Monday 4 June 2018

The shrubberies around the Long Water are loud with the cries of young tits calling for food. Most of them are deep in the bushes, but you can get an occasional glimpse of a Great Tit arriving with a caterpillar ...

... and feeding a fledgling.

The Blue Tits were more elusive, but I managed to get one shot of a fledgling.

The Grey Wagtails nesting under the little plank bridge across the waterfall in the Dell are also feeding their young. Here are some views of them, shot from above and below the waterfall.

The female Little Owl was on the same tree as yesterday, just uphill from the nest tree.

There are even more Canada goslings on the Serpentine, and I think the number has now climbed to 34. Here are the most recent four.

The Greylags are also doing well, and have reached 25. Here are 15 of them.

The Mute Swans on the Long Water parked their cygnets on the gravel strip at the Vista. Their mother was not worried by a Moorhen passing close to them, though a Coot would have been pecked away.

Their father chased off a couple of intruding swans.

Yesterday Virginia found five Mallard ducklings near the Lido. They were four or five days old. They've been hard to see because the Lido swimming area is now gated off for paying customers.

The stringy water weed has spread from the Long Water on to the Serpentine, where a pair of Gadwalls were eating it.

It looks as if this Coot is nesting on a lawn, but in fact it's a dense mat of weed in the water near Peter Pan.

Coots often build short-lived nests in silly places on the edge of the lake, but this nest at the Lido restaurant has a chance of survival, as it is screened by a fence and a large planter that keeps people and dogs away.

An unexciting video of an ordinary Coot family -- but somehow four out of five chicks have survived in an open area of the lake with no cover at all from the hungry gulls.

One should always be correctly attired when feeding the Rose-Ringed Parakeets.

A fine specimen of Giant Hogweed at the southwest corner of the bridge. Fortunately it's too far from the railings for anyone to touch it, since it brings you out in large and painful blisters.


  1. and bird droppings are so fetching on white silk.
    I was in the park today for the first time in a long while: what is that new circular wooden fence just south of the leaf-yard for, do you know?

    1. It surrounds a fine old field maple tree that had got dangerously wonky, and they didn't want to hack it about so they fenced it off.

    2. yes, a handsome tree- was wondering if that was the reason. Well done, them.

  2. Oh, I think a different species of that genus we call "hinchamanos" in Extremadura ('swollenhands'). I sustained blisters enough when I was a child to prove it. Is the Giant Hogweed considered an invasive species in the UK? It is in Spain.

    Has Mary Poppins come to visit? Is she singing her wonderfully saccharine song about feeding the birds?

    Coot videos cannot be unexciting. That is a contradiction in its terms.

    1. I looked up hinchamanos but couldn't find anything about giant hogweed. But the name hinchamanos also seems to belong to a species of wild peony, Paeonia broteri, with red flowers. An article on
      walking in Extremadura called it Rosa de Aljandría, but then went on to say:

      En castellano la conocemos por muchos nombres: albardera, bolas de peonia, cebolla chilre, cebolla churri, cuernos, duelecabezas, empaine, empaines, empeine, empeines, escaramondamanos, escaramón, flor de la epilepsia, flor de la maldita, flor de lagarto, flor de lobo, flor de rejalgar, flor del diablo, flor maldita, hierba de la almorrana, hinchagüez, hinchamanos, lirio montés, lirios, matagallina, matagallinas, paeonia, pata de gallina, pata de gallo, pedonia, peonia, peonia real, peonía, peonía macho y hembra, peronía, perruna, pionea, pionia, pionía, pionía de los matorrales, polonias, ponea, quemaojos, rejalgar, rosa, rosa albardera, rosa cagalerosa, rosa de Alejandría, rosa de Santa Clara, rosa de Santa María, rosa de lagarto, rosa de lobo, rosa de monte, rosa de rejalgar, rosa de sarna, rosa del diablo, rosa del monte, rosa macho y hembra, rosa maldita, rosa marchita, rosa mojosa, rosa montesa, rosa montesina, rosa montés, rosa peonía, rosa perruna, rosa puposa, rosa silvestre, rosas del diablo, rosón, rosón del diablo, saltaojos, tamo real, tufona, yerba baaras, yerba casta, yerba de Santa Rosa.

      But all this pales beside the mystery of Mary Poppins.

    2. Mary Poppins wearing white like that ?!

    3. Oh yes, that is the very beautiful but dangerous Rosa de Alejandría, commonly called hinchamanos all over Extremadura. Hinchamanos is also the local name for the tremendously toxic Water dropwort, oenanthe crocata (I had to ask my mother because I didn't remember the name of the plant). My brother and I used to play with that and with the fearsome digitalis purpurea when we were children. We're still here.

      The bewildering diversity of local names for flora and fauna in Extremadura is guaranteed to drive anyone mad. Not even people born and bred here know them all.

  3. Hi Ralph,

    I found a larger injured greylag gosling today with a nasty wound bite type of injury done by the make mute swan from the north side lake who resides on the island and whose female has cygnets. He has been trying to drown him for two days now, but today the poor gosling managed to escape out of the water and staggered around too weak and soaked to get up. I picked him up and took him to the boathouse where they placed him into a box and were to call park ranger. Please keep me posted about his fate if you can, many thanks.

    1. I will probably hear from Mateusz at the boathouse about this the next time I see him. He is very good at rescuing stranded goslings and ducklings.

  4. I'm surprised they are not limiting the greylag and Canada broods by removing/pricking eggs otherwise they will take over?

    1. They used to do this when they had professional gardeners. But the contract labour they use now are too gormless to find goose nests.