Wednesday 30 May 2018

Both the Little Owls at the leaf yard were out of their nest hole. The female was on a branch above it ...

... and the male was in the next tree.

There was no sound of owlets, but it's too early to be sure there aren't any. I haven't heard anything near the nesting places of the two other pairs of Little Owls either.

Another gas lamp beside the Serpentine has a Blue Tit nest in the cast iron post. You can hear the nestlings calling while the parents bustle in and out to feed them.

A young Starling followed its parents around at the Lido restaurant. It's the same bird in each of the three shots.

Earlier this year a pair of Great Crested Grebes began a nest in the reed bed on the east side of the Long Water, but abandoned it. Now they've started again, with a better chance of success as there are now some small fish to feed the chicks.

One of the grebe chicks at the island was given a perch. This had to be turned round to be offered head first, because its spiny dorsal fin made it hard to swallow.

The Coot chicks under the balcony of the Dell restaurant are now swimming around. There are only five, and it looks as if the remaining eggs are infertile.

There's just one chick left in the nest perilously sited on top of the weir at the lake outflow. But at least the parents have tastefully ornamented their nest with flowers.

The Coots on the solar cell platform at the Round Pond still have their two chicks, protected by the bank of cells overhead. There were no gulls on the pond today.

This was also good news for the Egyptian Geese. They pair with the younger brood still have seven goslings.

An Egyptian Goose beside the Serpentine kept between her goslings and a hungry Lesser Black-Backed Gull.

The gull was also eyeing some Coot chick on the far side of it. While waiting for a chance, it had a wash.

The number of Canada goslings on the Serpentine is now up to 30. Here are the newest three.

The Greylag Goose families on the Serpentine came ashore to graze.

An unknown goose reported on the Round Pond turned out to be the Bar-Headed Goose from St James's Park, which had moved up from the Serpentine.

The older brood of four Mute Swan cygnets on the Serpentine were in open water under the watchful eye of their mother. The younger ones were preening on the island.

The female swan on the Long Water saw off a Grey Heron that had got too near her four cygnets.

It's very hard to know what is going on in the well hidden herons' nest on the Serpentine island. In this clip you can hear cries of what seems to be fury, and the clacking sound of a young heron begging to be fed. A few seconds later a heron -- young but a teenager rather than a nestling -- can be seen on the lower nest, which the other pair of herons abandoned a while ago after two unsuccessful nesting attempts.


  1. Can the chick see the Grebe parent underwater? It appears to be able to follow its course.

    Teenage coots look so different from coot chicks. Perhaps their strange red colouring is an attempt to make the adult Coots more interested in them. Coots like red a lot, don't they?

    Canada geese a cleaning up this year. 30 goslings kept alive with so many gulls and herons around must be so kind of record.

    1. Yes, I think the grebe chick can follow the parent's course quite well. Even when the angle is too shallow to see directly, there are signs such as bubbles rising to the surface from disturbed algae. But I have seen chicks make mistakes and having to do a rapid U-turn.

      I'm certain that a newly hatched Coot chick's red head acts as a stimulus to the parent to feed it. This applies to Moorhens too. Later the chicks of both species lose colour.

  2. Poor quality video of a pair of Black-necked Grebes sheltering on Long Water in Kensington Gardens this evening. I only had a small pocket camera with me. The video is better than the photos I managed to take. The birds went to roost at 21:10 and should be there in the morning. They chose to roost just north of the Shingle Island/ Vista, but are probably best viewed from the other side of the lake.

    1. Many thanks for this very interesting video. Tom, Barry and I looked carefully for these grebes all round the lake and the Round Pond this morning without finding them. They may have moved on.

  3. Not sure if this helps or confuses the heron mystery. The first photo below was taken on 31 May next to the island and shows, I believe, the juvenile in your video.

    But the second photo, taken 10 days earlier, shows another young heron with a much greyer appearance (including the bill). It's definitely a different bird, because both were previously seen together on the ground in Kensington Gardens.

    1. Thanks. Both look old enough to fly. Maybe they came in from Regent Park -- but if so, why did they go into the nest here?