Posts Tagged ‘Hyde Park’

Naturelog: 23rd November

Posted: December 3, 2019 in Birds, Landscape, Natural History
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A Saturday morning walk in Hyde Park with Sue. We had gone to see if we could see the Little Owls but they were not showing at either of the usual spots.

The usual waterfowl were present on the Serpentine and it was a beautiful crisp morning for a walk in the park.

Passing the Italian garden on our way out I did see these pair of Red-Crested Pochard – the drake looking particularly splendid

A new year and a trip up to central London affords me the chance to spend an hour in Hyde Park. Starting at Lancaster Gate, I soon find a Redwing amongst the Blackbirds in the trees. On the Serpentine, there is the usual assortment of water birds whilst in the lakeside vegetation, Grey Squirrels and Ring-necked Parrakeets are taking advantage of the tourists offering food.

Grey Squirrel

Checking the Little Owl tree on the eastern side, there is no one at home. This used to be a reliable site but haven’t seen an owl here on my last 3 visits. Reaching the bridge I cross over to the western side and begin to trace my way north again.

Egyptian Goose
Great Cormorant

Once again, the Little Owl tree on this side turns up trumps as the owl is sunning itself in the entrance to the hole.

Continuing north I come to the leaf yard. This is a favourite bird feeding place for visitors and amongst the Parakeets, pigeons and squirrels there are a number of Great Tits and Blue Tits.

Great Tit

Also seen are a Coal Tit and a Wren skulking in the undergrowth.

Wren

My final point of call is the Italian Garden, where a Red-Crested Pochard has been seen recently. A smart looking bird, this is probably an escapee from one of the central London bird collections.

Red-Crested Pochard

Then its time to move onto my appointment, but a very good hour with some nice birds.

Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata)
Gadwall [sp] (Mareca strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Red-crested Pochard (Netta rufina)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Mew Gull (Common) [group] (Larus canus canus/heinei)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Rock Dove (Feral) (Columba livia ‘feral’)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Little Owl [sp] (Athene noctua)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Coal Tit [sp] (Periparus ater)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Redwing [sp] (Turdus iliacus)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)

Keith had come up to London for the day and so we started at Hyde Park. Our main target for the day was to see and photograph Little Owl. In many places, this species is becoming scarce, but here in the park, there are at least three breeding pairs.

Italian Gardens

We started at Notting Hill Gate and proceeded to walk down the long water to the owl nesting site we had photographed last year.

Mute Swan
Ring-necked Parakeet

Finding the nest tree was no problem, but scanning the tree, there was no sign of any owls. Whilst we were looking, one of the local birders came up and gave us directions to another nest, where he said the female owl regularly sat out in the nest hole.

Great Cormorant
Lesser Black-backed Gull

We continued down the long water, crossing over the bridge and walking down to the Lido, where we stopped for a coffee break. Then we turned north again and walked up the other side of the long water.

Looking North from the Lido
Coot
Great Crested Grebe
Tufted Duck

We made our way to the area where we had been told there was another Little Owl nest and sure enough there was an owl sitting in the nest hole.

Little Owl

Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Gadwall [sp] (Mareca strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Mew Gull [sp] (Larus canus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Rock Dove (Feral) (Columba livia ‘feral’)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Little Owl [sp] (Athene noctua)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Coal Tit [sp] (Periparus ater)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)

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A pre-Christmas outing to central London with Keith. The morning’s target was to locate Little Owl in Hyde Park. I had been given directions to two roosting sites and so on arrival at the park, we set off to, the first of these. Once we located the correct tree, we soon found an owl sitting out on a branch.

It was good that we found this Owl being so co-operative as we never managed to locate the second roosting tree (later found this was due to my poor navigation and we had been looking in the wrong place!). Our target species found we spent the rest of the morning on the banks of the Serpentine / Longwater trying to find Red Crested Pochard or Mandarin Duck, both of which can be found here on occasion, but not today.

 

 

 

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Gull (Larus canus canus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Little Owl [sp] (Athene noctua)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Coal Tit [sp] (Periparus ater)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)

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Queen Caroline was the wife of King George II. In 1727 she decided to re-landscape the parks adjacent to Kensington Palace. Her vision included the damming of the river which ran through the park to create a large lake, known today as the Serpentine and the Long Water. She did not live to see the work completed as she died in 1737 and it was not eventually finished until 1781. However her vision had created one of the most stunning vistas in London.

The monument to Queen Caroline and her vision was unveiled by Queen Elizabeth II in 1990 and records her part in the creation of the lake on whose banks it stands.

Keith and I are in London to visit Lord’s cricket ground, but we stop off at Hyde Park on the way for a spot of birdwatching.

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First stop is to see if the Male Tawny Owl is on his usual roost tree but when we arrive he is not there and a search of the surrounding trees doesn’t find him.

