Thursday 27 April 2017

The hopeless Egyptian Goose pair on the Long Water, who have never yet raised a single gosling, have had another brood, already reduced to two. Here they are on the rock under the parapet of the Italian Garden.

A pair of Canada Geese have hatched goslings in a tree near the Italian Garden, the big horse chestnut behind the semicircular stone bench on the east side. The young birds jumped down from the tree, which they do confidently when their mother calls, and they are so light and fluffy that they can fall any distance uninjured. They then went into one of the ponds. But this happened before I arrived, and I couldn't find them although I went round the Long Water twice. They must have been well hidden under a bush.

The people at Bluebird Boats kindly took me on a trip to see nests around the island. The star of the show, of course, was the Great Crested Grebe on her nest. Her mate was away, probably watching a recording of a Barcelona match.

There is a Canada Goose nest at the southeast corner of the island ...

... and a Mute Swan nest on the south side.

There is usually another swan nest in the middle of the island, invisible in the bushes. The island is a favoured site because it's safe from foxes.

This is also a view from the boat, of the nest at the Lido which yesterday was comfortably upholstered with leaves from an ornamental plant. It's not foxproof, of course ...

... but this new nest on a raft at the east end of the Serpentine is safe. There are now two nests on these rafts.

Add the nest at the Diana fountain landing stage and the one on the little island in the Long Water, and it looks as if we are going to have a lot of cygnets this year after last year's miserable showing. The good prospect has not improved the mood of the swans, and the dominant male at the east end of the Serpentine was pointlessly beating up the others.

One last picture taken from the boat: the Coot nest in the net around the reed bed east of the Lido. The Coot is looking out through a hole cut for its convenience.

The Mallard at the bridge still has nine ducklings, though the most I could get into one picture was eight. She is keeping them sheltered under the edge of the stone pavement, but hungry Herring Gulls are cruising around.

There were again plenty of Pied Wagtails running around the Serpentine. Here is one searching for insects among the daisies on the south shore.

There are also lots of Robins beside the path on the east side of the Long Water. This is one of a pair that came to my hand again and again, taking three pine nuts at a time and carrying them to their nest in a bramble patch. I fed three other Robins on the path. Thanks to Fran for taking this good picture.

Another Robin sang in a blossoming tree in the Rose Garden.

The flowers here are attracting a crowd of Honeybees.

A Jay in the leaf yard was eagerly expecting to be given a peanut.

The first House Martins have arrived on the lake, only three or four of them so far. They were not yet taking an interest in the nest sites on the cornice of the Kuwaiti embassy. Yesterday there were some Swallows and a single Swift, and there was just one Swallow crossing Kensington Gardens on the 24th.

Update: Des McKenzie saw a Hobby in Hyde Park around noon.

No day would be complete without a view of the Little Owl near the leaf yard. Over five years I have taken well over a thousand pictures of him, and he is resigned to having a camera pointed at him every time he appears.


  1. Inspired by your photos from Rainham I went down there a couple of weeks ago (so thanks for the prod!); and there were a couple of martens about then. Conditions seemed less pleasant than in the more sheltered ambience of Hyde Park...

    1. It is a bit exposed. But there are always interesting birds to see.