Monday 20 May 2013

A Grey Heron is back in one of the nests on the Serpentine island.

As you can see, it is quite a young bird and I am not sure whether it is serious about nesting. But it is remarkable how, after all that activity in the early spring, the herons seem to have abandoned their breeding plans. They are not alone in this, of course, as the dismally cold spring has disturbed the schedules of many birds and other creatures, and indeed plants.

The Mute Swans' nest site on the island is still untenanted, though I did see a couple hanging around the spot. This is odd when less suitable sites have already been occupied.

However, some are getting on with it. This Pied Wagtail was running and flying along the south edge of the Serpentine picking up one insect after another, and eventually flew off carrying a large beakful to its nest.

They nest in holes in walls, or under stones, or in the old nests of larger birds which they adapt for their small purposes. From the direction in which this bird flew, I think it was going to the Dell, where there are rough stone walls intended to look like natural rock ledges.

The Little Owl was also standing outside his nest somewhere in the broken-down old sweet chestnut tree that the couple have chosen.

I do hope we shall get a glimpse of the owlets when they emerge, which will make up for the disappointing viewing conditions for the Tawny Owls this year -- no one has seen these since the 6th, as far as I know.

The Greylag Geese with four Goslings were defending their patch with great vigour. Here the gander chases off a Mute Swan that had got too close.

A large cloud of flies had gathered over the Serpentine Gallery for some reason, possibly to admire the new pavilion by Sou Fujimoto, which looks like being one of the gallery's greatest successes in contrast to the dismal underground concrete thing last year. Some Swifts had discovered them and were fairly hoovering them up as I passed.

The new family of Great Crested Grebes on the Serpentine island seemed to be in good order. I couln't count the chicks, as a Lesser Black-Backed Gull was glaring at them from a nearby post and they were rightly sheltering under their parent's wings.

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