Thursday, 18 May 2017

The female Mute Swan on the Long Water was carrying four of her cygnets on her back.

I was wrong when I said that the swans on the Serpentine had lost one of their five, as all were alive and well today. The fifth must have been hidden on its mother's back.

The swan nest in the middle of the island has yet to hatch. It can only be seen from the water side, and only from one angle.

The Great Crested Grebe chick from the island was swimming by itself, with its parents on the other side of the line of plant baskets surrounding the island.

It dived under the baskets -- quite a deep dive under the trailing roots -- and came up the far side to rejoin its mother.

The previous four pictures come thanks to Mateusz at Bluebird Boats, who took me out to the island in the powerboat. The trip also allowed a look at the pair of Mandarins who seem to have settled permanently on the shore east of the Lido ...

... and the Coot nest in the net around the patchy reed bed here, which has now hatched two chicks. Here is one of them in the nest with three still unhatched eggs.

The Coot nest behind the boat on the platform in the small boathouse has also produced two chicks, but they are most unlikely to survive, because they will fall off the platform and be unable to get back.

Unfortunately this boathouse is not accessible to Bluebird Boats, so there is no way of putting in a plank to let them climb up. The other boathouse is used by the boat people, and they are always careful not to block access to the successful Coot nest there.

The Canada Geese with five goslings were cruising around the Serpentine, and I came across them in several places.

This Greylag is already moulting its wing feathers. Usually moulting doesn't begin before early June.

Two Reed Warblers were singing at the east end of the Serpentine, and one was visible.

Loud cheeping noises in the shelter at the bottom of Buck Hill come from several families of Starling chicks in nests under the eaves. The eaves are boarded up to keep birds out, but Starlings will always find a way in. Here an adult bringing food pauses before flying up to the nest just above.

The young Mistle Thrush near Queen's Gate was also calling for food while one of its parents rooted around in the grass looking for worms.

The white-faced Blackbird now comes out on the path in front of me to be given her daily treat of sultanas.

The Little Owl near the leaf yard had retreated down his branch to the place where he was perching earlier. There were a lot of Magpies around, and this is a more secluded spot.


  1. Hi Ralph,

    just got back from the park, got a little update about the goslings. The single Canada goose gosling is still alive and doing well. The five goslings from another couple still there, one Canada Goose couple lost their single gosling, you photographed them this week by the Dell Cafe ( standing on the shore by the seating area ).
    Greylag family retained all five, but the other grelayed family lost two, one adopted Canada gosling and one of their own, so it is now down to three left.

    1. Thanks for the information. Sad about the loss of the goslings.

  2. How wonderful to see so many cygnets doing so well. How has the Great Crested Grebe baby grown up!

  3. BTW, meant to ask: are you and Joanna going to make more films of the park in the future? I really enjoyed them.

  4. I shall try to make a video about the Little Owls, but must wait until they start breeding. This will be quite tough to film, especially as two of the three known breeding pairs have moved. The missing two pairs have been heard in trees near their original places, and with luck the families can be found again by listening for the begging call of owlets.

  5. I am following the progress of the little owl from Australia . Love reading about the goings on.

    1. Glad to hear that our Little Owl is known worldwide.