Friday 11 May 2018

The Mute Swans on the little artificial island in the Long Water have five cygnets, first seen yesterday and now out on a little expedition to feed.

The newly hatched cygnets followed their mother closely.

She led them back to the nest and settled down with them under her wings.

There is also a new family of Coots here. The parents fed their chicks, and guarded them while they climbed on to a rock.

At the far end of the Serpentine, the enormous Coot nest gets larger daily, and is ornamented with snack packets and sweet wrappers.

This is the Coots' nest at the bridge. What I thought was a black plastic bag at the left edge turns out to be a dead Coot which has now got built into the nest, while the occupant sits impassively. Coots are not sentimental.

There are two Coot nests at the big gap in the reed bed east of the Lido, on opposite sides of the netting. This allows the mates of the two sitting birds to threaten each other without the risk of a fight breaking out.

The Great Crested Grebe family at the island wasn't showing well when I went past, but here are two excellent recent pictures by Julia, who went out on a pedalo to get close-up shots.

On the edge of the Serpentine, a Mandarin defied a Carrion Crow which had come to take its food.

A pair of Red-Crested Pochards cruised past.

Several Pied Wagtails were hunting the swarms of midges over the Round Pond.

There were also plenty of Swifts. Some House Martins were flying round their nests in the Kuwaiti Embassy.

A Reed Warbler sang loudly on the edge of the Long Water, but couldn't be seen. So I've added a good still picture of one by Virginia Grey to the sound recording.

Robins are nesting in several places around the Long Water. Here is one of them.

The white-faced Blackbird flew on to the balustrade of the Italian Garden to take her daily treat of sultanas. Then she flew to a bush, still holding them. I think she's feeding nestlings. I gave her some more later.

The male Little Owl at the leaf yard was in an awkward position in the chestnut tree, and I had to plunge into the brambles to get this shot.


  1. I hope the brambles were kind and allowed you to pass without injury. The picture was certainly worth it.

    That dead Coot... it's almost like the avian version of the custom of burying someone in the foundations of buildings to give them magical protection. One can only admire the Coots' ingenuity in finding a way to have a face-off without danger of coming into harm.

    Great pictures of the stripey chicks being fed! We are out of danger now?

  2. The grebe chicks are far from out of danger. Their parents have to feed them for another eleven weeks.