Saturday, 7 July 2018

You wait twenty years for Tufted Ducks to breed on the Serpentine, then two families come along at once. Virginia found a second brood of seven ducklings at the island this morning. Here is her picture of them.

The first family were on the other side of the lake.

Virginia also got a fine shot of one of the ducklings diving ...

... and Tom neatly captured one of them standing on its mother's back, as if skateboarding.

A pair of Egyptian Geese with three goslings on the Serpentine have picked up a fourth, much smaller than the others, which has strayed from a younger family. It is happily accepted by its parents and siblings.

When you look down from the bridge on to the Long Water on a sunny day, you can see towers of algae extending up from the bottom of the lake, not yet quite high enough to hinder the passage of these Canada Geese, but if the hot weather continues they will probably reach the surface.

Looking from the same place, you can also distantly see -- and hear -- the pair of Little Grebes. It is likely that they are nesting here. There are several clumps of floating rubbish here, and Little Grebes often build nests in such places, almost indistinguishable from the surrounding rubbish.

Just the other side of the bridge, the three Great Crested Grebe chicks are now following their parents when they dive. This is how they learn to fish, and it also shows them where the best fishing places in the lake are.

The Coot family under the balustrade of the Italian Garden relaxed on a rock.

At the other end of the balustrade, the new Coot nest in the reed bed has hatched out.

Abigail found out why we aren't seeing much of the notorious pigeon-killing Lesser Black-Backed Gull. In the hot weather he has taken to hunting early in the morning, which is when she got this picture.

Two young Carrion Crows on Buck Hill were still having a lot of difficulty getting peanuts out of their shells. In the end they turned to a parent to do it for them. But they will get the trick soon.

The Little Owl at the leaf yard was in the upper of the two chestnut trees again. He has not settled for a favourite branch in this tree, which makes him quite hard to find.

A few yards ago, in one of the small rowan trees, a Great Tit stayed in the shade of the leaves, panting with the heat.


  1. I have read that there is a heat wave right now in England. Funnily enough, we are relatively cool in Spain right now (a mere 32ºC, very small potatoes).

    Love the pictures of the Tufted ducklings! It's great that there are two families now.

    1. If the temperature goes above lukewarm here, people start moaning about a heatwave. I think it reached 29°C here, pleasantly warm and I have taken off my tweed overcoat.

  2. Aren't the algal towers constantly being cropped down by the swans, or are there conditions e.g. pair with very large territory, enough days of bright sunshine, in which the swans get overwhelmed?

    Seems pretty brazen of the pigeon-killer to allow a shot from that angle, or was it from a raised structure? Jim

    1. It's possible. But I haven't seen the two Long Water swans and four cygnets swans feeding in the area of the tall towers of algae. They seem to prefer the shallower water at the edges and upper end of the lake.

      When the pigeon killer is busy eating, you can walk quite close to him and take a downward shot. Or at least you can do this if you are a familiar passer by -- I'm sure he recognises the regulars with their cameras.

  3. Great you've got a second Tuftie brood. They are such characters!Hope they can avoid the gulls.

    1. Compared the the easily taken Mallard ducklings, they have the advantage of being able to dive almost as fast as a Little Grebe. But they remain tiny for a long time.