Friday 13 May 2016

For several days twitterings have been coming from the Starlings' nests in the plane trees near the small boathouses, and today one of the nestlings poked its head out of a hole, waiting to be first when its parent came back with a caterpillar or a potato chip.

There was also a young Pied Wagtail on the south side of the Serpentine, with its father bringing it insects.

Another family of Egyptians has appeared on the Serpentine near Bluebird Boats, with four young.

But there was no sign of the other family on the Serpentine which had two young yesterday.

The Black Swan was also at Bluebird Boats, scratching his ear. I didn't see his girlfriend with him today or yesterday.

The Coots on the Long Water, which for some time have been trying to buiold a nest on a half-submerged branch right in the middle of the lake, have finally managed to get it to stick.

But the next strong wind will blow it away.

Another strangely sited Coots' nest, on the line of buoys marking the edge of the Lido swimming area. The Coots couldn't resist the big orange buoy, the biggest and best nest ornament of all.

The nest box on the north side of the grass around the Henry Moore sculpture now has a pair of Great Tits in it.

The box was examined by a Blue Tit back in April. But If the nest has a hole large enough, a Great Tit will always win. The hole size for Blue Tits is 1 inch, and for Great Tits 1¼ inches. It's best to edge them with metal, to prevent birds from enlarging it or woodpeckers breaking in to eat the nestlings.

A Cormorant on the east side of the Long Water was having an enormous yawn.

I should write 'the Cormorant', because we only have one at the moment. It may be seen on both lakes, wherever there is a post or a waterside branch to stand on.

Two pairs of Great Crested Grebes were having a territorial stand-off at the line of posts by Peter Pan. But it didn't break out into a fight. Both pairs know that the line of posts is the frontier, and if neither of them cross it they will just threaten and snarl at each other.

The male Little Owl in the chestnut tree was on one of his favourite perches, a small dead branch just above the nest hole.

The first Hobby has arrived in the park, but we only got the briefest sight of it flying behind a line of trees.

A while ago I wrote that there was only one terrapin left on the Long Water, a Red-Eared Slider. How wrong I was: today there were four of them on the fallen horse chestnut tree.

This picture was taken from the Italian Garden. You couldn't see any of them from the near bank.


  1. Oh buoy! That is one desirable nest ornament. It must be love.

    1. If the ornament will not come to the Coot, the Coot must go to the ornament.

  2. Do woodpeckers eat nestlings?
    That is very surprising to me!

    1. Yes, absolutely. They will expend some effort in digging them out of tree holes.

    2. I witnessed a greater spotted woodpecker attempting to excavate a lesser spotted woodpecker chick from its nest hole once. I expressed my disapproval (loudly) and it quit.

    3. Trouble is, the great spotted may yet have come back for another go. I've also seen blue tits get alarmed at a nuthatch near their nest, and great tits themselves will peck bits out of smaller birds and bats, given half a chance. Jim n.L.

    4. War is the normal state of all creatures. Peace is a human illusion.

    5. Which makes apparently mutualistic behaviour between species such an extraordinary thing to observe. If not peace then at least an extended truce.

      The lesser spotted chick I followed was close to fledging so I like to think it escaped the greater's attentions: