Monday 14 May 2018

A pair of Canada Geese have 15 goslings. Virginia got a pleasing picture of them sheltering under their mother, or as close to her as they could get. 

Out on the lake, they attracted the unwelcome attention of a Lesser Black-Backed Gull and a Herring Gull which tried to snatch one of them -- fortunately it had the good sense to dive. The parents took them ashore, where they combined with another family with two goslings.

One of the Bar-Headed Geese from St James's Park paid us a visit. In the background, a Coot has built a nest in a very foolish place.

A family of Egyptian Geese at the Round Pond have managed to hold on to two chicks in spite of the gulls. The father (not shown here) is extremely aggressive and has managed to drive most of the other Egyptians off the pond. Egyptians' territorial behaviour  is counter-productive, as they spend time away from their chicks, which are often predated while the parents are fighting.

The nesting Mute Swan on the little island on the Long Water had her five cygnets under her wings. She passed the time by trying to tear out one of the few plants on the island that she hasn't yet destroyed.

Another picture by Virginia, a Mallard with just one duckling on the Long Water. There will have been a lot more originally, but the gulls, crows and herons are alert and hungry.

The Great Crested Grebes at the island fed one of their chicks with a disappointingly small fish.

The father had a moment of rest from the endless fishing needed to keep the chicks alive. The orange reflection is from a workman's hi-vis overall.

Two grebes had a brief territorial fight at the east end of the Serpentine. Usually these disputes are settled by threat displays, but sometimes things go wrong and a fight breaks out. Violent as it looks, it's usually a harmless wrestling match and no one gets hurt.

A Coot tried to add a ridiculously long stick to its nest on a post at Peter Pan.

The Coots nesting perilously at the top of the weir where water flows out of the Serpentine added to their nest. No chick has ever survived from a nest here -- they always get washed away.

A Moorhen took it easy on a post nest to the bridge.

A Grey Wagtail hunted insects in the flotsam on the edge of the lake at the Lido.

A Carrion Crow sunbathed in the Dell. They always look stricken and pathetic when doing this, but you might say the same about human sunbathers.

A Jackdaw and a Magpie perched uneasily side by side on a pink-flowered hawthorn bush.

The male Little Owl at the leaf yard was at the top of the chestnut tree.


  1. Hi, a friend of mine directed me to your blog! I spent part of yesterday in just a small part of the park bird watching. I plan to explore more today and was wondering if you would share more information about where to find the Little Owl? Particularly around what time you would suggest looking. Im not sure where the leaf yard is either but hopefully the signs will help. Thanks

    1. The leaf yard is not signposted, as it's a utility not a sight. It's the railed enclosure halfway up the west side of the Long Water (the part of the lake that is in Kensington Gardens) which has the statue of Peter Pan on its east side, facing the water. From Peter Pan, walk south to the corner of the enclosure, then look up the hill to the southwest. Fifty yards away there is an old broken-down sweet chestnut tree with a bramble patch round its base. This is the Little Owls' tree. Usually the owl is best viewed from the west side, standing under another chestnut next to this tree. You may be able to see an owl at any time, but early morning and late evening are best.

  2. That clip of the Gull's trying to snatch a gosling is hair-raising. Thank God it had a happy end. I could not help joining the woman who cried in Spanish "¡No, por favor!" ("Please no!") in the background.

    What is that Coot going to do with that long stick, I wonder. If I didn't know better, I'd say it meant to beat other Coot over the head with it!

    So many great, great illustrative pictures, as always. I hardly know how to pick which one is the day's favourite.

    1. I was very surprised to see the gosling escape. Usually these snatches are efficient and fatal.