Sunday, 24 February 2013

The Mute Swans on the Long Water are thinking about nesting. After several minutes of neck-arching display they came ashore under the parapet of the Italian Garden and explored a possible site among the reeds.

But it was clearly too exposed, not least because a group of RSPB volunteers had three telescopes on tripods pointing at it, so they soon abandoned it and went off to look for a better place.

The pair of Great Crested Grebes near the bridge were dancing, waving bits of rotten but symbolic plane leaf at each other.

There is an excellent sheltered nest site in the partly collapsed willow tree near the bridge, which they have been interested in for some time, and I think that they will start to build there soon. At the east end of the Serpentine, the disputed nest site that was recaptured by Great Crested Grebes yesterday has now fallen to the Coots again, who have built it up higher and twiggier than before. It is not a good site, being far too exposed to attacks from gulls, and the grebes would be well advised to abandon the struggle and find somewhere better.

On the Serpentine island, a pair of Carrion Crows were clearly in love.

And a pair of Pied Wagtails were running along the edge of the lake.  They seemed more interested in food than each other. I don't think I could distinguish their courting behaviour from the normal actions of two birds hunting bugs on the shoreline.

But the Egyptian Geese on the Vista have lost all their young now, as they always do. They will breed again soon and exactly the same thing will happen. They are just no good at raising a family, and perhaps it is best that they don't have any offspring to carry on their incompetence into a new generation. There are plenty of other Egyptian Geese that are much better at this game.

At the Round Pond, the last surviving young Egyptian Goose from last year's late brood is still with us. The parents have done well to have even one survivor in this exposed place overrun with out-of-control dogs.


  1. Hi Ralph, has something happened to the Grey squirrels in the park?

    We saw less than 5 today.



    1. Huddled in their dreys on a very cold day, I should think.

    2. My usual squirrel friends came out for food from the scrubby area to the North of the Vista on the East side of the Long Water. But one has a really nasty abscess on an eye which was damaged several weeks ago.
      Are there not 4 young still live from "Virginia's" EG family?

    3. I've only seen the youngest Egyptian Goose with its parents during two recent visits. It's possible that the other three have grown up and gone off by themselves.

  2. A propos the Crows, I'm assuming the grim faced character on the right to be the male?

    1. Probably, because he's a bit larger. But you never know with crows.