Saturday 13 October 2012

There was a report on the London Bird Club Wiki that a Long-Tailed Duck had been seen on the Long Water. I went carefully round the Long Water twice, and the Serpentine and Round Pond once, to try to see this unusual visitor, but with no luck. The Long Water has almost as much waterside vegetation as a natural lake and, even if a bird is there, it may escape notice. It is not the first Long-Tailed Duck to be seen in the park, and is probably an escape from a collection, but still very much worth looking for.

Odd ducks do often turn up on the lake. In recent years I have seen Garganey, Goldeneye, Pintail and Wigeon, perhaps visiting from the Wetland Centre at Barnes, perhaps from elsewhere.

One of the most noticeable escapes (noticeable in every sense) is the Mandarins, which presumably originated in Regent's Park as they breed along the Regent's Canal. Their attempts at breeding on the Long Water have been less successful because of the big gulls, and it is rare for a brood to survive any length of time. This male seen on the lake today was in his full finery.

Here is a second-year Herring Gull, to compare with the third-year one pictured in yesterday's post. It retains much of its tweedy first-year plumage but is beginning to go pale grey along the back.

Herring Gulls of these intermediate years are quite common on the Serpentine, but for some reason the Lesser Black-Backed Gulls are almost always either first-year or adult.

The three speckled Canada-Greylag hybrid geese which go around together, and are clearly siblings, are still on the lake.

And the number of Cormorants continues to increase: every day now there are more than 40. At the Serpentine island they have run out of posts to perch on and are having to stand on the baskets or under the trees on the island.

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