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


  1. Could it be also the blue colour that draws the Coot's attention to the rope, I wonder? They do have an affinity for strong vivid colours.

    Let's hope we'll soon get glimpses of Grebe chicks. Yay!

    Those poor exiled Swans. There is no peace for them at the Serpentine.

    1. Coots go for red and shiny metallic things mostly. They may have an idea that something fibrous like rope would be a good nesting material, and don't realise how firmly it's attached at the other end. But that doesn't explain the behaviour of young Herring Gulls, which will spend a long time pulling loose ends of rope.

  2. The flower is the very common red campion, also known as red catchfly (Silene dioica)

  3. But, dear Ralph, you have seriously distorted the colour!

    1. Completely unaltered from the original picture.