Sunday 31 January 2016

The Black Swan's old girlfriend passed him on the Serpentine. He gave her a mild greeting, but she swept by with a haughty air.

He went back to his new girlfriend and they cruised away side by side.

The Great Crested Grebes building a nest under the willow tree near the bridge had added some more bits of slimy weed and randomly placed twigs and gone away. A Coot came in and started dismantling the nest to build a better made one of its own.

But one of the grebes saw this and came over. The Coot left hastily, and the grebe replaced the bit of weed that the Coot had pulled off.

A grebe's nest may look like a mess to us, but they know what they like.

Another grebe near the Italian Garden was fishing around the edge of one of the water bubblers.

These seem to be favoured areas, probably because the bubbles bring up bits of edible stuff that the fish can eat. However, the grebe didn't catch anything while I was there. The Cormorants have reduced fish stocks to a minimum. This also means that nothing will come of the grebes' nest by the bridge, and the birds will have to wait till summer before they can make a serious attempt at breeding.

This tangle of enormous the Grey Herons' nest on the island turns out, on closer inspection, to be the pair mating.

The heron nest that was occupied by Egyptian Geese still has one sitting there, which you can see when it puts its head up. I think it's nesting seriously rather than just squatting. Egyptians have no idea of a breeding season and will try whenever they feel like it.

A young Herring Gull was playing with a piece of wood. It dropped it into the water and dived vertically to catch it.

A Carrion Crow landed on the roof of one of the small boathouses, and several Herring Gulls that had been sitting there left at once. Crows chase gulls, and the gulls regard them as a serious nuisance.

A pair of Long-Tailed Tits were calling to each other in the shrubbery on the east side of the Long Water.

There was another pair on the other side. Their usual winter habit is to go around in flocks. It seems that the false dawn of spring has affected them too.

Coal Tits have been singing in the past few days. But they usually start early.

And two Nuthatches were calling to each other in the treetops near Queen's Gate.


  1. Coots know how to make a nuisance of themselves. Talk about a hobby (in their case, nest-building and interior decorating) getting out of hand!

    This strange-looking winter/spring hybrid is driving everyone crazy. Blackbirds are in full song, and storks are starting to mate. Our "local" short-toed eagle, which flew down to Africa in September right on schedule, appears to have returned, a full month earlier than it should. I hope I am wrong, as I only caught a glimpse of it while driving

    1. Yes, it's worrying, whether or not the mild weather continues. Three frosty days here didn't stop the birds and the blossoms from carrying on. Who knows how it will end?

  2. The young Herring Gull is interesting. As far as I know, it is not usual for gulls to dive like this, so this is a good photograph of unusual behaviour.

    1. Our Herring Gulls do this all the time. The lake is shallow and they can pick things off the bottom, which they then play with as toys. It is only the young gulls that show this behaviour.