Saturday 24 March 2018

Mateusz at Bluebird Boats found a Water Rail on the boat platform early yesterday morning, and took this picture.

I would guess that it's mostly on the Serpentine island, where it would be very hard to see from the shore.

A pair of Great Crested Grebes were trying to start a nest on one of the floating baskets of plants set around the island. They don'thave the skill to fix twigs into the wire mesh, something a Coot could do easily.

But this Coot nest under the balcony of the Dell restaurant is a puzzle. It doesn't seem to be fixed to anything.

I hung over the edge of the balcony and took this picture of it from above.

The water here is perhaps 20 inches deep, looking shallower because of refraction. The Coots have somehow managed to pile twigs, which would normally float, on the bed of the lake. Perhaps they have dived for some waterlogged twigs that had sunk to the bottom. Anyway, it's another example of Coots' nest building skill.

A pair of Cormorants on a fallen tree on the Long Water were courting with harsh cries which I suppose were music to their ears.

The male Mute Swan of the Long Water pair was guarding their nest while his mate took time off to feed.

There must be eggs in the nest, but they are surrounded by bits of reed and invisible from the shore.

A female Gadwall was doing nothing at all, allowing her beautiful markings to be admired.

A Mandarin drake at Peter Pan didn't want another one getting too close to his mate, and escorted him out of the area.

There were only two Grey Herons on the Serpentine, probably the pair that built the nest on the south side of the island. But they were paying no attention to the nest, and flying around and landing in other trees. I think they've given up, and we shan't have any young herons here this year. But I would love to be wrong.

A Pied Wagtail hunted on the grass to the east of the Triangle car park.

They like this area, which was relaid with new topsoil and high quality turf after the 2012 Olympics. Now that the grass has matured, it is full of small invertebrates for them to eat. They also like the Diana fountain enclosure, another area that was relaid and returfed several years ago. The main areas of the park, where grass is growing on the London clay, are not so productive.

A Song Thrush sang on a tree near the bridge. I couldn't get a clear view of him through the twigs, but at least I managed to record his cheerful song.

A Goldcrest was also singing in the Dell. He has a particularly fine crest.

A few feet away, a Coal Tit had to wait its turn on the feeder because a Great Tit was glaring at it in a proprietorial way.

The Robin in the Rose Garden whose territory includes the feeder does its best to hang on to the metal bar, but often loses its grip and falls off. Their feet are not nearly as strong as those of tits.

There was just one Little Owl to be seen today, the female in the lime tree near the Henry Moore sculpture.


  1. Dear me, Coots are innovating, that is to say, they are evolving. Whatever will they be doing next? (incidentally, I hope hanging over the edge of the balcony wasn't actually as dangerous as it sounds).

    What a fine fiery crest on the little Goldcrest! It illustrates so well its perfectly suited English name.

    Poor shy Coal Tit. Great Tits are much more fearsome than they look.

    Love the bright, happy song of the Song Thrush celebrating Spring!

  2. Coots are constantly surprising.

    The male Goldcrest was looking its brilliant best in the breeding season, and singing fit to bust.

  3. That's a remarkable shot of a Water Rail, is it just from a phone? I had no idea they could be so tame. Jim

    1. Yes, the picture is from a phone, the latest iPhone which has excellent resolution that makes up to some extent for its lack of zoom. The Water Rail was in a corner of the building and some railings which made it impossible to flee without getting nearer to Mateusz. Of course he backed off and let it go when he had taken a couple of pictures.