Thursday 3 May 2018

The House Martins are back in their nests in the cornice of the Kuwaiti Embassy in Knightsbridge, just outside the park. Their nests on top of the petals of the downward-facing plaster flowers are quite unlike normal ones,  and are invisible from the ground. I shot this video from under the porch of the French Embassy opposite the Kuwaiti one, and the sound track includes me explaining to a suspicious French official what I was doing. The French used to have nests on their embassy too until they installed anti-bird defences, and all the House Martins decamped to the Kuwaitis.

The Rose-Ringed Parakeets are also nesting. Here is one leaving a hole in an oak tree ...

... and flying off.

Here are the Great Crested Grebes at the island with their latest chick. They are feeding it feathers to help with its digestion -- but are they finding any proper food for it? There is one egg still unhatched.

The grebes above are on a nest they stole from a pair of Coots, but this nest at the bridge was started by a pair of Grebes and is now occupied by a Coot.

Blondie the Egyptian Goose seems to have recovered from the loss of her young, and is back with her mate. But the pair's territory is far too open, and it's doubtful whether another brood will survive. She was successful twice on the other side of the lake, where there's more cover.

The Grey Heron at the Lido restaurant eyed the diners hungrily, hoping someone would throw it food. It's only a matter of time before it starts raiding occupied tables, like its predecessor in the territory which would swoop down and seize food off people's plates.

A Grey Wagtail hunted insects along the edge of the terrace of the Lido restaurant, where a screen of planters shielded it from the people at the tables.

A Magpie bathed in the Serpentine.

A Wren was singing on a twig near the bridge, its eyes half closed with the effort of making this tremendous noise.

A Dunnock hopped around under a bush in the leaf yard. There's a pair here, probably nesting now.

A Small White butterfly was almost invisible on a white flower until it flew away.

These pretty little blue flowers have come up in the wildflower patch at the back of the Lido. Although I know practically nothing about flowers, I have worked out that the plant is a kind of Speedwell, maybe Germander Speedwell (Veronica chamaedrys).


  1. Hi Ralph, Is the Grebe video from today (Thursday) or the day before? Yesterday (Wednesday) evening there were two chicks and one unhatched egg. Indeed not seen them feeding fish, only feathers. Michael

    1. The grebe video was shot only a couple of hours before I wrote the blog. I could see no sign of more than one chick.

  2. I'd have thought you would know that flower. It looks like Bird's Eye or Veronica persica.

    1. Thanks for the identification. But if you think I should know that, you are taking too kind a view of my total ignorance in this field.

  3. I guess the Grebe parents would feed the chick feathers because they are giving it real food, even if we cannot see when? Otherwise would they bother? Or perhaps that's asking for human logic. Maybe they are feeding it insects, as per the clip from last Tuesday.

    Glad to see Blondie is rallying. I don't know if it'd be better that she didn't try again.

    I'd pay good money to be robbed of food by a heron! Just as I would to be able to understand what the French gentleman is saying to Ralph in the video.

    1. For the behaviour of the previous heron to occupy this territory, see this picture.