Monday, 22 August 2016

There were 61 Red-Crested Pochards on the Long Water, more than twice the largest number I had seen before.

The population is descended from ornamental park ducks, but is now large and well established enough to be classed as a British species, and it seems to be growing fast. They managed to breed once in the park several years ago, in spite of the marauding gulls, and raised two young.

Mandarins have spread in the same way, and have had equal difficulty with the gulls in the park, though they are doing well on the more sheltered Regent's Canal a short way to the northeast. The only duckling to survive on the lake this year is now adult size and was at Peter Pan today.

The solitary Tufted duckling is hanging on, and was on the island with its mother, just visible from the opposite shore.

There was a brief glimpse of the Black Swan and the cygnet a long way off, too far for a worthwhile photograph.

The young Mute Swans on the Long Water now have almost fully developed wings, and will be trying to fly soon. It takes them some time to find out how.

There is a new brood of Moorhens at the Diana fountain landing stage. Probably the nest was in the nearby reed bed. One of the chicks was sitting in a strange position dictated by having enormous feet.

The clumps of willowherb in this reed bed seem to be much liked by all the waterfowl. Here a Mallard is reaching up for a bite.

The Great Crested Grebe family from the nest near the bridge were out on the Serpentine.  The father caught a large perch, too large for the chicks, and ate it himself.

But the chicks got fed later. Here is one trying to swallow an almost equally large fish. It managed after several tries.

A flock of Starlings waited on the roof of the Lido restaurant for a chance to snatch leftovers from a table.

A Great Tit in the Flower Walk was also waiting for food.

The male Little Owl at the leaf yard was in his usual place in the nest tree.

One of the Little owlets near the Albert Memorial was visible in the horse chestnut that they favour at the moment.


  1. Hello Ralph, I am pleased you saw the duckling again. I went this morning and could not see them at all, even with a pair of binoculars. It looks like a female duckling as it is still solid brown, what do you think?

    However, there was a poorly Starling around this morning begging food from me, his foot is damaged so he hops on one leg. It is the second time I saw him in the last few days.

    1. Think it's too early to tell what the Tufted duckling might turn out to be. The much older trio of teenage Mallards on the Long Water still look female.

      You can only try to be kind to seriously injured birds. They won't last long, but you can make their last days more pleasant.

  2. I was wondering when the owlets leave as I hope to get to London to see them again in October. Also, do the adults move on too or might they stay and breed in the park next year given they were successful?

    1. The parents don't move. They stay on their quite small territory. There is always a chance of seeing one, even in midwinter if it's a sunny day.

  3. Ralph, what qualifies a bird as a British Bird? Is it just breeding reliably in the UK?

    1. There's a whole hierarchy of breeding birds, rarities that might breed occasionally, and occasional vagrants. I leave this to the statisticians.