Monday 30 March 2015

The young male Mute Swan who was behaving so wildly at the east end of the Serpentine on Saturday has found a mate his own age, and the two were displaying elegantly. It seems that female swans find riotous conduct attractive.

However, the two have a very small chance of finding a nest site. For all his swagger, the young male is very low in status and there are very few nest sites to be found on the lake. Another pair of swans has been looking at a site in the reed bed near the Diana memorial, but they have not definitely claimed it yet and both were away from it when I went by. Meanwhile, the pair on the Long Water, who are definitely at the top of the swan pecking order, are comfortable on their new island apart from a slightly annoying visit from a pair of Coots also looking for a nest site.

The six young Egyptian Geese at the Round Pond are in good order but were feeling cold, and crept one by one under their mother's wings.

Two pairs of Mandarins have moved from the Long Water to the Serpentine. One is on the island, evidently intending to nest in a tree there. The other pair has been hanging around near the Dell restaurant, touting for food from visitors.

Both places have possibilities as nest sites, since wire baskets of water plants provide shelter for the young, but there are a lot of hungry Herring Gulls on the lake.

One of these was playing the drop and catch game a short way up the lake. So far I haven't seen one fly higher and try to catch its toy in midair, a trick that Herring Gulls can pull off but it requires practice.

I couldn't find the Scaup or the Goldeneye today, despite going round the Serpentine looking for them with binoculars.

A Grey Heron was perched on the top of a tall tree beside the Long Water, with its straggly feathers blowing in the wind.

Forty feet lower, a Blue Tit was staring at the camera, waiting impatiently to be fed.

There is a freshly made Green Woodpecker hole in a dead tree near the Tawny Owls' nest tree. This is the topless, branchless trunk that had oyster mushrooms growing all over it, though someone has now knocked them all off.

The tree is completely hollow and very rotten, with many insect holes showing where the bark has come off. It looks as if the lower hole made by the Woodpecker was unsatisfactory because the wood was too thin here, and that the bird has made a new hole higher up. Green Woodpeckers have often been seen in this area.

The Tawny Owls have still not been found again. Paul Turner spent three hours this morning looking for them, and heard the male owl calling a couple of hundred yards west of the nest tree. Perhaps they have put their owlets inside one of the many hollow trees in this area.

Both Little Owls were visible. The male looked out of the nest hole briefly, and later the female appeared in the adjacent chestnut tree peering round the corner of the hole.


  1. Blue tits are so lovely!!! Thanks for yet another wonderful picture! Laura

    1. The swan photo and narrative are also enchanting. :)