Saturday, 13 September 2014

This Mute Swan flying from the Serpentine to the Round Pond brought the number of swans there up to 38, five more than yesterday.

The pressure on the swans remaining on the Serpentine is increasing. The pair from the Long Water with seven almost grown cygnets now own the lake right up to the island. The next pair, with five young, have taken over most of the rest of the lake, and the pair with two are forced right up to the east end. The male of this last pair was cruising around with wings raised threatening the lower-status swans which have neither mates nor territory. It's enough to make anyone fly away.

The Great Crested Grebes are still having the odd territorial dispute -- there was a brief one near the island -- but with their chicks wandering around all over the lake their zones of influence have almost disappeared. The two families on the Long Water were fishing peacefully side by side. This chick came into the edge during a sunny spell that made the water sparkle attractively.

This adult is male, as you can see from his broad, heavy upper crest.

When you see a Grey Heron standing in its typical patient pose, you think it's waiting for a fish to come by so it can spear it with its fearful beak. But this heron is standing on a post, and would have to leap into the water to catch anything, which I have never seen one do. Also they spend long periods in trees, looking equally intent. I suspect that nothing is passing through its mind at all.

The male Little Owl was again in the chestnut tree next to the nest tree, with a Ring-Necked Parakeet shrieking at him from a few feet away. He didn't react at all. Parakeets are not large enough to be a threat, and too large for a Little Owl to eat. But when four people turned up under his tree with cameras and binoculars, he did crane his neck round a branch to stare at them -- whether from curiosity or irritation is hard to say.

I went to see if the Wheatear seen yesterday on the Archery Field was still there, but there was nothing but a Green Woodpecker looking for insects near the boundary wall of Kensington Palace.

The Sunken Garden is still full of teenage Moorhens rushing around the paths and lawns. This one stopped to eat some leaves from the violently coloured floral border.

No one I spoke to had seen the Hobbies. They may have left for Africa.


  1. I saw five of the seven teenage swans take flight yesterday from the bridge to the island. They all took off at once and made a good job of it. I wonder where they will end up when it's time to cut the apron strings. Sue.

    1. Suddenly fallen from favour and on the Round Pond, I think.