Saturday 30 June 2018

A pair of Blackbirds in the leaf yard have at least one fledgling. It could be heard calling in the bushes, and when I gave its father some sultanas it came out to share the treat.

There were also some Goldfinches here ...

... and the male Little Owl was enjoying the sunshine in his usual tree.

The pair of Coal Tits near the bridge, not seen for some time, also have young. They came out to collect pine nuts for them.

There was a young Blackcap beside the Long Water.

A Goldcrest hung upside down from a branch.

The unstoppable Coots, evicted from their nest on the net on the raft by an Egyptian Goose, are back on it again.

The Coots under the parapet of the Italian Garden were busy feeding their chicks. The parents are finding small creatures in the water below the floating weed, but what are they? The lake is full of Daphnia, tiny crustaceans, but you would think they were too small for a Coot to bother with.

The Canada Geese with three Greylag goslings are almost always seen with another pair with three Canada goslings. It will be interesting to see how the relationship develops when the Greylags are older -- though it must already be very apparent that they are different from the other family's young.

A pair of Gadwalls have returned to the Long Water. They don't migrate, they just fly in and out of the park as the mood takes them, probably from the gardens of Buckingham Palace where there is a small breeding population.

More Cormorants have arrived to eat this year's young fish.

A pair of Common Blue Damselflies mated in the reed bed near the bridge.

Friday 29 June 2018

A Little Egret visited the Long Water. They are getting commoner in southern England, but are still very rare visitors to central London.

It spent some time preening its immaculate white feathers on the gravel bank at the Vista.

The Great Crested Grebe family were a few yards along the bank, in the same place as yesterday.

The new Coot family remain under the parapet of the Italian Garden, near the dead willow tree.

The Tufted ducklings were at the east end of the Serpentine again, bobbing up and down like toy submarines.

Virginia sent this charming picture of two of them riding on their mother's back.

I went to the Round Pond to see how the Egyptian goslings were doing. They are down to six, but the survivors are growing fast, and are beginning to grow the primary feathers in their wings.

Their mother chased away a much larger Canada Goose that had got too near her goslings.

Three families of Greylags, with quite large goslings, saw someone with a plastic bag that might have contained food, and came in to the edge of the Serpentine.

The Mute Swan and her four small cygnets are tolerated by the dominant pair on the Long Water provided they don't go too far from the bridge. They were eating water weed.

Carrion Crows have to learn how to remove the shells of peanuts, by watching their parents do it. This one hasn't got the trick yet.

A Song Thrush sang in the Flower Walk. They will be falling silent soon, along with the other songbirds. Even Robins, which sing almost all the year round, are mostly silent in July.

Great Tits come down time after time to collect pine nuts to feed their hungry fledglings,  whose scratchy begging calls you can hear in the background.

The male Little Owl near the leaf yard was in the upper chestnut tree.

I bicycled to The Leg o' Mutton Reservoir, a small nature reserve on the south bank of the Thames just upstream of Hammersmith Bridge, to see a Common Tern with two chicks on a raft. Sorry about the poor quality of this video. I put on a polarising filter to cut glare, and it had a very bad effect on clarity.

Thursday 28 June 2018

The Tufted Duck family have moved from the Serpentine island to the east end of the lake.

The ducklings like climbing on to their mother's back, though she isn't interested in carrying them and shakes them off.

When Mandarin drakes go into eclipse and lose their fine breeding plumage, the difference is very striking. But female Mandarins growing new feathers just look a little dishevelled for a while.

Blondie the Egyptian Goose has had a second brood this year, though there are only three goslings. One of them is blonde and, if it is lucky enough to grow up, will look like her. The family were at the terrace of the Dell restaurant, only a few feet from where Blondie herself was hatched.

The new Great Crested Grebe family on the Long Water were even farther away today and it was impossible to get a reasonable photograph. But the three chicks are in good shape.

The nest in the fallen poplar ...

... and the one in the reed bed ...

... although they have to be viewed from the far side of the lake, are a bit more visible. There is no sign of chicks yet on the first nest, after a false alarm last week. But the grebe on the second nest its wings slightly raised, and it's possible there's a chick under them.

One of the young grebes at the island got tired of pestering its father for food and went off to look for small fish in the shallow water at the edge.

A new family of Coots has appeared under the parapet of the Italian Garden -- you can hear the fountains. The chicks have no trouble getting through the water weed, although they can't run over it like the smaller and lighter Moorhen chicks.

