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.


  1. Brilliant visuals of the Mallard family swimming above the enormous carp.
    I'm guessing that if a carp reaches a certain size, it would be safe from being eaten by anything in the park? Short of bears, I can't imagine who would tackle that. Apart from human anglers.

    1. Yes, those carp are safe enough. But it would be good to have bears in London, and wolves too. Both lived in England in historical times.

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    3. Boars are back in some parts of England, and people moan. In Germany (again.. I watch their news sometimes) wolves are back in the wild, and people moan. Boars ditto. Certain areas have raccoons! Here you can understand the moaning perhaps- not native , and not in the same areas as the wolves (which might help with both).

  2. I think I can go one better on that ginormous carp. It was reported last week that an angler from Navarra caught a two metre-long catfish in a reservoir. The thing is monstruous.

    So Pigeon Killer was able to catch a poor jay? Dear God. Pigeons are no fools, but jays are positively smart and quick.

    Funny how Canadas appear not to recognize their own species. Or perhaps they do and they don't care.

    1. Paul saw a small catfish in one of the Italian Gardens ponds. It must have been dumped there by someone, though it seems an odd thing for anyone to keep in their aquarium or pond. Both catfish and carp go on growing.

      Canadas do recognise their own species, and do care. The single Greylag gosling with the 14 Canada goslings is already getting shunned by its siblings, and it's only a matter of time before its step-parents start chasing it away. I'm not sure what will happen with the Canada parents who have only Greylag goslings.

    2. They ought to eliminate that catfish before it grows larger. Not only are they pests, they eat anything marginally smaller than they are. Our own catfish plague began because some German anglers dumped a couple of animals in a reservoir in Zaragoza in the late 70s for fishing purposes. Being large and aggressive, of course they soon proliferated and rose to the top of the trophic chain, as they indeed do not have predators once they reach their adult size. As of now, they are everywhere, a threat and a pest to all local fauna.

      A few years ago, when they were trying to make the Tagus river navigable for cruises in certain spots, divers had to use cages underwater because the catfishes in the area were thought to be potentially dangerous.

    3. Fortunately this catfish is stuck in a small pool with no connection to the outside. The Italian Garden pools and fountains are a closed system, apart from the marble fountain at the bottom which is separate from them and is the means by which water is fed into the lake from the borehole.