Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Blondie the Egyptian Goose has already had one brood this year, and quickly lost them to the circling Herring Gulls. Now she has another, but probably they won't last long. There were 83 gulls on the Serpentine alone a couple of days ago.

The Mute Swan nesting next to the terrace of the Lido restaurant looked disapprovingly at a Grey Heron which had come too near.

When she stood up to preen she revealed seven eggs in the nest, though they are hard to see among the white feathers.

The stubborn Coots persist in building a nest at the top of the weir at the outflow of the Serpentine, though every year all the chicks are swept away. They never seem to be able to climb back up the sloping plank which was put there in an attempt to save them.

A pair at the east end of the Serpentine were eating each other's parasites. This is probably the pair I videoed doing the same thing in the same place two days ago. There are always plenty of parasites to find.

The Great Crested Grebe at the island sat peacefully on her eggs. The pair started nesting at the beginning of the month, so we should be seeing some little stripy chicks soon.

The nesting Grey Heron in the tree above could just be seen sitting in the nest, but it didn't make a photograph. So here are four herons on the posts at the Vista.

A throng of Carrion Crows flapped around in the Diana fountain enclosure. I couldn't see what had caused them to collect here -- it didn't seem to be food, as the only people near them were trying to shoo them away.

A crow had been bathing in the Long Water, and flew up into the dead willow to dry. A good deal of preening and flapping and hopping around was necessary.

At the bottom of the tree, a Wood Pigeon looked out from a branch.

There is almost always a Stock Dove in the hole in the horse chestnut tree near the Queen's Temple where the male Little Owl used to perch.

We're hoping the owl is with his mate in their nest hole in the sweet chestnut tree. The disappearance of all three pairs of owls is a hopeful sign that there will be some owlets next month.

On the grass to the east of the Dell, a Mistle Thrush pulled up a worm.

A female Blackbird was also foraging here. This picture shows her typical thrush markings, which are not obvious because they are in two shades of dark brown.

There was a good view of a Wren on a bramble at the foot of Buck Hill.

A Blackcap sang in a Chinese privet tree near the bridge.

A couple of Long-Tailed Tits passed through a nearby tree.


  1. Poor, poor Blondie. She is such a good attentive mother. Nature can be cruel.

    I find it sort of funny that the Carrion Crow should preen and dry itself after its bath in the exact same sequence my canary bird did, up to an including rubbing its beak in small branches (my canary used to do that against the cage bars). Makes you think the small and modestly intelligent and the large and smart do the same thing in the same steps.

    Who would win in a very angry Swan vs. very hungry Heron match?

    1. Canaries and crows are both songbirds, and I suppose there is a songbird routine for bathing. I've seen it with other species.

      I've never seen a swan and a heron get into a fight, and hope not to. But I think a heron would be able to inflict a punishing blow with its terrible beak and then escape the more powerful swan's retaliation with a quick vertical takeoff.

    2. It's no contest, a mute swan is in the order of 6x the weight of a grey heron. Hickory vs. matchwood. Jim.

    3. For sure, but Herons float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.

    4. We aren't talking about a close quarters wrestling match.

    5. There are a few vids on youtube of swan v. heron. A swan will be able to dodge its head faster than a human fighter and then bite and overbalance the heron. Then the heron would be in much bigger trouble than a goose or duck so attacked. Hence it never gets this far. Jim

    6. PS just came across this one of Extreme quarrel between swan and geese, nb twist in the tale worthy of Tom & Jerry etc! Jim