Sunday 28 January 2018

Virginia reports that a pair of Egyptian Geese have six to eight young at the Henry Moore sculpture. She couldn't get a clear view through the scrub. It's probably the useless pair with the white-headed female, in which case the babies don't have a chance of survival.

She sent some recent pictures from the park. A pair of Coots preened each other affectionately, also getting a small snack from eating the other's fleas and lice.

Two Great Crested Grebes had a territorial dispute. The one on the right is from the island, where a pair are tentatively beginning to nest. The other is from the east end of the Serpentine, where a pair tried to nest last year but never managed to pick a suitable place.

A Greylag Goose dozed on the edge of the Serpentine.

And a Great Tit came out from the leaf yard to be fed.

David Element sent two pictures of Shovellers: a female looking serene in the evening light ...

... and two drakes chasing each other.

Here's his video of Grey Wagtails. The number of these charming birds in the park is small, but seems to be increasing. We may be sharing the population with a colony on the river just downstream of Chelsea Bridge, in the little basin where coal barges used to come in to supply the sewage pumping station. Let's hope we see more of them in in the spring, and that a pair will again nest under the little plank bridge in the Dell.

Cathy took this characteristic picture of a Grey Heron sunbathing in that odd posture with wings half spread and held low.

While we are on the heron family, here's Fran's excellent picture of a Bittern in Norfolk ...

... and another picture from Colombia by David Holland. The bird on the left is a Great Egret, Ardea alba, a species of which there are small numbers in Britain. The other is probably a Bare-Faced Ibis (or Whispering Ibis), Phimosus infuscatus, though it might be the larger Sharp-Tailed Ibis, Cercibis oxycerca.

Some more pictures from Spain by Tinúviel: this is a Red-Knobbed Coot, Fulica cristata, at the nature reserve of La Cañada de los Pájaros near Seville. She says that they are less aggressive than ordinary Coots. (It would be hard to be more aggressive than an ordinary Coot.) Its collar gives it an even more clerical appearance than usual.

This is a Sanderling, a little wader which very occasionally makes it to the park here ...

... and here's a Black-Tailed Godwit which, as far as I know, has never been seen in the park, though there is a single record of a Bar-Tailed Godwit.


  1. Although Red-knobbed Coots have been sighted in Los Barruecos, this particular Red-knobbed Coot was actually photographed in another place, namely in the Natural Reserve of La Cañada de los Pájaros near Seville (I only mention this because they hold their birds very dear, and I wouldn't want to step on their toes). Sorry I didn't make myself clear when sending the picture.

    Lovely (non-aggressive) tender picture of the Other Coots!

    Those two Grebes look like two jostling Medieval knights. They are only missing their lances.

    1. Thanks for the correction. I've changed the text.

      Grebes in territorial disputes look like little galleys to me, especially when they charge in at ramming speed.

  2. Nice pictures from all. I'm probably wrong but could the egret in the 9th image be a Snowy Egret, rather than a Great?

  3. Could be. But you can't see its feet, which would clinch it.