Sunday 10 June 2012

A pair of Blackbirds followed me persistently between the leaf yard and the owls' tree, demanding food which they took to a young sweet chestnut tree a short way off. So they have a nest there. I did not explore further, since Blackbirds are so threatened in the park that one should do nothing to disturb them, but will keep an eye out for young birds -- large, fluffy and awkward. There is also a Song Thrush nest on the west side of the Long Water near the bridge, well hidden but its existence can be deduced from the behaviour of the parents.

All the Mute Swans' 17 surviving cygnets and 8 young Egyptian Geese could be seen on the Serpentine. Sunday is a busy day for them, as there are plenty of visitors to feed them bread. It isn't good for them, but with luck the plentiful algae and grass will supply the nutrients not provided by bread.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull had just claimed a new victim and was devouring it on the edge of the Serpentine, quite undisturbed by the people milling around on the shore and frequently exclaiming at the bloody spectacle.

On the other side of the lake, a first-year gull was having no luck with some young Coots. Their parents had nested in one of the nets put there to protect the reeds, so that their brood was perfectly safe. The gardeners had put extra netting behind the nest in an effort to stop the Coots from chewing up the reeds, but of course the persistent birds had found a way through it at once.

At the Lido restaurant there were raids of a different kind, as Starlings took advantage of the humans eating at outside tables. People shooed them away without much result. I would be happy enough to spare a few cake crumbs to watch these beautiful and agile birds going about their business.

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