Thursday, 2 April 2015

The Scaup, who was a wild and rather shy bird when he arrived in January, is now completely fearless. Here he is competing with the big birds, some Mute Swans and a Grey Heron, for food a visitor was throwing in the Serpentine near the Dell restaurant.

The reed raft at this end of the lake, whose defences were breached by the swans yesterday, has become quite crowded. A pair of Greylag Geese have joined them. As for the pair I saw wanting to nest yesterday, they no longer have a hope of privacy.

One of the pair of Great Crested Grebes that hang around here was fishing under the balustrade, allowing a top view of its elegant crest.

At the opposite side of the path, a Wren had come down for a drink in the little pool at the top of the waterfall.

The two pairs of Mandarins offshore from Peter Pan were being quite aggressive. Here one of them threatened a harmless Moorhen that was minding its own business.

On the opposite side of the Long Water, an unusually calm Mistle Thrush allowed me to get quite close to it.

Sorry about the quality of the next picture, but it was taken under a bush in very bad light. The pied Blackbird near the Albert Memorial had pulled up something that I thought was a worm, but on closer inspection it seems to be flat. I have no idea what it was.

The female Little Owl came out of the hole in the chestnut tree just up the hill from their nest tree.


  1. Eight freshly hatched Egyptians were causing a tourist commotion at the Lido this afternoon. That's fourteen already. Could it be that it's going to be a good year for them?
    Thanks for that superb picture of the flying grebe yesterday and for alerting us to the Scaup and Golden Eye, the latter spotted near the boat house yesterday. Without this blog I would have been unaware of both of them .... as of much else.

    1. Thanks. Probably the fact that it's a good year for Egyptians is largely because their numbers are climbing so fast. The three recent broods have all come at what we would regard as the wrong time, largely because these African birds don't understand northern seasons. But when the weather warms up we can expect more.

      Several years ago Roy Sanderson said to me that the Egyptians would be 'the next Canadas' -- that is, unstoppably spreading everywhere. They have an advantage over Canadas, too, because they nest in unfindable places in trees.

  2. They are more attractive to my eyes, and a bit less raucous and rowdy, so I don't mind too much if Egyptians overtake Canada geese!

  3. On the London Bird Club wiki for Wednesday someone noted an apparent problem with one of the Scaup's eyes, have you noticed anything? Jim n.L.

    1. I've looked at recent photographs of both of the Scaup's eyes and they look fine to me. However, it does have a nictitating membrane -- the 'third eyelid' that it uses for blinking -- with a dark edge, which causes its eyes to look a bit odd for a moment.