Sunday, 30 April 2017

A Sedge Warbler sang in a patch of scrub at the northwest corner of the bridge, and could just be seen through the stems.

The pair of Coots who built a nest on a submerged branch in the middle of the Long Water last year have started again.

Last year the nest got washed away and was rebuilt. Eggs hatched in the second nest and the chicks were promptly eaten by gulls. But insane persistence is the key to Coots' success.

There is at least one cygnet in the Mute Swans' nest on the little island in the Long Water. I visited the nest several times and waited for the swan to stand up so I could see, but she stubbornly stayed down. So this is a picture of nothing happening.

At least waiting here made the nearby pair of Robins happy. They came alternately, collected all the pine nuts they could carry, and took them back to their nest.

Ther were more abandoned swan eggs on the Long Water, this time on the gravel spit at the Vista.

Evidently this is due to the shortage of nest sites: the swans mate but have nowhere to lay their eggs. It seems a shame, but it limits the growth of the swan population, which has been steadily rising over the past decade.

The number of Egyptian geese has actually fallen over the past year, just when it looked as if numbers were going to climb out of control. The hopeless couple on the Long Water have contributed to this fall by never successfully rearing a single gosling. They are down to their last one of the newest brood. The mother preened on a post at Peter Pan ...

... allowing the poor little creature to wander all over the place under the eyes of several hungry Herring Gulls.

The small population of Red Crested Pochards did manage to get two ducklings through a few years ago. The ducklings are remarkable in being completely unpatterned, small images of this elegant cappuccino-coloured female.

The three young Grey Herons were visible in the nest on the island.

More herons were fighting near the Queen's Temple.

On the other side of the temple, two girls were similarly engaged. This seems to be a Western style of two-sword fighting, not the better known Japanese variety.

The pigeon-killing Lesser Black-Backed Gull was hunting in his usual place near the Dell restaurant. He sneaked around behind a pigeon ...

... and lunged at it, but without success this time.

The pair of Grey Wagtails chased each other over the Serpentine, and one of them landed on the jetty at the Lido.

The male Little Owl at the leaf yard came out of his hole from time to time, but on  a busy Sunday there were too many people rushing about and he didn't feel calm enough to come out on a branch.


  1. That's some heron bust-up. Even Coots would admire that commitment to a good fight.

    I'm seeing lots of herons on the Thames this year - great birdwatching.

    1. Paul has been going along the Thames a lot recently and says that the number of herons is well up. There is a big heronry on rafts in the Leg of Mutton nature reserve near Barnes.

    2. How interesting. I'm up past Reading. Today I was honoured to have a low flying Dambusters style flypast over the Thames, with two herons heading one way, then turning round and coming back the other. Stunning sight. I don't remember any noise from their wings, but maybe that was because I was so overwhelmed by their elegance!

    3. Their wings make little noise, as they are very lightly loaded and quite slow moving. A Grey Heron only weighs about 3 lb, the same as a mallard drake, and its wings are enormous for that weight.

    4. Thanks for that information Ralph. It makes sense of what I heard (or didn't hear) today!

    5. "a low flying Dambusters style flypast over the Thames" is no doubt a wonderful thing to see but a low flying heron, about 5 feet above your head when you are fishing alone at night, on Halloween, is quite another matter. I was nearly overwhelmed to death.

    6. haddock, I can imagine. I was also wary of the heron, who then flew right over me, announcing 'bombs away' & leaving me with a sticky souvenir of my experience.

  2. Some wonderful photos today.

    1. Thank you. But I am sorry about the non-event picture of the swan on the island.

    2. I was taught in public speaking to always acknowledge a glitch in delivery. So by commenting on the non-picture, it became entertaining as part of the bigger story of the day's events. That's what birding is like. I see nothing of note, and suddenly I get greeted by a flypast of silent herons!