Thursday, 31 March 2016

In a tree near the bridge, there were loud calls from an agitated Wren, and two very small birds could be seen dashing about in the twigs. I thought it was a couple of Wrens chasing each other in flirtation or rivalry. Then a Wren burst out of the tree and fled into another one, and I got a chance to photograph its pursuer. It was a Goldcrest.

Probably the Wren had got too close to the Goldcrest's nest, which made the smaller bird angry and brave enough to chase it away. By the way, this is not the well known Goldcrest's nest in the yew tree at the southwest corner of the bridge. It is at the northwest corner, near the little flight of steps leading down from the bridge to the path.

This is also where the most easily photographed Great Crested Grebes' nest is, though you have to crouch down on the path to get a clear view through the twigs, and when the leaves come out it will be much harder to see.

The other grebe of the pair was on the opposite side of the bridge, fishing. This picture was taken looking down from the bridge.

At the far end of the Serpentine, two pairs of grebes were having a territorial dispute, with a good deal of circling and calling and diving. As usual, it subsided peacefully.

The pair of Mandarins on the Serpentine had worked their way up farther from the bridge, and were well to the east of the Lido when I found them. The meaning of this slow advance is not clear.

As usual, a Coot has nested inside one of the small boathouses.

This nest site has a serious problem: the chicks fall off the platform into the water and can't get up again. I must speak to the people at Bluebird Boats and ask them to put in a temporary plank. This boathouse is not used for anything at the moment.

When I was a child and the water in the Serpentine was black and filthy, they used to add chlorine to the water at the Lido during the swimming season -- which would not be allowed now. Two motor boats were used for this, and they were kept in the boathouses. Their names were Doreen and Chloreen.

The Black Swan has returned from his excursion on to the Long Water, and was in his usual place on the reed raft, preening under the gaze of a Moorhen.

A Great Tit perched on a tree stump in the leaf yard.

In the same place, this Coal Tit was getting bored with being photographed, and stared impatiently at me wanting to be given a pine nut.

A Little Owl was out in the oak tree near the Albert Memorial.

And so was another in the lime near the Henry Moore sculpture.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

The Black Swan is keeping his place on the Long Water, and was with his girlfriend 100 yards inside the bridge that marks the boundary.

He threatened a Mute Swan that wanted to come under the bridge.

His threat display, with lowered head, is not like that of Mute Swans, but the swans on the lake now understand it, and are probably wary of it because this little creature punches above his weight. It is quite like the threat display of Canada Geese, here seen on the Serpentine during a territorial displute with another pair.

Blondie the Egyptian Goose was standing peacefully with her mate. She is a very mild-mannered bird and I have never seen her threatening anyone.

The Coots' nest on the Long Water near the Vista is noticeably larger than it was yesterday.

The Great Crested Grebes nesting near the bridge were exchanging greetings.

A Wood Pigeon in the leaf yard stared curiously at the camera.

Just up the fence from here, two Nuthatches were coming down to the railings to be fed.

A Treecreeper was running up a birch tree at the uphill corner of the enclosure.

One of the Little Owls was in the oak tree near the Albert Memorial, enjoying a mild sunny spell.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

A couple of days ago there were hundreds of Black-Headed Gulls in the park. Today there was just one on the Serpentine. Although they arrive for the winter over several weeks, when they feel it's time to go they leave in a body -- except for one dissenter. This is remarkable because they are going to different places, some overseas as far north as Finland, others simply to British landfill sites.

The dominant swans on the Long Water were busy with their nest on the artificial island.

This allowed another invasion by the Mute Swans from the Serpentine. The Black Swan and his girlfriend penetrated all the way to the gravel bank in front of the Henry Moore statue, which is normally a resting place for the dominant pair. This picture was taken by Paul Turner.

Later, the male of the pair came down to clear off the intruders, but there were a lot and he could only chase off some of them in one pass.

The recent high winds and waves have not destroyed the Great Crested Grebes' nest near the bridge, which was evidently made with a solidity unusual in a grebes' nest.

Two pairs of Mallards were resting high up the trunk of the nearby willow. They must manage to fly in through the branches somehow, as the climb seems well beyond a Mallard's ability.

There was a violent storm with large hailstones splashing into the lake, which a Canada Goose stoically endured ...

... and some sunny intervals which allowed a bee to browse among the white hyacinths in the Italian Garden.

Update: David Element writes that this is a male Hairy-Footed Flower Bee, Anthophora plumipes. Females are black in this dimorphic species.

A pair of Dunnocks were hopping around near the ticket office at the Lido. There have been Dunnocks here for years, but recent savage pruning of the bushes has made these shy birds more visible than they would like.

Several Green Woodpeckers were calling in Kensington Gardens near the bridge. This picture is by Mike Meilack.

The Little Owl in the lime tree near the Henry Moore was calling too.

Monday, 28 March 2016

On a very windy morning a Grey Heron's nest on the island was tossing round and the occupant was looking a bit disarranged.

A Moorhen walking along the edge of one of the reed rafts was having to flap to keep its balance in the gusts.

The Black Swan and his girlfriend were hard to find, as they had gone on to the Long Water and were under some brambles at the edge. It's more sheltered there and, for the time being, the resident male Mute Swan was leaving them in peace.

The pair of Mandarins that have been near the bridge have gradually worked their way up to the Lido. They may be looking for a nest hole in one of the trees at the back of the swimming area.

Coots are building nests all over the Long Water. This one just north of the Vista is growing rapidly. Last year the pair building here produced an imposing pile of twigs three feet wide and two feet high, and it looks as if they're aiming at a repeat performance.

A Treecreeper was running up a trunk near the bridge.

The pair of Song Thrushes near the Henry Moore sculpture were foraging in the grass.

A Blue Tit came out from a nearby bush demanding to be fed.

And so did a pair of Nuthatches in the leaf yard.

The Little Owl in the oak tree was in its well sheltered hole enjoying a sunny interval.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Just after a violent hailstorm with thunder in the morning, one of the Little Owls in the oak tree looked out for a moment, didn't like what it saw, and went back inside.

The small birds in the leaf yard didn't seem worried. A Robin clung to an iron spike on the railings with its frail spindly feet.

A Nuthatch walked confidently down a branch.

The weather had kept Easter visitors out of the park, and Pied Wagtails were running around the edge of the lake undisturbed.

Mute Swans are very fond of young willow leaves. The trees around the Long Water get cropped up to the highest level a swan can reach.

A pair of Mallards had managed to land quite high up inside the willow tree near the bridge. This picture was taken looking down from the parapet.

There was also a pair of Moorhens in the tree, but they can climb well. Every year they nest in a hole in the tree, but I have never been able to see where this is.

There were two pairs of Mandarins at Peter Pan.

The sun came out and lit up a Great Crested Grebe resting peacefully on the nest at the east end of the island.

Several Red-Crested Pochards were cruising around nearby.

The Black Swan and girlfriend number one were by themselves, preening near the Lido.