Tuesday, 16 May 2017

There were two Bar-Headed Geese on the Serpentine yesterday, and they are probably still there though I couldn't see them today. Virginia sent me this elegant picture.

Let's hope they are a couple and manage to breed. There is a small feral population of Bar-Headed Geese in Britain now, descended from birds escaped from collections.

The Greylag Geese have formed a collective nursery in the usual place on the south bank of the Serpentine, and here are all ten goslings.

The solitary Canada gosling was drinking from a puddle.

The female Mute Swan on the Long Water had gathered her cygnets on to the little island.

The other family on the Serpentine came over to eat some grain that Paul had thrown to them.

A swan nesting on one of the rafts at the east end of the Serpentine was panting on quite a warm day.

She could easily have got off the nest for a couple of minutes and had a cooling swim and a drink, but hung on stubbornly. This pair have now completely excluded the Canada Goose that was nesting on the raft, and the eggs are abandoned.

But Moorhens have built a well hidden nest on the raft only a couple of feet away.

There were few gulls on the lake today, and the parents of the single Coot chick on the basket near the bridge felt confident enough to leave it alone on the nest for a minute while they fetched food.

The Great Crested Grebes from the nest on the island definitely have only one chick left. They were clearly struggling to feed three, as it's not the right time of year for there to be a supply of small fish. But this one has grown well, and may make it.

The young Grey Heron, also a lone survivor of three, was basking in the sunshine near the top of a tree. So it can fly now, and seems to be skilled enough to do a pinpoint landing on a branch.

One of its parents was sitting (if that's the word) in a very odd position on the roof of the small electric boat. The canvas awning has been much torn by Herring Gulls with nothing better to do.

House Martins were paying serious attention to nest holes in the cornice of the Kuwaiti Embassy.

I watched for several minutes, and reckon that five holes are occupied. More may follow -- there were seven last year.

A Sparrowhawk arrived and chased them, but didn't catch any. The local Hobby would probably have been more successful, as these can catch even Swifts in flight.

Some Carrion Crows were playing with an empty plastic tub beside the Serpentine. One seized it and ran away to enjoy the glittering toy in private.

The Mistle Thrushes near Queen's Gate were out on the grass.

The Little Owl was on his favourite summer perch on the chestnut near the leaf yard. The growing leaves are already making it a difficult place to photograph.


  1. Hi Ralph,

    just to let you know that one of the goslings in the Greylag family is a Canada goose one. Just spotted it today, he looks a little different, more yellow than green, feet black and eyes round black too. There is another Canada goose family I spotted at the Lido today, they have 5 goslings same size as the solitary one, I suspect some of these could be siblings of the solitary one, they are the same size. Probably just mixed in, same occurence as last year.

  2. And we thought last year was chaotic. Thanks for the information, will keep a look out.

  3. I guess we had never really experienced it before until last year and possibly this season as well. The animals on the lake seem more and more successful in breeding now. I remember a few years back there were hardly any babies. Frighteningly, today I have seen hundreds of herring gulls like never before. I wonder what type of weather brings them in? Hopefully the breeze will stop soon.

    1. I don't think the Herring Gulls need to be brought any more. They are breeding in Paddington on one, possibly two rooftops.

  4. There's a group of 20-25 young Herring Gulls in St James's Park. This must present a threat to the goslings, though the Greylags are doing well at the moment. There are also 2 Great Crested Grebe chicks which are large enough not to worry about the gulls.