Sunday, 16 February 2014

A pair of Mute Swans on the Serpentine were displaying to each other in the usual way, arching and dipping their necks in unison. But then things got rough, and they started barging each other about quite violently.

I was wondering whether this was a prelude to mating, in which the male usually chases the female before jumping on her. But no, it wasn't, and after this they settled down again and continued their usual decorous display. Was she saying 'OK, I'm your mate, but not now'?

The first Coot nest to be properly and visibly occupied has started on the Long Water near Peter Pan. It is built on a fallen branch some way out into the lake, a very exposed position at risk from marauding Herring Gulls and Lesser Black-Backed Gulls.

There are many places along the edge of the lake where a more sheltered nest could be built more easily, so it seems a strange choice.

The Great Crested Grebes whose first choice of a nest site on the Serpentine island was pre-empted by a Coot have now moved to the east end of the island and are examining nest sites there. This site has sometimes succeeded in past years, and has sometime been raided by wading Grey Herons, as the water is fairly shallow. However, the herons have completely lost the urge to nest on the island for the time being.

The male Tawny Owl was on his usual balcony in the nest tree, though he was rather restless and at one time went inside for several minutes before reappearing.

And here is something quite unexpected so early in the year, a Peacock butterfly (Aglais io). It was not even in the park; it was a hundred yards south of it, on the pavement in Queen's Gate.


  1. Hi
    It will have been tempted out of hibernation by the sunny weather today. There have been several sightings mentioned on various websites this year. Nice to see, so long as we don't get a cold snap.