Friday 31 March 2017

The dominant male Mute Swan at the east end of the Serpentine chased all the other swans off the newly occupied raft, attacking each of six in turn. He clearly wants it as the private property of him and his mate.

Coots don't need an excuse to start a fight. Four of them were bashing each other near the island, with another two occasionally joining in.

Another chase, and an unusual one: an Egyptian Goose had done something to displease a Cormorant, which pursued it the whole length of the lake.

On the Round Pond, the male Egyptian chased off a rival before returning to his family.

Luckily they didn't both take part in the chase, which they do sometimes, leaving their young unprotected. It is at these moments that Herring Gulls and Carrion Crows strike.

Blondie moved her brood to safety as a particularly vile dog owner approached with a black cocker spaniel that was chasing everything in sight. When I remonstrated with him, he became very abusive.

The goslings at the Lido were enjoying a moment of peace, pecking algae off the edge.

A pair of Greylag Geese were performing the synchronised splashing that leads to mating. But when the male tried to mate, the female wasn't keen and swam off.

The Great Crested Grebes at the island had no hesitation. But as far as I could see, they still don't have any eggs.

The Canada Geese nesting on the tern raft now have three eggs. They aren't incubating them yet. Eggs will stay viable at outdoor temperature for several days. Then, when the bird starts sitting, they all start developing at once and hatch together.

The hole in the plane tree near the boathouses, previously used by Starlings, definitely belongs to a pair of Ring-Necked Parakeets now, although the tree is still full of Starlings. The female went into the hole and the male stood guard outside.

A pair of Wood Pigeons in a tree near the bridge were clearly in love.

The white Mallard made an excursion to the Rose Garden and quacked on the edge of the fountain.

A Grey Heron lent interest to the bleak stonework of the Henry Moore sculpture.

The male Carrion Crow of the pair nesting in the nearby lime tree was enjoying some suet. He didn't take any to his mate.

At the chestnut tree near the leaf yard, it was the turn of the female Little Owl to come out. She was in a very calm mood, and went to sleep while I was photographing her.


  1. I'm sorry you had to endure the abuse of that good-for-nothing dog owner. It still boggles my mind that there should be people like that; I always pictured England as a nation of animal lovers. Thank Goodness you do not sound easy to intimidate.

    1. Suppose he thinks he is an animal lover, just his animal and no others.

      Dogs make me sad: a good wolf spoiled.

    2. You would then love the shepherd dog my paternal grandfather used to have when I was very little: a Spanish Mastiff (they look like this:

      It was impressed on us very sternly that he were not allowed to play with it or even pet it. It was able to tear an adult wolf to pieces (that was actually its main purpose). As wolves have become rarer in North-western Spain, so has this dog breed.

      I have not much experience with wolves (although I have seen them from quite close quarters when I was little), but my father still has nightmares about them. They used to follow him and other village children on their way back and to the school. A dog in such cases was a necessity.

    3. There are similar dogs in the south of France, both in the Pyrenees and in the Alps. The name of the breed is pastou or patou. They are big, woolly and white, and much resemble the sheep. And indeed they are brought up with the sheep, with an absolute minimum of human contact, and both dogs and sheep consider that they are herd leaders, a kind of big fierce sheep capable of dealing with a wolf. Numbers in the Alps are going up since wolves have been reintroduced.

      But even in this area you are far more likely to be bitten by a dog than by a wolf, since wolves sensibly stay away from humans, the top predator.