Monday 7 August 2017

The Black Swan is definitely trying to adopt Mute Swan cygnets again, like he did last year. Today he was guarding an isolated cygnet in the space beside the Diana fountain landing stage.

The other three cygnets of the brood of four were cruising around on the Serpentine unattended.

The cygnets' mother turned up and shooed the Black Swan away, quite gently.

Undeterred, he went after one of the other cygnets.

It's impossible to know what his intentions are. Black Swan cygnets are a darkish grey, and these ones, though paler, may remind him of his own kind.

The teenage Great Crested Grebe was fishing near the bridge. It has to work much harder than an adult to catch enough fish to keep itself alive. It didn't catch anything while I was watching, though it dived time after time.

The three younger chicks of the same parents were being efficiently fed next to the island.

The Moorhen chicks at the Serpentine bridge are growing quickly. The overhanging branches of the weeping willow keep them safe from gulls. It's impossible to tell how many survive of the original six, as they are wandering around freely in the undergrowth.

The pigeon-killing Lesser Black-Backed Gull shared his latest kill with his mate on the Serpentine.

The young gull which seems to be the offspring of the pair was not at the feast. It hadn't realised what was going on, and was sitting on a post on the Long Water.

In the Dell, a female Blackbird foraged in the undergrowth. There would be a lot more of them if the gardeners didn't keep the place so dreadfully tidy.

A Wren looked a bit out of place on an ornamental palm tree.

Although there were plenty of juicy ripe blackberries with reach, this Wood Pigeon would only eat elderberries. They seem to have a particular fondness for these not very delicious things.

The female Little Owl near the leaf yard was again in a place where it was hard to take a photograph of her.

At the bottom of Buck Hill, this hairy caterpillar crossed the path with remarkable speed. I think it may be a White Ermine moth, Spilosoma lubricipeda, but I may well be wrong.


  1. Do swans adopt chicks from other swans, like geese and ducks do? It's very puzzling. He is old enough now not to look for a 'teenage' girlfriend, I think.

    I've often thought that a little muck and a little dirt and some litter never harmed aby bird. In actual fact, I think the town's being so dirty is one of the reasons for the existence of a substantial population of House Sparrows here.

    1. PS I just saw the clip of the teen Grebe trying to catch some fish time and time again. It's heartbreaking. Do you think it will make it?

    2. No, I really don't think so. They are very particular about their own cygnets, and will chase away others. The Black Swan's behaviour is a constant puzzle.

      What Blackbirds need is dead leaves, and lots of them -- which is exactly what the gardeners remove from the shrubberies with their vile noisy leaf blowers in a misguided attempt at tidiness.

    3. The teenage grebe is not the only one who has been cast adrift. Today the two from the Long Water were having to fend for themselves while their parents nest again.