Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Blondie the Egyptian Goose has only two goslings left. She keeps them close, but the gulls are numerous, hungry and fast.

A pair of young Mute Swans were courting on the Long Water. They are too young to breed this year.

These Canada--Greylag hybrid geese, which must be siblings, are very similar to each other. Hybrids tend to be varied in appearance, even within broods.

The white Mallard and his mate flew over the solar-powered boat, which has just been refurbished at vast expense.

There was a brisk west wind today, making small waves that rocked the precariously sited Coot nest next to the Dell restaurant. It was still holding together. The sitting bird's mate brought another stick to reinforce it. There are six eggs in the nest.

The Coots in the Italian Garden pond have abandoned the nest they built in the reeds. It may be too open a spot for them, not helped by the fact that they demolished much of the cover themselves to make the nest. Now they are trying to make a nest under the fountain, where there is indeed space but they have never been able to attach the nest to anything and have always failed.

No sign of hatching yet in the Great Crested Grebes' nest at the island. As soon as chicks emerge they will climb on to the parent's back, and he or she will sit with wings slightly raised.

Above them, the Grey Heron is still sitting, looking out from the nest with one eye.

The miniature landscape of the Dell makes these Moorhens look as big as ponies traversing a rocky mountain pass.

Blackcaps are singing all round the Long Water.

The Song Thrush near the bridge was also performing well in a copper beech.

One of the Nuthatches in the leaf yard posed on the trunk of a big tree.

The usual Jay beside the Serpentine was annoyed when I delayed feeding it so that I could get a picture with a pretty background of blossom.

The Starlings waiting to raid the tables at the Lido restaurant were joined by a watchful Carrion Crow.

At this time of year you often see Rose-Ringed Parakeets in the grass eating dandelion leaves ...

... and it seems that Wood Pigeons also like them.

We've not been seeing much of our Little Owls recently while they've been nesting. But Neil has been in New Zealand and has sent this video of a Morepork, a small owl named after its cry. Its appearance is preceded by a brief view of a New Zealand Fantail.


  1. I've long known and enjoyed the name, but never thought to look the bird up. Thanks to Neil's video I have just now. We humans do have an lively imagination: the owl has a very distinctive cry, but I wouldn't have heard 'Morepork'. If anyone else wants to hear :

    1. The Maoris call it ruru, which is no more and no less accurate.

    2. It's like a psychophony, right? Everybody hears different things, and they are all vaguely possible.

      Counting the days until the first glimpse of stripy heads!

    3. Most people, but not all, seem to be agreed about the sound a cuckoo makes, as shown in its name. Even to the Basques it says kuku. To the Israelis it says kukiah and to the Chinese it says bùgǔ, but for the Japanese it is hato, and for the Norwegians it is a monosyllabic gjøk.

  2. I thought the (onomatopoeic) Japanese for 'cuckoo' was 'kakkō'? They have many sorts, and some make very different calls - the 'jū-ichi' [Cuculus fugax] is named after that call, and the 'tsutsudori' ('pipe bird' [C. saturatus]) apparently makes a noise like someone hitting a pipe. [See e.g. ] For the Japanese all cuckoos are bit forlorn, especially the reclusive kankodori, of which Bashō wrote

    already lonely
    you make me feel more sorrowful
    O mountain-cuckoo

    (Harry G.)

    1. Was that in the Japanese a cuckoo haiku? Jim

    2. The word for cuckoo in The Pillow Book of Sei Shōnagon is hototogisu. I think this word is still current over a thousand years later, referring to the Lesser Cuckoo, Cuculus poliocephalus, an endemic Japanese species.