Saturday 5 April 2014

The Mute Swans nesting in the reeds near the Italian Garden have five eggs, and all is going well so far. Here the male swan arrives to change places with his mate while she goes off to eat.

He doesn't usually sit on the eggs. She covers them up before she leaves, which keeps them both warm and safe, and he stands beside the nest. People sometimes say to me that the swans have lost all their eggs, but no, they are well hidden in what looks just like an empty nest.

The swans that nested in the reeds near the Diana fountain really have lost their eggs, though, as a broken egg could be seen from the path and they have deserted their nest. It was probably the work of a fox.

Nearby on the Serpentine a group of swans were washing themselves with great vigour. They like to do this in company, and there seems to be a contest for who can splash most strongly.

The Coots' nest in the overhanging alder tree near Peter Pan has reached an imposing size as the birds obsessively keep on adding twigs. They have decorated it with a red crisp packet, their favourite colour.

The net protecting the dead reed bed to the east of the Lido is a popular station for Pied Wagtails. It gives them a convenient place to watch the insects flying low over the water, and leap into the air and grab them.

A group of Wood Pigeons were eating leaf buds in a tree near the Round Pond.

There is a new Great Crested Grebes' nest behind the wire baskets at the northwest corner of the Serpentine island. It is hidden behind the basket, and all you see is a crested head poking up occasionally. A nest in this place successfully produced two chicks last year. But it is probably too early for this pair to succeed, as there are no fish small enough for the chicks, and they will probably give up and wait till the year's new fish fry are large enough to be worth catching.

There was no sign of any of the owls when I visited their trees. The weekend visitors would have scared the Little Owls back into their hole, and the Tawny has a schedule of his own.

The blonde Egyptian Goose hatched last year at the east end of the Serpentine was near her birthplace, carefully picking out a piece of thread that had got entangled in the feathers of her right wing.

She is slightly blonder than the identical sisters that have recently arrived on the lake and can be seen around the new floating reed beds. All three are smaller than average; I don't know whether this is associated with their colouring.


  1. One of the little owls was sitting in the rain in the chestnut tree with brambles round it, this morning at about 9am, getting scolded by a wren. I got followed by flock of blue and great tits from the tawny owl tree over to the little owl tree and back again, with them flying round me as I walked across open areas. Unfortunately I didn't have any food.

    1. Thanks for the information. They never do what you expect, do they?