Thursday, 22 June 2017

There is a new Egyptian Goose family on the Long Water. They were on the gravel bank at the Vista with eight goslings.

This is probably the pair that have bred once already this year and lost all their brood in a few days -- not the notoriously incompetent pair that have been trying to breed here for years, but still not skilled at parenthood.

The dominant Mute Swans were also on the gravel with their cygnets when another swan with four cygnets came under the bridge on to the Long Water.

I didn't wait to see the male dominant swan get off the bank and chase off the intruders. But he seems to have got rid of the swan that tried to nest in the reed bed yesterday.

The Mandarin family went past the bank. Only two ducklings are left, but they are now quite large and likely to survive.

There are still five Mallard ducklings on the Long Water. They were at Peter Pan, playing around a post on which their mother was preening.

The young Great Crested Grebe on the Serpentine was fishing near the island.

The new grebe family were on the east side of the Long Water, where overhanging bushes provide excellent cover. Their mother arrived with a small fish for one of the chicks.

On the other side near the bridge, a Moorhen was feeding two chicks in a nest in the reed bed.

Two cygnets were preening on one of the plant rafts at the east end of the Serpentine -- not that there are many plants left here, as these have been ripped up by their parents. The raft is pitching up and down in the waves, giving an odd impression that the ground is moving.

One of the young Grey Wagtails was taking advantage of a brief sunny spell to bask in a flower bed at the Lido restaurant.

The other was on the shore by the restaurant terrace. Spilt food makes this an excellent place for the insects they eat.

The Blue Tits are moulting, and looking very tatty.

A young Jackdaw was being fed by its parent near the Italian Garden.

Jackdaws are breeding well here now, and their numbers are going up noticeably.

One of the young Carrion Crows on Buck Hill was being given a peanut.

A young Magpie in the Dell was begging for food from a parent.

There was no sign of the Little Owls, despite three visits to their chestnut tree. But there is some news about the Tawny Owls. Paul has heard them calling in a group of chestnut trees and one tall lime tree a few yards southwest of the Italian Garden, on the west side of the path that leads to the Physical Energy statue. He actually saw one fly over his head late one evening. Here is a sound recording he made of the male owl calling.


  1. I really hope someone finds a tawny owl nest, I have never seen them in the wild. Excellent blog as always btw

    1. The search is on. It's surprisingly difficult. The days when a pair conveniently appeared on one tree are gone.

  2. I've been studying the Black Swans in St James's Park. There are now 4. One of them has been in the park for some while. It is usually at the Palace end of the park. There's a pair which arrived earlier this year, and live at the Horseguards end. Then there's another single bird which arrived more recently. This bird is quite assertive and often swims along the stretch of the lake near the cafe looking for food. This evening it was chasing the pair away from this area.
    If you have a chance Ralph, could you have a another look at this bird? It does remind me of our much-missed friend. I'd be really interested to know what you think

    1. Didn't know that there are four there now. On an earlier visit I saw what I think was 'our' swan, but couldn't get close enough to attract its intention. Will try again when I have a moment.

  3. great news about the tawny !!!.. i could play the clip on my device !. .

    1. Well, if you can play a sound clip, all you need is the right browser to be able to play YouTube clips. As I said, I recommend Cliqz. It's very simple, and saves your data allowance by blocking all ads. It's in the Google Play Store, and free.