Friday, 15 May 2015

There was a new brood of Mandarins at Peter Pan. Here is one of the ducklings. You can distinguish them from Mallard ducklings by the two dark stripes crossing their eyes; Mallards have only one.

There were four ducklings this morning and three this afternoon; Herring Gulls take their toll. Most of the central London Mandarins breed on the Regent's Canal, a much safer place with more cover and fewer gulls.

The Greylag family at the Serpentine island have also lost one, and were down to three. However, there is another Greylag family with two goslings. Here is one of them.

And here is the lone Canada gosling. You can see how much yellower they are than Greylags, perhaps surprisingly in a bird that (if it survives) will grow up to be black and white.

Its parent were protecting it very carefully, and when another pair of Canadas got too near, the gander attacked the male of the intruding pair and there was a brief but furious battle.

The Egyptian Goose family with the adopted youngster were at the landing stage near the Diana fountain. Two of the seven had wandered off, as children do. Their mother called them and they took absolutely no notice. In this picture the adopted one, smaller and paler than the others, is on the right.

The familiar Song Thrush who sings in the leaf yard behind Peter Pan is normally almost impossible to see. But today he flew into and sang from a tree on the other side of the path, and it was possible to get a rather distant picture.

This Magpie was bathing in a puddle near the Albert Memorial.

The male Little Owl was basking in the afternoon sunshine.

Both Tawny Owls were in the beech tree near their nest tree, though again quite invisible. I only know they were there because I heard the male calling and the female answering him. I gallivanted round the tree with binoculars, but to no avail.


  1. I saw a Lesser Black-Backed Gull eating the remains of a pigeon on the grass near the Round Pond today - do you think the gull killed it?

    1. Very likely. It could even have been our usual pigeon killer on tour -- I didn't see him in his usual place on the Serpentine today. He is unusually large and has very bright yellow legs, completely Bird's Custard colour, which makes him easy to recognise.

    2. "completely Bird's Custard colour". Razor wit I can only aspire to! Jim n.L.

    3. Dunno about that. Simple description was my aim.

  2. I was walking over the bridge yesterday when the moorhens changed shift (so I can confirm that they do do so) and was able to see two large off-white speckled eggs.

    Harry G.

    1. I've seen three eggs from the shore. They are oddly placed in the hollow top of the post, so it's a question of angle.