Sunday 10 June 2018

There are already two Great Crested Grebe nests on the Long Water, but today a third pair was building a nest in an unlikely spot apparently unattached to anything. There must be a submerged branch just below the surface. I don't think this nest will last long, but the grebes should be able to find a better spot when it collapses.

This picture was taken from a considerable distance, looking across the lake at an angle from the Vista.

The grebes' nest at the island, stolen from a Coot, has now been reclaimed, and the Coot has built it up into a proper nest with plenty of stout twigs.

The two grebe chicks could be heard, but not seen, at opposite ends of the island.

The Coots' nest on the edge of the Serpentine under the planters of the Lido restaurant looks to be well established. If it succeeds, it will be the only nest built on the concrete shore that has done so, as far as I can recall. The Coot saw off a Magpie that had got too close.

But Coots don't always win. The pair that nested on the net draped over the unused tern raft have been displaced by an Egyptian Goose.

On the other side of the bridge, the Egyptian pair have, against the odds, managed to keep two goslings alive in a very exposed place.

Greylag Geese and their goslings hurried off the grass on to the Serpentine as a dog came past, only to be exposed to Herring Gulls wheeling around a boat where people were unwisely feeding them. It's a tribute the the careful attention of the parents that few goslings are taken.

But Mallard ducklings seldom last long on the Serpentine, and it's remarkable that these three have survived attacks from Herring Gulls for a week.

A family of Mute Swans hung around the boathouses waiting to be given some unhealthy bread. They never have to wait long. Somehow they survive their bad diet.

The cygnets on the Long Water are noticeably larger. The family is now in firm possession of the gravel bank at the Vista, thanks to the efforts of the dominant male in driving all the other swans off the Long Water.

A Grey Heron ate insects off a patch of floating weed.

The heron that hangs around the Dell in the hope of getting food from the diners on the restaurant terrace has taken up a position on the restaurant roof previously occupied by the notorious pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull.

The gull himself is now seldom seen at the restaurant, probably because the local pigeons have learnt to give him a wide berth. However, every day recently I have seen a dead pigeon torn open in his characteristic style somewhere at the edge of the Serpentine, so he is certainly still in action.

This is the same heron seen later at the small waterfall in the Dell, waiting patiently for a fish to come within reach. There are plenty of fish of all sizes, mostly carp, as small fish get washed over the larger waterfall upstream and spend the rest of their life in this little stretch of water.

A family of Long-Tailed Tits passed by near the Italian Garden.

A Blue-Tailed Damselfly posed obligingly on a reed stem.


  1. Coots may get the uppper hand on Grebes, more so if nests are involved, but Egyptians don't flinch in the face of frikking Nile crocodiles, so...

    The waterfall in the Dell is such a lovely spot. Even the waiting Heron adds to its harmonious, aesthetic lines.

    1. When Egyptian Geese first arrived in the park and started breeding like crazy, we thought they would be 'the next Canadas', out of control and everywhere. Their numbers went up to about 110 in a few years. But since then they have fallen gradually, and my last count was of 36 adults. This is almost certainly due to the recent large increase in the Herring Gull population. So they may win against crocodiles, but not against gulls.