Thursday 9 July 2015

A male Blackcap was singing in a tree near the Italian Garden, with his family bustling around him in the leaves. One of the young ones came out on a twig and looked at me for a few seconds. The shy adults would never do that.

The two Mallard ducklings at Peter Pan have survived another day, though there were half a dozen Lesser Black-Backed Gulls only a few yards away.

So has the undersized young Egyptian Goose on the Serpentine. Its siblings standing beside it are already growing their wing feathers, but it looks only about a fortnight old. Somehow it is clinging to life.

When Isaac Newton was born on Christmas Day 1642, he was so small that he was not expected to live. But he lived to be 84. Maybe this little creature will grow up to be a prodigy among Egyptian Geese.

The horned pondweed that is flourishing all over the Long Water is at least palatable to the Canada goslings.

A Grey Heron was looking longingly at some carp in the little stream in the Dell.

This is the only place where the buried Westbourne river actually looks like one. It runs all the way from the top of the hill at Hampstead to the Thames near Chelsea Bridge without seeing the light at any other point. Originally the Serpentine was a flat valley where the meandering river fed carp ponds, made so that the monks of Westminster could eat fish on Fridays. Perhaps these carp are descendants of the medieval fish.

Just above this scene, at the east end of the Serpentine, a Great Crested Grebe was hunting other, smaller fish.

A Wood Pigeon was sunbathing in the shrubbery near the bridge.

A young Carrion Crow, still with blue eyes, was drinking at the edge of the Round Pond. Like most of the young crows it has a few white feathers. The lack of pigment is probably caused by their diet of junk food scavenged from park bins and cheap restaurants in Queensway.

Under the balustrade of the Italian Garden, a female Emperor dragonfly was laying eggs on a floating twig.

This place collects all kind of wind-blown detritus that is never cleared up, so it is an ideal spot for dragonfly larvae to develop. Consequently, the area is thronged with them in summer.


  1. Ralph, the shenanigans at the village pond continue. One heron has taken over the coots' second nest. He/She has now been joined by another adult heron - are they a pair?

    The two tiny coot chicks have retired to nest no one, and are thankfully doing very well, with mum & dad in attendance. The pond is stuffed with fish, so hopefully the herons would not attack the chicks?

    1. The herons don't want the nest as a nest. Coots' nests make convenient fishing platforms. If they are together and not fighting, they must be a pair. They wouldn't hesitate to take Coot chicks, which are much less trouble to catch than fish.

    2. Oh thank you Ralph. Yes, everything you say rings true from what I saw - the heron sat on the nest briefly, but was mainly standing on it. Drat them if they take the Coot chicks though! The pond water level is dropping, so the fish are absolutely packed in there for the taking...hopefully that might help.