Monday 11 May 2015

The first Mallard ducklings have come out. This family was near the bridge.

But their existence is precarious, and few survive. This one, at the east end of the Serpentine, had got separated from its parents and was wandering around piping piteously.

It found a female Mallard that was not is mother, and eventually climbed into the floating reed bed, safe from the big gulls flying around.

A Mute Swan on the Serpentine was preening his wing. It looks a pretty rough procedure which you would think would shred the feathers, especially considering that swans have serrations on the inside of their bills. But actually it straightens the barbs on the feathers, and they last in good condition for a year before they are replaced.

We have definite word of what happened to the swans on the Long Water. It was the female of the pair who was picked up dead. When Marie first rang the Wildlife Officer's office she was given a completely confused account of what happened, leading to fruitless speculation. The male has been on the Serpentine, perhaps already looking for a new mate, but I saw him today alone on the Long Water near the bridge.

More happily, all the Egyptian broods are thriving. This is one of the older family on the Serpentine, doing the goose step.

The wagtails have started standing on the posts holding up the net over the tattered reed bed east of the Lido. They do this when there are plenty of insects flying around, using the post as a base from which to leap into the air and catch their prey. This Grey Wagtail, the male of the pair from the Dell ...

... flew on to the next post and was instantly replaced by a Pied Wagtail, also male as you can tell from his black back. Females have grey backs.

A Grey Heron was circling high over the Parade Ground, soaring up on a thermal in the same way as a gull or a raptor would. When it had reached a height of several hundred feet it sloped away in the direction of Regent's Park.

A Jackdaw was drinking on the edge of the Serpentine.

The male Little Owl came out of his nest hole and gave me a severe look.

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