Friday 21 April 2017

Three Mandarin drakes were chasing each other around the plane tree near the Albert Memorial where the female is nesting. Two of them came to blows.

Mallard drakes at the east end of the Serpentine were also in an aggressive mood.

The Coots, for once, were quite peaceful. Here is one eating its mate's fleas, combining affection with nutrition.

A Treecreeper climbed an oak tree collecting insects for its brood.

A Pied Wagtail on the Round Pond chased a midge.

The Grey Wagtail which is now often seen at the Lido was working its way along the shore.

The Mute Swans nesting near the bridge have another egg.

But the egg that went missing from the nest several days ago was lying on the ground broken and empty. There has been no sign of a fox attack here. We have a nasty feeling that the eggs are being taken by rough sleepers in the park. This also apparently happened in the same place last year.

The Carrion Crows on the Parade Ground were frightened by the Royal Artillery's 41-gun salute for the Queen's birthday, and settled on the other side of the Serpentine. But this one stayed on the north shore to eat some rice.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull chased some Herring Gulls off his territory and came back to his mate on the Dell restaurant roof.

Tom sent me this interesting picture of the Green Woodpeckers mating in a plane tree on the path between Physical Energy and the Speke obelisk. We must keep an eye on their nest hole.

He also sent this fine picture of a Song Thrush.

The leaves are coming out on the Little Owls' chestnut tree near the leaf yard. Feeling more secure now there is a bit of cover, the male owl came out on to a branch.

A Great Tit on a lower branch was agitated by the owl, and chattered loudly.

A Robin sang on a copper beech in the Rose Garden.


  1. Are homeless people allowed to sleep inside the Park? Can something be done if they are taking the eggs? I don't want to sound insensitive, but surely there are places that provide a free meal and a sleeping place for someone who is in sufficiently dire straits to consider robbing a bird's nest.

    Unless it is done for sport, as it used to be the case in Spain?

    Coots were uncharacteristically subdued and civilised today.

  2. The park is full of rough sleepers, as is the rest of London. Yes, there are hostels, but many prefer not to get involved with them. This huge and chaotic city has never been an orderly place, and never will be.

    1. You have got to the heart of the matter, ralph !

  3. Rough sleepers are "tolerated" in the park. At the risk of making a sweeping statement, certain eastern european countries have a culture of harming swans. Normally nothing to do with food requirements.

    1. I didn't know that. I'm so very sorry to see that that is the case. It's a nasty business.

    2. As far as Poland is concerned, there is no 'culture of harming swans' here. Stephen, I think you read in 'Daily Mail' that some Polish immigrants had killed and eaten swans somewhere in the UK. I don't know whether or not it was a true story. There are about one million Poles in Britain. Take a million people from any country. You will find hunters, murderers and other monsters among them. PEOPLE DON'T EAT SWANS and don't eat their eggs in Poland but take a million citizens and...
      I love swans (I don't mean their meat) and I'm not the only one who loves this magnificent and protected species. There are people who harm swans and other animals in Poland. Stephen, please tell me where there are no such individuals and I will move house there.
      Cracow is a very important Mute Swan's wintering area. A lot of swans are ringed. Since January 1st I have read over 430 rings and spent a lot of time watching swans and people feeding them. Some people give them bread. Others know that swans shouldn't eat it. Some people walk their dogs off lead. Others on leash. Where is 'culture of harming swans' in these examples? Where in the world are all dogs on lead and no-one gives bread to swans? By the way, do you know that lots of swans were killed in Holland in the 1980s?
      I can't believe I wrote it. There are lots of things I hate in Poland but 'culture of harming swans' isn't one of them because there is no such culture here.

    3. Hi Justyna,
      I don't think Poland was meant here. Not to stir up a hornet's nest, but at least in Spain that kind of trouble has been caused by shall we say ethnic people from other Eastern European countries. Emphatically not from Poland.

      On the other hand, harvesting eggs from wild bird nests is unfortunately a traditional practice here, slow to die, so no stones will be cast on my end.

    4. I don't know which 'certain eastern European countries' were meant here and it doesn't matter at all. Should Stephen search for the culprit in Russia? In Lithuania? In the Czech Republic? In Britain (Hen Harrier isn't Mute Swan but who knows...)? In Holland (Mute Swan is Mute Swan)? Cyprus (ambelopoulia)? Malta, Spain, Portugal, Italy and so on.