Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Two Black-Headed Gulls were on the Long Water, probably strays rather than the first of the hundreds that will arrive to spend the winter in the park. They perched on the posts offshore from Peter Pan, of which there are about thirty. But, being Black-Headed Gulls, they each wanted the post the other one was sitting on, and every few minutes one would fly up and knock the other one off. A simple amusement.

There is a family of Greenfinches in the shrubbery behind Peter Pan, reported to have five young. I heard them but didn't manage to see anything.

A large extended family group of Long-Tailed Tits rushed through the bushes behind the Albert Memorial. Here is one of the young ones, already almost adult in appearance.

It is not much fun being a female Mute Swan. Mating is a rough business, and she doesn't seem to be enjoying it at all.

Then she has to spend six weeks on the nest, with only the briefest of breaks for feeding, during which time she is exposed to raids by foxes. The female on the Long Water lost three of her four cygnets in this way, and her predecessor was killed by a fox. Here she has found that a bunch of swans have come under the bridge and invaded her territory, and her mate, who ought to be dealing with them, has swanned off somewhere. So she has to go out with her cygnet in tow to chase them away.

The cygnet has clearly learnt a bit about the brutal business of staying alive. I saw it attacking an Egyptian Goose a few minutes after I took this picture.

After yesterday's Mallard with two ducklings, today there was one with ten. They were wandering around carelessly under the negligent attention of their mother. There were no big gulls on the Long Water. But when I came past again an hour later, there were only nine ducklings.

There was no sight of the Tawny or Little Owls today.


  1. I also saw the mallard with 9 ducklings,today after 6.30, and the one with two, in the water by the Peter Pan. Have they both lost their mates? I thought mallard drakes usually stick around with the hatchlings?
    Many people admired the two baby coots in the nest in that area- not often you get to see such small ones so close up. (and their father was in attendance)

    1. Male Mallards are pretty neglectful of their mates. I didn't expect them to be there. Many of them are in a bad mood anyway because they are moulting -- it does seem to make them more irritable, perhaps because it itches.

      The female Coot at Peter Pan wouldn't stand up when I was there (she is being very careful, and quite right) so I didn't get a chance to see that there were two babies. Thanks for telling me.

    2. She didn't quite stand up, but shuffled a bit so the small heads could come out from under her skirts; she was feeding them with what the male brought her- into her beak first , then passing it on to them.