Friday, 1 April 2016

A Mandarin drake was standing on a branch of the plane tree next to the oak of the Little Owls near the Albert Memorial. There is a largish hole in this tree very suitable for a Mandarin to nest in, and probably his mate is in there on her eggs.

However, it is 200 yards away from the nearest water at the Round Pond, a perilous journey to an unsafe place when the ducklings hatch. As far as I can recall, Mandarins have only bred successfully once in the park. The colony is kept going by the much greater breeding success of the Mandarins on the nearby Regent's Canal.

One of the Little Owls was looking out of the next tree.

Canada Geese have no problem with breeding, of course. Although the park keepers try to keep their numbers down, every year at least one pair finds a safe place to nest away from humans and foxes, and brings goslings to the lake.

You have to look quite hard at the lower of the two Grey Heron nests on the island to see that there is a bird sitting in it and staring at you through the twigs with a big yellow eye.

The Black Swan and his girlfriend were in their usual place at the east end of the Serpentine.

The filming that was going on here is finished, but there is still a certain amount of junk to be dragged out of the lake behind the line of buoys. At one point this included a London taxi which, accroding to the plot of the film, was supposed to have crashed into the lake.

A flight of Mallards was circling the Serpentine. These flights seem to be displays of vigour by the drakes trying to impress females.

One of the Pochard-Tufted Duck hybrids was enjoying a preen near the island.

Beside the lake, a pair of Long-Tailed Tits were pulling cobwebs out of a tree to make their nest.

The webs are not used to line the nest. They are part of the structure, an elastic bag of web, moss and lichen, lined with small feathers that they also collect.

A Blue Tit was looking into a nest box near the Henry Moore sculpture. These boxes ought to be emptied once a year, but the gardener who used to look after them has retired and now they are neglected and choked with debris from previous nests.

A Feral Pigeon was examining a clump of plants floating in the Serpentine.

It is the week after Nowruz, the Zoroastrian New Year celebrated at the spring solstice. There is a colony of expatriate Persians in Kensington. They grow a clump of fresh greenery as part of the celebration, and after a week dump it in water. This does no harm, but the birds seldom seem to find it edible.


  1. Hi Ralph
    On the London Bird Wiki page it says that a male Brambling was seen in the The Rangers Lodge front garden today.
    Did you hear about this?

    1. Thanks for the information. I went past there but didn't see it. The main Ranger's Lodge has a big garden and I'm sure there are all kinds of fine creatures there, but of course it's private.

    2. It says that it was seen again this morning under the feeders.
      Hopefully you might be able to see it today.

    3. Thanks, have found it. It was a bit far away, so today's picture is not wonderful.

  2. I saw a pair of Little Grebes near the end of the Long Water today. They crossed the lake from the reedbed, reaching the other side behind the swans' island