Tuesday 12 April 2016

A most unusual sight on the edge of the Serpentine: a toad. It was stranded on the tarmac and would have been squashed trying to cross the road, so I picked it up and took it to the edge of the garden of the Ranger's Lodge where there is a little pond, and dropped it over the fence into a patch of ivy.

Later I met Malcolm the Wildlife Officer, who said that it had probably been picked up by a Grey Heron somewhere and dropped. It was uninjured and walking perfectly well, thought a lot of seeds were stuck to its skin.

Toads, frogs and newts are rarely seen in the park now. Malcolm said that several decades ago there had been a colony of Great Crested Newts on the Long Water, but they have gone.

So far, only one of the reed rafts at the east end of the Serpentine has had its fence mended. But this is the raft that a Mute Swan chose to climb on to. It had some difficulty getting out again.

Eventually it found the place where it had climbed in, where the fence was already bent down a bit. It seems that you can't keep swans off these rafts once they have got the idea of climbing on to them.

I couldn't find the Black Swan again, despite carefully examining the west shore of the Long Water from the other side.

A Great Crested Grebe was fishing around the wire baskets of twigs under the bridge.

There are still three Mandarins on the Serpentine: two males and a female.

The ones on the Long Water have disappeared. Some females may be nesting in tree holes. But the Mandarins on the lake come and go, as their real headquarters are on the Regent's Canal.

Here is one of the many Blackcaps that can be seen around the Long Water. It's a female, as you can see from a glimpse of its brown head.

A Long-Tailed Tit was visible near the nest between Peter Pan and the Italian Garden. Achmet Amerkali has seen five around here, and it seems that it is a family group cooperating around one nest, as Long-Tailed Tits do.

There was a Wren on a bramble not far away.

This Little Owl in the oak tree near the Albert Memorial looks to be the female, taking a break from sitting on her eggs.

The usual male was in the lime tree near the Henry Moore.

There were a lot of baby rabbits around the sculpture.

More can be seen in the shrubbery to the north, all the way to the Italian Garden.


  1. Unusually, I saw THREE male Mandarins and one female on the Serpentine around 6.30pm. Two of the males were not at all happy about the presence of the third, and chased him off.
    One of the Little Owls in the bramble-encircled tree near the Leaf Yard posed nicely for me to photograph him around 6.45pm.

    1. The leaf yard owl seems to have taken to coming out early or late, but not in the middle of the day. I think that when there are more leaves, and the weather is warmer, he'll stay out longer. We may have some owlets too, of course.

  2. I just saw the Black Swan on the shingle bank on the Long Water along with his young lady friend and many other swans

  3. Where would such a careless grey heron have first acquired an amphibian do you think Ralph? I would expect it to have been well and truly skewered in the process.

    Love the mute swan shopping basket.

    1. Possibly in the Ranger's Lodge garden, where I put it back. The tarmac edge of the lake is not friendly to amphibians.