Whilst we are looking for the Owl, Keith is buzzed by a Blue Tit and as we know that some people feed the birds here, we decide to give it try and are soon the centre of attention for a small group of Blue Tits and Great Tits.

Blue Tit

Blue Tit

Blue Tit

Blue Tit

Great Tit

Great Tit

A Jay comes to have a look but cant quite build up the courage to come close.

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Then down to the Serpentine to see if we can locate the male Scaup, which we had seen here in January and which has stayed around ever since. We soon find him in the middle of the Serpentine (The large lake which runs north to south and divides the park in two) and as he moves around we are able to get some photos. He is no longer in his 1st winter plumage as he was when we saw him a couple of months back but is in full adult plumage.

Scaup

Scaup

Scaup

Scaup

We get a close view of a drake Mandarin Duck in the same area. This exotic species was introduced into this country for ornament on the lakes of country houses but has escaped and now breeds in the wild.

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Then it is time for us to leave but a very enjoyable and profitable hour’s birdwatching.

Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Greater Scaup [sp] (Aythya marila)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Gull (Larus canus canus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Coal Tit [sp] (Periparus ater)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Song Thrush [sp] (Turdus philomelos)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)

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This statue by Simon Gudgeon overlooks the lake and the Diana memorial fountain in Hyde Park.

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It is inspired by the Egyptian godess of nature and was donated by the Halcyon Gallery as part of the fundraising for the new education centre in the park, also called Isis. Around the base are a 1000 plaques naming donors toward the education centre project,

Physical Energy is a bronze cast statue by George F Watts and can be found in Hyde Park in London. It is one of 3 full size castings that were made. The first originally stood as the site of Rhodes grave in Zimbabwe but was later moved to the Rhodes monument near Cape Town, South Africa. The other originally was displayed in Lusaka but is now in the grounds of the national archive in Harare, Zimbabwe.

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The Statue is of a naked rider in classical style. with one hand he holds the reins and with the other he shields his eyes as he looks into the distance. The work took twenty years as Watts started designing it in 1883 and the first cast was not made until 1902. The statue in London is the second cast. It is claimed to be the largest bronze statue cast in the United Kingdom.

Some more pictures from the visit to Hyde Park and Regents Park last Thursday.

Red Crested Pochard

Red Crested Pochard

Ring necked Parakeet - 'If you think this cage is going to keep me from the nuts!'

Ring necked Parakeet – ‘If you think this cage is going to keep me from the nuts!’

Great Tits

Great Tits

Common Pochard

Common Pochard

Shoveler

Shoveler

Keith and I had intended going to the London wetland centre, but following a brief discussion when we met up in central London, we diverted to Kensington Gardens to look for the 1st winter drake Scaup that has been there for a week or so.

Arriving at round pond it did not take us long to identify the bird which stood out from the resident Tufted Duck by its larger rounded head and a clear patch of its emerging adult silver back showing through its juvenile plumage. It stayed well out into the centre of the pond. Satisfied we wandered off to take some photos of nearby Kensington Palace and when we returned we could not relocate it. We later learned that it does move around between the pond and the Serpentine so we counted ourselves lucky that we had found it here as locating it on the much larger Serpentine would have been more difficult.

!st winter drake Scaup

1st winter drake Scaup

There were a good number of Common Gulls present and a large flock of over 60 Eygptian Geese

Common Gull

Common Gull

Egyptian Geese

Egyptian Geese

Our next target was to see if we could find one of the local Tawny Owls roosting in the trees. I had been told the general area to look but we hunted without success. We did find a small party of Redwing feeding on the ground.

Redwing

Redwing

We decided that the cold was beginning to bite and we would head to the cafe by the Serpentine for a coffee. On the way we came across Paul one of the regular local birders, who kindly offered to show us the Owl’s roost tree. So we set off again back the way we had come and soon found the spot and there sure enough was the male bird sitting on his usual roost branch. Its easy when you know where to look!

Tawny Owl

Tawny Owl

Tawny Owl

Tawny Owl

Well in all the excitement we had forgotten about Coffee but after sometime watching and photographing the Owl we headed back to the Serpentine and that hot drink. After lunch we walked north up the side of the Serpentine and added a number of common species to our list and found lots of opportunity for photography.

The Serpentine, Hyde Park

The Serpentine, Hyde Park

When we reached Notting Hill the weather and the light had deteriorated but we decided to use what was left of the day by visiting Regent’s Park.

Regents Park

Regents Park

We did not add much to our list in the fading light but we had some nice views of some of the feral birds that breed here including Mandarin Duck and Red-Crested Pochard.

Mandarin Duck

Mandarin Duck

An excellent days birding and our big thanks to Paul for his assistance in finding the Tawny Owl.

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Greater Scaup [sp] (Aythya marila)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Mew Gull [sp] (Larus canus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Tawny Owl [sp] (Strix aluco)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Redwing [sp] (Turdus iliacus)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)