Monday, 22 May 2017

The Mandarin family have been quite rightly skulking out of sight in the bushes, but today they reappeared on the Long Water, crossing the Vista. There are still six ducklings. Their mother is shooing away a Mallard.

The Canada Goose family were under the willows on the south side of the Serpentine.

Blondie's smallest gosling was flapping its wings. The flight feathers have not yet completely emerged.

The Mute Swan family on the Long Water passed the Great Crested Grebes' nest in the fallen poplar.

The Moorhens' nest in the Dell is now fully built. It must be anchored to a submerged fallen branch, probably not firmly but this is a sheltered spot and it won't blow away.

There was a Little Grebe in the middle of the Round Pond. It wouldn't come any nearer the edge, and this is the best picture I could manage.

Another bad picture, but quite an interesting one. A Young Pied Wagtail on the edge of the pond is now catching its own insects, and here it makes a lunge for one, possibly a hoverfly.

The first young Starlings are out of the nest, still begging for food from their parents. These two were at the Dell restaurant, where people were feeding the geese and swans so there were plenty of breadcrumbs.

The House Martins on the Kuwaiti Embassy are now repairing their nests, to judge by the rather long time they spend in the holes, about two minutes. If they were already feeding young they would be in and out much quicker.

You can tell where nests are, or have been, by the mud on the painted stucco. This is a record of all the nests that have been there since the building was last painted, and there is only one active nest in this hole, not three.

Most of the Blue Tits are looking tatty now. Nesting is bad for the feathers. This one, in the tall lamp post in the Rose Garden, has a particularly cramped nest site.

A Magpie was sunbathing on a path in the Rose Garden.

And a Robin was perched in a rose bush. It's a wild rose, much prettier than the lurid cabbagey things produced by plant breeders.

Several Reed Warblers were singing around the Serpentine. This one was at the east end.

A few yards down the slope to Rotten Row, a Red Admiral butterfly was perched on the patch of purple wallflowers where I photographed the Small White yesterday.

The Little Owl at the leaf yard was out, but not for long as there were Magpies flying around and they will not leave him in peace.


  1. The Magpies seems particularly intent on harassing the poor Little Owl. It reminds me of the strange tales of animal friendships and feuds some Greek authors recorded (much of it was later validated by modern ornithologists).

    That is such a great picture of the teen Wagtail! Lovely to see that Blondie's babies are now quite strapping young Geese.

    1. The Greeks did observe bird behaviour, if only for the purpose of taking omens from it. It's always the Magpies that are hardest on the Little Owl, it seems pointlessly as one would never attack a Magpie nest -- they will take baby birds, but not in the face of determined opposition.

  2. BTW, is this Swan behaving normally? That was violent behaviour even for swan standards.

    1. All too normal, though the swan seems to have above average skill in grabbing these fast moving birds.

  3. Are Jays less common at this time of year? The reason for asking is that I saw one the other day in Kensington Gardens and I was surprised that you have not mentioned seeing them.
    [url=][img][/img][/url][url=]Jay EF7A4405[/url] by [url=]davholla2002[/url], on Flickr

  4. Maybe this link will work better

    1. There are a fair number of Jays. I fed two from my hand today. I don't publish pictures of them very often, beautiful as they are, because they are such a familiar sight. Good picture on Flickr.