Saturday, 15 July 2017

There still seems to be only one Great Crested Grebe chick in the nest on the Long Water, but it's impossible to be sure, especially since the nest can only be viewed from a distance.

The other grebe family on the Long Water is in good order, and so is this one on the Serpentine. The mother brought one of the chicks a fish ...

... of which its sibling was envious.

But it would have had its turn. Grebe parents are good at feeding their chicks in rotation, and you sometimes see one dodging the biggest and hungriest chick to feed one of the others.

The teenage grebe was picking insects or larvae out of the water plants on the edge of the island.

A Mallard with two ducklings was in the middle of the Serpentine, a risky place. Grebe chicks will dive at the sight of a swooping gull, stay down for several seconds, and surface in another place. Mallard ducklings can dive for a moment, but don't have nearly such a quick instinctive reaction to avoid danger.

One of the teenage Mandarins on the Long Water stood on a post with its mother. It's at the front. The only way you can be sure that it's not an adult female is by its slightly short wings.

Saturdays in the park, with a crowd of visitors and their dogs, are a dangerous time for goslings, but they have to eat. Both Greylag parents were clearly nervous and constantly looking around, waiting to shoo the youngsters down to the safety of the water.

A Greylag was eating dry reeds on one of the rafts at the east end of the Serpentine. You would think these tough dry stems were most unappetising, but geese think otherwise.

The Black Swan was dozing nearby. Occasionally he opened a bright red eye.

In the reed bed near the Diana fountain you could hear several young Reed Warblers calling faintly, telling their parents where to bring the insects they were catching in the trees. One of the young ones came out on a stem. It was interested in the camera.

Charlie the Carrion Crow had been bathing in the Serpentine, watched by one of his two young. He came out and shook himself like a dog.

In the Rose Garden, a Blue Tit was eating a piece of bread from the sandwich of a man seated next to it.

You don't think of tits as liking bread. But it was a ham sandwich, so probably there was some attractive fat on the bread.

Under the bench, a Robin was looking up hopefully.

A young Dunnock appeared momentarily in a bush and I got one hasty picture of it.

The female Little Owl at the leaf yard looked round from her usual branch.


  1. Hi Ralph,

    Finding it really hard to gather the location of the lead yard owl tree. Using this website please may you comment back the 6 figure grid reference of the place you can stand to view the tree? Thanks and sorry to bother you. Here's the website:

    1. Latitude, longitude
      51.507890, -0.176306

      Grid reference

      TQ 26680 80367
      Grid reference (6 figure)

      X (easting) :
      Y (northing) :

  2. Oooh, who could resist that lovely little begging face on the robin?

    The Geese parents look extremely tense. They are very aware of the danger. It is almost painful to see.

    Funny how entranced the young Reed Warbler appears to be by the camera. Was it looking squarely at the lens?

    1. I think the Reed Warbler was interested in the big round piece of shiny glass. I used to have a silver camera, and birds often stared at this glittery thing.

    2. Did you notice if magpies were more interested in the silver camera than other birds? ("ooh shiny!").

      There is a modern jocular expression in Spanish, "modo urraca" (magpie mode, the oldest version used to be "complejo de urraca", magpie complex), to define people, mostly women, who are attracted to bling bling. I've read that magpies are actually afraid of shiny things, but you'd have first-hand information to confirm or deny this.

    3. I've never seen a Magpie or any other corvid take an interest in shiny things. Coots, on the other hand, are crazy about them, and I've seen one trying to attach a downed silver helium balloon to its nest.