Saturday 13 August 2016

The Mute Swans are trying out their newly regrown flight feathers, charging up and down the Serpentine in spite of the Saturday fleet of pedalos. This one is coming down on the water near the bridge.

At the other end of the lake, a cygnet was eating reeds from one of the floating rafts. It won't be able to fly for a couple of months.

The Black Swan was ignoring the fuss, because he moulted earlier, has done all his practice flights and is fully airworthy. He was looking after his adopted cygnet near the bridge, cruising around with his ruffles raised to deter the other swans.

The teenage Mandarin is now adult sized. It is on the right of this picture, with an adult female who is moulting and flightless.

The Great Crested Grebe pair from the nest near Peter Pan are carefully looking after their one remaining chick, which is growing well.

The pair near the bridge have also lost one, but the ones from the Serpentine island still have three, four if you count the teenager from their first nest.

The Coots who built a nest in an impossible place in the middle of the Long Water, and had three broods which were all taken by gulls, seem to have given up at last, and are letting their nest disintegrate. Even Coots can't go on trying for ever. Maybe next year they will choose a more sensible place.

A few yards away on the dead willow tree, a Grey Heron was shaking itself, looking like a bit like a heap of laundry.

In spite of a fair number of people and dogs on Buck Hill, the flock of Mistle Thrushes were busily hunting for worms.

At the bottom of the hill, a Blackbird was enjoying a blackberry.

The female Little Owl was in her nest tree near the leaf yard.

One of the Little owlets from the nest near the Albert Memorial could be seen high in an oak tree.

The family I met yesterday under these trees catching grasshoppers went on after I had left them and found a female Roesel's Bush-Cricket (Metrioptera roeselii). The father, Fabian Neuhaus, sent me this fine picture taken with his mobile.


  1. Drat. Part of my worldview has been shaken to the core: a Coot has given up on a foolish endeavour.

    Lovely to see all the Great Crested Grebe families!

    1. Also saddened by seeing the Coots give up. They have a fine madness.

  2. Dear Ralph, is that cygnet practicing for the Olympic gymnastics? It seems to have stuck a leg out and hooked it right over its back and over to the other side. Or is the picture deceiving me? *** In other news, I was temporarily taken aback to see the regal Black Swan revealing his white underwear in public beneath his black ruffles.*** Thanks as always for your entertaining prose.

    1. The cygnet is in a rather odd pose. But you can see this because its wings are still small and undeveloped. In an adult it would be invisible.

      The Black Swan's 'underwear' is in fact his flight feathers. I hope to get a picture of him flying with his new pure white wings. But you can see one of him with least year's black-tipped teenage set in my post for 14 October here.