Tuesday 9 June 2015

The new pair of Mute Swans on the Long Water have now definitely taken control of their island. Here the female is rearranging reeds to make her nest comfortable.

Meanwhile the male was trying to chase the previous users of the island, the Canada Goose family, into a corner. But since they were going there anyway, to eat grass on the bank, his efforts were wasted and he swam off sulkily to bully the swans near Peter Pan.

The yellowish-grey colour of the goslings is an effective camouflage among the reeds.

A pair of Coots is building a huge nest just north of the Vista. Once they start adding twigs they can't stop.

The Moorhens in the Italian Garden pond seem to have lost their chicks, possibly to the Grey Heron who was fishing in the same pond. They have now started building a nest in a clump of plants in another pond less visited by the heron. Here one of them dives into the clump carrying a bit of dead reed for a nest lining.

A few warm days have brought a strong growth of the stringy plant whose name I have forgotten -- Gino, who knows about these things, explained to me once that it was not an alga but a true plant, and told me what it was called. It is very palatable to all the plant-eating water birds, including this Greylag gosling ...

... a Coot chick ...

... and the latest brood of Egyptian Geese.

The adopted Egyptian Goose is growing up, and is definitely going to be one of the blonde ones with no eye patch.

Today it was the turn of the male Little Owl to appear in the pair's nest tree.


  1. Ralph, I was hugely excited to see three herons standing reasonably near to each other in a field by Hambledon lock near Henley. Might they have been related? It's possible that there was a large one and two slightly smaller ones (but they were dotted around and so it was hard to tell). I have never seen a group like that before.

  2. I think they must have been a family, or they'd have been fighting each other. Only in the crowded space of Regent's Park, where there are at least 30 herons, maybe 50, do they coexist fairly peacefully. However, you can tell when Grey Herons are young -- they're a much more uniform grey than adults.

  3. Ah, so helpful. The biggest heron was more markedly contrasting in colours - plenty of black and white. The slightly smaller ones were so pale grey we almost didn't see them against the bleached grass. Thanks a lot. I think it must have been a family.