Monday 30 April 2018

The Rose-Ringed Parakeets have discovered how to remove the lid of the bird feeder in the Rose Garden ...

... so they can dive right in. No wonder it runs out in a day.

It was a vile cold wet day, and no one was feeding the parakeets in the usual place near the leaf yard. They waited hopefully in a tree with more green birds than green leaves.

A lot of Swifts visisted the Serpentine today. Since they never land except to nest, they drink by catching raindrops. If it isn't raining, they skim the surface of the water and scoop up a beakful.

A Pied Wagtail paused for a moment on a wet kerbstone at the edge of the lake.

There was a Grey Wagtail in the grass a short way off.

No one was sitting outside the Dell restaurant, so the local Grey Heron could preen undisturbed on the balcony.

The Great Crested Grebes on the island were together at their nest. There is a chick on the left of them, which I hadn't seen through the viewfinder when taking this photograph. It was in exactly the same position in all the pictures. I do hope it was just resting.

The wind became quite strong around midday, ruffling the feathers of the solitary Mandarin drake as he looked for food on the edge of the Serpentine.

The floating baskets around the island have come adrift, allowing a Mute Swan to get in and explore new territory.

The Greylag Goose nesting on the basket might soon be making an unexpected voyage.

A Canada Goose charged down the Serpentine, not disturbing the Swifts whizzing around it as they are infinitely more agile.

Another swan stood on a Coots' nest to preen. It shows how strong these nests are built.

This is a top view of the Coots' nest at the outflow of the Serpentine, unfortunately sited on the edge of the weir so that the chicks are quickly swept away.

Sunday 29 April 2018

A Reed Warbler sang in the reed bed below the Diana fountain.

This may be the one previously heard in other places around the lake, but usually we get several breeding pairs.

A fair number of Swifts, Swallows and House Martins were flying low over the lake. Cold wet weather brings the insects down low, and with them the birds that are hunting them.

There's still no sign of the House Martins taking an interest in their nest site on the Kuwaiti Embassy.

A Pied Wagtail sang loudly from the roof of one of the boathouses.

Several others were hunting in the grass below.

A Song Thrush poked in the debris left by clearing brambles at the foot of Buck Hill, finding insects and a couple of worms. The cleared brambles will be as high as ever in three months.

A Mistle Thrush found a large worm in the Rose Garden, which took some time to swallow.

At the fountain, the usual Robin ...

... and Chaffinch ...

... had to wait, because the feeders were being monopolised by Feral Pigeons.

Really these ought to be feeders with cages around to keep out pigeons and Rose-Ringed Parakeets, but people keep stealing them and caged feeders are expensive. The parakeets had got the lid off the nut feeder again, as you can see. I replaced it and crimped the wire hinges down tight, but I bet these strong birds will have got it off tomorrow.

The Great Crested Grebe nesting on the island was sitting with wings slightly raised. This is likely to be a sign that the eggs have started hatching and the chicks have climbed on to their parent's back.

On the platform at BlueBird Boats, a Coot was pulling the end of a rope. Ropes fascinate some birds, especially gulls.

Two Mute Swans were nervously dithering next to the pedestrian tunnel under the bridge.

The dominant male swan at the west end of the Serpentine had driven them ashore, and was watching them in a menacing attitude.

One male Egyptian Goose has been hanging around the Italian Garden for several days, and was eating some delicious dandelion leaves. This probably means that his mate is nesting in a tree. Unfortunately his mate is the hopeless white-headed one who has never managed to raise any young in the fourteen years she has been in the park.

Some Lesser Black-Backed Gulls and a single Herring Gull were washing together in their habitual washing place on the Long Water.

The wildflowers are beginning to come up in the patch at the back of the Lido swimming area. I am appallingly ignorant about flowers, but probably some reader will know what this pretty pink flower is. There is a chironomid midge on one of the leaves -- there are lots of these all round the lake.

Update: Mario writes, 'The flower is the very common Red Campion, also known as Red Catchfly (Silene dioica).'

A reader has written to me about the proposed redevelopment of the garden in Grosvenor Square. She wants to know whether anyone has any information about birds in or near the square, which she can use to try to persuade the planners to make this rather barren area more friendly to wildlife. The proposal is still at a very early stage, as you can see from this recent article. If you have any information, please write to me at

Saturday 28 April 2018

There were Swallows ...

... Swifts ...

... and House Martins hunting insects over the Serpentine.

Other birds were also catching insects. A Robin brought some to its nest at the foot of Buck Hill.

A Long-Tailed Tit was hunting in a tree near the bridge.

A Pied Wagtail was doing well on the platform of Bluebird Boats, where small creatures lurk in the grooved planking.

The white-faced Blackbird found a larva, though she also accepted her daily treat of sultanas.

A pair of Mistle Thrushes searched for worms on the lawn in the Rose Garden.

This palm tree in the Rose Garden ...

... has a Wren nesting in it.

It doesn't take a Rose-Ringed Parakeet long ...

... to wrench the lid off the nut feeder.

A Reed Warbler has been singing at the east end of the Serpentine for several days, but I haven't got a picture.

A Blackcap sang from a holly tree beside the Long Water.

The Great Crested Grebe at the island turned over the eggs. They should hatch in the next few days.

The Greylag Goose which seems to be nesting on one of the wire baskets jumped up on to it.

A Mandarin drake preened his elaborate feathers beside the Serpentine.

The Mute Swan nesting at the Lido restaurant terrace kept an eye on a Moorhen which was looking for bugs in the nest, but was not worried. Swans don't mind Moorhens, though they hate Coots.

Friday 27 April 2018

A Grey Wagtail ran up the shore of the Lido restaurant terrace. It was chased by a Feral Pigeon. When it came up against a Coot, it was time to fly away.

A Pied Wagtail and two Starlings looked for insects in the debris washed up by the wind on the shore near the Dell restaurant.

The wagtail flew up to the roof and preened.

Another was running around on the Vista, where the grass has just been mown to a length that makes it possible for a small bird to run about.

A Chaffinch sang from a treetop beside the Serpentine.

A small group of Long-Tailed Tits bounced around in a tree near the Queen's Temple.

Mark sent this picture of a Robin in St James's Park carrying a grub to give to its nestlings.

Near the bridge, heaving branches revealed a Magpie struggling to break off a twig for its nest.

The usual Jay flew across the lake to beg for a peanut. It had already had one when I was on the other side.

Carrion Crows prefer their peanuts dunked in puddles.

A patch of young dandelion leaves on the Vista attracted more and more Rose-Ringed Parakeets. Most of them were male. Probably there are many females nesting now.

The Coots nesting in the unfortunate place at the Serpentine outflow have now built their nest up to quite a large size. It looks like a perfect spot to them, and they have forgotten that last year all their chicks were swept away over the weir.

A Greylag Goose has been sitting on one of the floatings baskets of water plants surrounding the island. It seems to be nesting.

There's no progress so far at the Great Crested Grebes' nest farther along the shore.

It will be some time before anything happens in the Grey Herons' nest here.

Another heron found the metal fences in the Italian Gardens pools a convenient place to perch and look for fish.