Sunday 1 April 2018

Mute Swans got into the reed bed yesterday by knocking over a wooden post. There were only a couple of them at first, but today there is a crowd, and with their customary destructiveness they are trashing the reeds. I've alerted the park staff, but it's a bank holiday weekend. If northing is done till Tuesday, there will be no reeds left.

The swans on the Round Pond are fascinated by the water inlet, and both young birds and adults like to play in the spray. But why on earth is this swan biting the metal deflector on top of the pipe?

There is a new Great Crested Grebes' nest in a reed bed on the east side of the Long Water, here photographed from across the lake. This pair of grebes, unlike some others, realise that reed stems are a suitable material for making a nest.

But there's a Coot nest only a couple of feet away, and friction is inevitable. When a Coot got too near it was confronted and chased back to its own nest.

The grebes at the island are still keeping the Coots away from the nest that the grebes have stolen from them. The Coot on top of the basket didn't dare to approach any closer. There always seems to be a grebe guarding the nest. Can they get away with this theft?

A Coot was building a nest in a gap in the line of buoys along the edge of the Lido swimming area. To their taste, the bright orange float is the biggest and best possible nest ornament.

The Coot nest under the Dell restaurant balcony has been built up further. This nest is not attached to anything, and is simply a pile of soggy twigs resting on the lake bed in about 20 inches of water. It keeps falling to pieces from the action of the waves, and it requires great determination from the Coots to rebuild it.

A pair of Moorhens are building a nest under the willow tree near the bridge, using twigs from a nearby Coots' nest which for some reason is generally unoccupied.

Another pair were on the rock in the Long Water near the Italian Garden, fondly eating each other's parasites.

The Canada Geese nesting on the tern raft on the Long Water now have two eggs.

A small group of Red Crested Pochards were diving under the moored pedalos.

More nesting: a pair of Jackdaws are making a nest in a hole in the Little Owls' tree near the Albert Memorial. The actual nest site was impossible to photograph on a dark day, but here is one of the Jackdaws gathering twigs.

A Carrion Crow was in the same tree, breaking off a twig to use in its nest elsewhere.

There are also Rose-Ringed Parakeets nesting in another hole in this tree. Again, a photograph will have to wait for better light. There was no sign of the owls today, though their hole is not threatened by any of these other birds.

A dead oak nest to the tree had an attractive pinkish bracket fungus round the base. As usual, I can't identify it.

Update: Mario tells me it's an Oyster Mushroom. It's an unusually pale one.

A Goldcrest was leaping around in a yew tree on the northeast corner of the leaf yard, near the path.

A pair of Coal Tits in the yew tree next to the bridge came out to be fed.


  1. I had the pleasure of seeing a couple of Little Owls on the wing this afternoon heading west from the leaf yard. One was calling and the other following. I hope it was just a temporary escape from the pestering neighbours and they weren't looking for a permanent change of scenery.

    1. I have sometimes seen these owls flying from tree to tree. I don't think they'd be calling they were having trouble with a Magpie. Hope it's a but of flirtation.

  2. There is a pair of Magpies that have been playing at building a nest in one or another of the three London Plane trees outside my window for a couple of weeks now, talking loudly to each other. Like the Jackdaws, they are breaking off a lot of twigs,and dropping many (which the poor man who sweeps the yard has to gather). But they can't settle on which tree to use. The lack of any leaves yet, i.e. cover makes this enterprise not seem like such a good idea; maybe they're young and inexperienced? They do help keeping the pigeons away from my small-bird-windowfeeder. The Goldfinches are quite unbothered by their presence, unlike the pigeons.

    1. Do you think they're having difficulty making the twigs lodge in the trees? There is already a Magpie nest in the park near the bridge, but it's in an evergreen tree.

    2. Today I notice that they do seem to concentrate on the same tree-elbow, and I think I can see a thickening of twigs in there. The twigs are rather stiff. (Bit of a lack of evergreen trees around here). I do hope they stick at it- would be good to observe Magpie fledglings from my window!

  3. The mushroom: Pleurotus ostreatus, the oyster mushroom (with the usual caveat, as identifying from photos is a tricky business)

    1. Thanks. I had been wondering about that, but it is such a delicate pale pink that I had decided against it. It's on a dead oak, trunk only with no branches, a few feet east of the Little Owls' tree northwest of the Albert Memorial. Look for a solitary plane tree among the oaks with a little evergreen shrub growing out from its roots.

  4. Perhaps the Mute Swan is biting he metal deflector because it can see its reflection and thinks it's another swan? Or maybe that's their way of exploring a new thing (small children stick things in their mouths to gauge contour, size and shape. Perhaps swans do the same).

    I am really cheering for the Grebes to keep the stolen nest for themselves.

  5. The grebes are still hanging on today.