Saturday 12 August 2017

A Common Tern appeared on the Long Water. They are only occasional visitors, coming down from the Grand Union Canal. It caught a fish.

A Cormorant was also fishing here , and caught a small pike (shown here) and a perch in quick succession.

It was then attacked by another Cormorant, but had already swallowed the perch.

A third Cormorant jumped on to a wooden post to dry its wings.

Young Great Crested Grebes learn to fish by following their parents under water and copying them.

But they have to teach themselves to fly. The takeoff is the tricky part, involving a 50 yard run if there's no headwind to help them. Today there was a wind, and it encouraged this bird to have a go. It didn't get off the water.

Two Moorhens were fighting on the Serpentine. This time the Coots were content to remain as spectators. Often they join in.

A Moorhen was feeding two of her chicks at the Vista. The kerb is too high for them to jump on to, so they were having to stretch up to reach her.

Another Moorhen has taken over the abandoned Coot nest in the boathouse, which has never succeeded because the chicks fall into the water and can't get back up to the platform. I don't think the Moorhen will fare any better.

The Black Swan is now constantly accompanying the four Mute Swan cygnets at the west end of the Serpentine.

Some Grey Herons on Buck Hill were being fed, and having a mild squabble.

A Coal Tit at the feeder in the Rose Garden spilled a good deal of bird seed, which was picked up by a Dunnock and the strayed racing pigeon.

Tom saw and photographed a Great Spotted Woodpecker next to the leaf yard.

Both Little Owls were visible here. This is the male, who is seldom seen at the moment ...

... and this is the female, having a scratch.


  1. Anyone has any ideas what the Black Swan is up to? I'm stumped. I've ruled out acquiring new interspecies girlfriend and adopting someone else's babies. Perhaps he is looking for world domination, coot-style, and needs a gaggle of minions to do his bidding.

    I think the second coot in the clip was very decidedly trying to join the free-for-all. At the very least they were eager spectators. One can almost hear them cheer the combatants on.

    Great action shot of the cormorant trying to land its jump!

    1. I think the Black Swan is simply lonely, and grey cygnets something like those of his own species remind him of home -- not that he's ever been there, just a race memory.

    2. I so wish that it could be arranged for a female Black Swan to be brought to Kensington Gardens.

      Perhaps we may yet expect a miracle: bald eagles have been filmed feeding a hawk chick as if it were their own. Maybe in time the Black Swan may adopt his very own cygnet.

    3. Black Swans are not all that uncommon in the wild now. For a short time, when our Black Swan was in St James's Park, there was another free-flying one (in addition to the captive pair in the collection, making four in all). But nothing happened, so it was probably another male.