Monday, 18 July 2016

The Black Swan seems to be obsessed with the single cygnet on the Serpentine, and was following it around all morning except for brief intervals after its father chased him away.

It is not at all clear what he is thinking of. But Black Swan cygnets are grey, and it looks to him like a member of his own species.

Two Greylag families on the Serpentine were rushing around madly in all directions, both gsolings and adults -- a combination of washing and high spirits.

The Great Crested Grebes on the Long Water were looking after their three chicks.

At the nest in the reeds, one of the parents was carefully turning over the eggs to keep them evenly warmed.

The lone Mallard duckling on the Long Water appeared at Peter Pan with its mother. It is still not large enough to be safe from big gulls, and Grey Herons are also an ever present danger.

A heron on one of the Italian ponds was staring intently through a gap in the algae, waiting for a small perch to come past.

But it was standing as close to the edge as it could without falling into the water. Could it actually catch a fish from this place? I've never seen one manage it, but nor have I seen one try and fall in. It could, of course, get out if it fell, with a single flap of its huge wings, but it would be undignified.

The young Reed Warblers near the bridge were leaping around among the stems, keeping their parents busy bringing them insects from the surrounding trees.

By the second half of July the songbirds are almost completely silent. But a Song Thrush in the Flower Walk was in full blast. A sunny day can start them singing at any time of year.

One of the Little Owlets near the Albert Memorial was calling from a branch.

This is the male Little Owl from the chestnut tree near the leaf yard. He had been preening and was shaking himself to straighten out his feathers.

On a hot day he was panting noticeably. You would think that these birds of Mediterranean origin would be more comfortable in a mild English midsummer.

One of the Little Owls near the Henry Moore sculpture was near the top of the very tall lime tree where they have built their nest.

A chick was also calling, and the adult flew over to the nearby park offices. Perhaps it was looking for a worm or insect in the yard. Little Owls normally hunt at dawn and dusk, but the young birds constantly beg for food.

When I saw this Blue-Tailed Damselfly I thought it was a female laying eggs -- females can be of several colours, including the same blue as males.

But a dragonfly and damselfly identification page points out that males have two-tone blue and black wing spots, as this one does. So I don't know what it was doing.


  1. I'm a little worried about the poor cygnet. Your report of its calls of distress in earlier entries has been weighing on my mind - is the cygnet in any danger from the Black Swan?

    1. I really don't think the Black Swan poses any danger to the cygnet. He seems to have adopted it, and they seem quite comfortable together.

    2. Oooh yes, today's entry makes it very clear. So happy!

  2. Can we not recruit another black swan from somewhere before he gets charged with an offence?

    Perhaps the male damselfly has done his back in and become stuck in a particularly awkward sexual position.

    1. If someone went recruiting for another Black Swan, there would be a risk of alerting the people whose park he came from, and they might come and reclaim him. I'm sure this swan is a park bird, despite his not having a ring, because he takes food from people's hands.

    2. We'll just have to smuggle one out Black Ops-style then...