Tuesday 31 May 2016

After a wet and dismal day, it's a pleasure to have one cheerful photograph, again by Virginia Grey: a Pochard with one chick.

Only a couple of pairs of Pochards are permanent residents in the park; all the others are winter migrants. And this is the first time I have known them to breed here -- though we have seen breeding by Red Crested Pochards, which are another species entirely.

A young Egyptian Goose sheltered under its mother from the heavy rain.

The Mute Swan cygnets on the little island in the Long Water were also sheltering under their mother's wings. You can just see one little grey foot here.

There are only five cygnets now. One was noticeably weaker than the others, and sadly hasn't made it.

The mixed brood of Canada Geese on the Serpentine have also lost two. Here the single older gosling leads the family across the Serpentine.

There was another pair of Canadas near this group. But it is not at all clear whose offspring is whose.

This Canada-Greylag hybrid is new to the park, I think. It has dull yellow feet.

At the beginning of June, both Canadas and Greylags begin to arrive from smaller ponds to take refuge on the lake while they are moulting and flightless.

One of the Bar-Headed Geese was visible near the Dell restaurant. Have they come for the same reason?

There was also a group of three Grey Herons here. They fly in from Regent's Park, where herons are much more numerous, and sometimes you see them passing high over Oxford Street on their journeys to and fro.

Another Grey Heron was walking round all the ponds in the Italian Garden, looking attentively into the water. There are fish in these ponds, both perch and carp, but they are hard for herons to catch as the water is too deep for them to stand in.

The Coots nesting on the post near Peter Pan had decorated their dangerously exposed nest with ivy and a crisp packet.

The rain didn't deter several Goldcrests from singing.

The Little Owl came out of the hole in his chestnut tree, almost invisible in the deep shade and the dim light of a rainy morning.


  1. I should say KP Salted Peanuts, rather than crisps, from the 'jizz' of the packaging; but snack idents are not my real strength.

  2. Hi Ralph,

    I'm interested in the photo of the bird you describe as a Canada-Greylag hybrid as it differs from typical examples of that hybrid. A group of friends who are experienced with goose hybrids brought this to my attention and we agree that this is more likely to be a Bar-headed Goose x Canada Goose hybrid (one of my friends tried to leave a comment but for some reason it did not work).

    We would love to include your photo in the Bird Hybrids project at http://birdhybrids.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/bar-headed-goose-x-canda-goose.html - would you be agreeable to us doing that? If you have any other photos of this bird I would be interested in seeing them too.

    Many thanks,

    1. Yes, I think you're right about its Bar-Headed look. I wasn't looking at it very critically, as we have a fair number of ordinary Canada x Greylag hybrids and they are very varied in appearance.

      That's my only picture of this bird, which I never saw again. You are very welcome to use it. Will the 1000 x 750 pixel version downloadable from the blog be large enough for your purpose? I still have the huge 36-megapixel original.

    2. Thanks Ralph. This size is fine - I've added it now, many thanks.