Young Blue Tits and their parents were flying in and out of a dead tree near the bridge, and evidently this is where the nest was.

Several young Long-Tailed Tits were flitting around in a hawthorn near the Albert Memorial.

A dead branch on one of the catalpa trees near the Italian Garden is used as a lookout by Jackdaws.

The male Little Owl at the leaf yard was in the upper chestnut tree, but in an awkward place where he couldn't be seen clearly.

In the wildflower patch behind the Lido, it's the purple flowers, of several species, that get the most attention from Honeybees.

Wednesday 27 June 2018

There's a new family of Tufted Ducks at the west end of the island. This is only the second time that Tufted Ducks have bred in the park in the past 15 years. The ducklings can dive from the moment they are hatched, and we're all hoping that this will save some of them from the hungry Herring Gulls.

I tried to get a closer view of them with the help of the kind people at Bluebird Boats, who took me out to the island. But they had gone into cover by the time we arrived. However, I did get a good view of the Great Crested Grebe chicks, now almost as large as their father. You can hear them begging in the previous video.

There's a new family of grebes on the Long Water, from an unseen nest, with three chicks. The parents were keeping them on the east side of the Long Water between the Vista and the bridge, a place that can only be seen from a considerable distance, so it's impossible to get good pictures.

The chicks were being fed at frequent intervals ...

... with the inch-long carp that are now plentiful on the Long Water.

One of the young Coots at the Dell restaurant looked suspiciously at the camera.

The Greylag gosling brought up by the Canada Geese with 14 goslings of their own is beginning to be isolated from the rest of the brood. Its step-parents are still guarding it, but there's a noticeable distance between it and the other goslings.

Another Canada Goose carried its country's flag. (Actually it's a London Plane leaf, but it's the right shape.)

The two teenage Grey Herons stood side by side on the awning of the small electric boat.

The younger heron, which I think was hatched here in the upper nest on the island, was round the far side of the island, standing on an abandoned Coots' nest . This is a view from the boat.

This heron under the edge of the Italian Garden is an an area teeming with small fish, if only it can spot them under the thick carpet of weed. It's looking for an area clear enough to see through.

Many of the Great Tit fledglings are now coming to take food from my hand. They watch their parents and learn quickly.

The male Little Owl at the leaf yard was in the nest tree.

A beautiful female Black-Tailed Skimmer dragonfly rested in the long grass north of the Albert Memorial.

A Common Blue Damselfly flew over the little pond at the top of the Dell waterfall.

Tuesday 26 June 2018

The Canada Geese with 14 of their own goslings and one Greylag gosling are a familiar sight. But there are two other pairs of Canadas with Greylag goslings, in both cases without any of their own. One has three, the rearmost in this picture of two families passing by. Note the paler colour of their bills. They are also beginning to get orange legs, while the Canada goslings are developing black bills and legs, and the older ones are starting to show the black and white face of an adult Canada.

The other pair have two Greylag goslings.

Thanks to Jorgen for pointing out these goslings to me. He thinks that these last two broods are not adopted, but are the result of Greylags laying eggs in Canada nests, though it's not clear how they could keep returning to lay several.

The Egyptian Goose family at the Vista are down to four goslings. Are they going to get any through this time, having failed with every previous brood?

The youngest cygnets were near the bridge, with their mother keeping an eye on them.

Most Mallards are vague about looking after their ducklings, but this one near the island guards them carefully. As a result, she has been able to raise three in a very exposed place with hungry gulls a constant menace.

The Great Crested Grebe family have stayed at the west end of the island for several days. The chicks were pestering their father.

One of them flapped a pair of completely developed wings. They will soon be trying to fly, something that doesn't come easily to grebes, and young ones often lose control and splash ignominiously into the lake.

The pigeon-killing Lesser Black-Backed Gull is now seldom seen on his old patch, but he was here today looking as smart as ever. Yesterday I found the remains of a Jay here, executed in his usual style.

The male Little Owl near the leaf yard was in an awkward place in the upper of the two chestnut trees, and wouldn't turn round.

This young Blackbird in the Flower Walk is now independent and was looking for worms by itself.

The young Long-Tailed Tits are also beginning to hunt independently.

In sunny weather, large carp come to the shallow water in front of the Peter Pan statue, which is warmed by the sunshine. This year's young fish can also be seen darting about. A carp of over 52 lb (24 kg) has been caught in the lake.

There are a few Red Admiral butterflies in the shrubberies around the edge of the Long Water.

I also saw a Speckled Wood, but it wouldn't stop for a picture.