Saturday 28 March 2015

Today was the annual visit of the London Natural History Society to the park, and I went round with them. It was a grey day and the birds were being awkward. The female Little Owl, of whom I had got a brief and distant glimpse earlier ...

... stayed in her hole. The Goldeneye had also disappeared, and only came into sight later, when I had said goodbye to the party. As usual she was at the east end of the Serpentine.

The Scaup remained invisible. Perhaps he was on the island, where I saw him yesterday.

However, we did see a Red Kite passing high over the Long Water, still a rare sight in Central London though their numbers are increasing.

At the east end of the Serpentine, a young Mute Swan was chasing and attacking an older one. The attacker seems to be male and the victim female, so it may be amorous horseplay.

I think this is one of the young swans from last year's nest on the Long Water. Their father has brought them up to be very aggressive even by the rough standards of swans.

The male pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull was taking time off from his hunting to play with what looked like a small bottle, flying up with it, dropping it, and diving to catch it.

This is just play, but it also hones his pigeon-catching skill.

The larger of the two recently active Grey Heron nests on the island was occupied again, after an interval of several weeks.

It is impossible to tell whether these birds are serious about nesting or not, but they have abandoned their attempts in the two previous years.

The Moorhens at the southwest corner of the bridge do really intend to nest in a large drain on the edge of the water, and were chasing each other to gain possession of it.

They have used this drain every year for as long as I can remember. It seems that it has got disconnected from the drainage system, as their nest has never been washed out even after heavy rain.

On the other side of the Long Water, a Blue Tit was flying in and out of a nestbox.

The metal surround of the 1 inch hole stops another bird from enlarging it and taking the box from the Blue Tit, which is just small enough to squeeze through.


  1. More swan activity among the reeds at the Diana memorial. A week or so ago I saw a swan busily plucking and laying reeds but then it all went quiet so I assumed it was a false alarm. Today, mid-afternoon, she was back doing some serious sitting (if such a thing is possible!) with a companion dozing the other side of the wire. It looked promising.

    1. Sadly, the foxes know about this place and raided it in 2013 and 2014, though in 2012 the swans got away with it. You will remember, that year the family was seized by humans before the Olympics and sent up the river.