpentine.

A pair of Great Crested Grebes were dozing peacefully side by side. They collided with each other, woke up, exchanged a sleepy greeting, and dozed off again.

A pair of Red-Crested Pochards approached through the bumpy waves raised by the breeze.

This fine picture of our solitary Grey Wagtail was taken by Tom.

A Starling perched on a hawthorn tree by the terrace of the Dell restaurant, waiting for someone to leave a table so it could swoop down and grab some scraps.

A Long-Tailed Tit paused among some new leaves.

We haven't had a picture of a Great Tit for a while. They're so common it's easy to forget how smart they look.

When I first passed the oak tree near the Albert Memorial, the intruding Mallards were on the branch with the Little Owls' hole, but flew away when I approached. A later visit found the owl back in her usual place.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

A particularly aggressive Mallard drake was beating up the others at Peter Pan.

When he had chased them all off, he joined the inevitable pursuit of a female.

The Feral Pigeons in the leaf yard were also in fighting mood.

A Goldcrest was leaping around the top of the yew tree above them.

One of the Starlings' nest holes in the small plane trees beside the boathouses has been stolen by a Rose-Ringed Parakeet.

The workmen who put up the net around the reed bed near the Lido have cut holes in it so that a nesting Coot can let its chicks out when they hatch. This is kind, but does rather spoil the purpose of the net, which is to keep birds from wrecking the reeds. It will at least keep out Mute Swans, which devastate large areas -- unless the swans can break down the net, which is quite likely.

The Mandarins on the Serpentine were also inside the net.

As you can see, there are no reeds in this part of the intended reed bed. Almost all of them died as soon as they were planted, on account of being bedded on some toxic sludge dredged up from the bottom of the lake, which has been accumulating urban filth since 1731. It looks as if the area will be replanted -- I hope so.

The Great Crested Grebes who built a nest on the Long Water under the willow tree by the bridge have abandoned the site and moved one tree to the north. This site has been successfully used before.

The young Egyptian Geese on the Serpentine have become very active, and were running up and down the edge. The family at the Lido have lost another, and are down to three.

Blondie has kept hers, but only by running to keep up with them and constantly calling.

The family on the Round Pond had taken to the water to escape a dog.

A Cormorant was fishing along the edge of the Serpentine, hunting under the concrete border where small fish lurk.

The female Little Owl near the Albert Memorial was in her usual hole basking in the sunshine, and the Mallards that were bothering her had gone away, at least for the moment.

The male owl near the leaf yard made a few brief appearances, but was troubled by the crows on a sunny Saturday. I didn't get a picture of him, and this fine shot is by Tom.

A fox was basking in the usual place on the east side of the Long Water just north of the Vista. This picture was taken from across the lake.