Sunday, 18 June 2017

It was a hot day and the birds, like the humans, weren't doing much. A Cormorant was keeping cool by vibrating its throat, which acts like a fan to cool the air it breathes.

A Coot and a Canada Goose were cooling down with an ice cream cone.

The hot weather has caused a big growth of algae on the Long Water. There are fish sheltering under it, but can the Grey Heron see them?

The Great Crested Grebe that was abandoned by its parents is showing considerable resourefulness, examining all kinds of places for small edible creatures, and fishing in mid-water like an adult.

We can't see what it's catching -- probably mostly insect larvae. But there are already some young fish, so small that they can only be seen when they're in clear water right at the edge.

The two Canada Goose families that have united have been successful in keeping all ten goslings. Having four watchful parents is a great advantage.

In contrast, there have been severe losses among the Mute Swans, and even the dominant pair on the Long Water have lost one cygnet. But their remaining four are growing well.

Most of the Egyptian Geese have a pile-'em-high-sell-'em-cheap attitude to breeding. The youngest gosling on the Serpentine is the sole survivor of a brood of, I think, seven.

An Egyptian and a heron had an uneasy truce on top of the Henry Moore sculpture.

Three teenage Coots were preening together on the ornamental rock under the parapet of the Italian Garden. This is the only rock in the lake, and is much sought after by birds of all kinds. Some more rocks would be a good addition.

The rafts at the east end of the Serpentine have been successful in attracting wildlife, though they really need repairs after the destruction caused by nesting swans. The White Mallard and his male friend were preening on an area flattened by a swan.

Their shared mate hasn't been with them for several days. The Mallards are moulting, and for once have lost interest in sex.

Here is a close-up view of the Greylag Goose with the white forehead, showing its remarkable blue eye.

In most birds leucism -- having white patches of feathers or being entirely white -- doesn't affect eye colour, and the white Mallard, for example, has normal dark eyes. But it seems that things are different with geese. There are also albino birds, in which all colour is lost, but these are much rarer than leucistic ones, and usually don't live long as they can't see well with their pink eyes.

The Grey Wagtails from the nest at the bridge were moving around. One was in a tree near the nest, scolding a Magpie, but I couldn't get a picture through the twigs. This is the female adult on the edge of the Serpentine.

There was no sign of the Little Owls. They may have been keeping cool in the shade of the leaf yard. There was a Stock Dove in one of their usual chestnut trees.


  1. 'My' sparrows are hiding themselves now underneath cars. They chirp and move until approximately 9:30 AM and then they disappear until very late in the evening. Same with swifts, who I imagine just fly upwards towards the cooler air. O for the wings of a swift, to change the verse slightly.

    Great to see that the abandoned Great Crested Grebe is doing so well. It really is a testimony to birds' infinite resourceness.