Monday, 2 April 2018

It was a wet Easter Monday.

Fortunately, quick action has saved the reed bed near the bridge from being destroyed by Mute Swans. The post they knocked over, on the left of this picture, has been driven back in, and the excluded swans are mooching around crossly outside the fence.

It will take some time for the reeds to recover. A small group of swans can undo the work of years in a single day.

On the Serpentine, a swan was eating a clump of sprouted wheat, part of the New Year celebration of Nowruz by Iranians and other peoples the vernal equinox. They sprout seeds to symbolise spring. On the 13th day they throw the clumps of green shoots into running water, and the Serpentine, which at least is a lake in the bed of a natural river, is full of them. The swan has turned the clump upside down to get at the grains on the underside.

A pair of Gadwalls fed peacefully in the rain.

The Little Owls' tree near the Albert Memorial was again occupied by Mallards. Evidently they are thinking of nesting in a hole, which is not usual but does sometimes happen.

The plane tree next to it had several Mandarins in it, They habitually nest in tree holes, and have several times used this tree. Two drakes were standing tall, trying to get the attention of a female.

A third drake was on a branch in front of the nest hole.

The two other well known Little Owl trees were both occupied. As I approched the one by the leaf yard the male owl, who had been perched on a branch above the hole, dashed into it. But the female, who had been on the edge of the hole, stared at me calmly.

The female near the Henry Moore sculpture took no notice at all.

The Great Crested Grebes are still holding on to the Coot nest which they have stolen on the island. Today there was no sign of a Coot anywhere near.

The Coots nesting on the buoys on the edge of the Lido have built up their nest considerably since yesterday.

A Cormorant fishing under the parapet of the Italian Garden flew away to find somewhere better.

There are just three Black-Headed Gulls left on the Round Pond.

A male Dunnock sang on a bramble on the west side of the Long Water.

A rather damp Chaffinch sang in a tree near the Rose Garden.

The friendly Robin in the Rose Garden waited for me to fill the feeder.

A pair of Long-Tailed Tits were flying around in the Dell.


  1. It's also possible, when you see drakes and a duck like that, that one or both have already mated with her and they are protecting her. Last week I saw such a group of three mallards foraging on wet lawn and the duck looked pregnant. Jim

    1. Quite possibly. This tree is an unfortunate nest site, as when the chicks emerge their mother takes them to the Round Pond, where they don't stand a chance. They need to be headed off if they can be found and taken to the Long Water, though this is only slightly better. Most successful breeding of Mandarins takes place on the Regent's Canal this side of Regent's Park, where there is more cover and fewer big gulls.

  2. I don't know if Coots' giving up on anything is a sign of the coming Apocalypse, alongside with earth-wide quakes and blooo-red waters, but I am certainly hoping the Grebes will keep that nest. It looks like a good, suitable place.

    Swans clearly derive much enjoyment out of vandalism.

    1. If, and only if, the Coots can be kept from the stolen nest until they have built another nest, it might be possible for the grebes to keep it. But I have never seen this happen. Nor, as far as I can remember, have I seen the Apocalypse.