Tuesday 31 July 2018

Yet another Tufted Duck family has appeared on the Serpentine, with thirteen ducklings.

Here they are at the island. That makes six families in the park.

Another brood of seven slightly larger Tufted ducklings were busy collecting food from the bottom of the lake.

Young Egyptian Geese tend to sprawl rather than sit neatly. These two are stretching their newly developed wings.

Probably they are already flying. Jorgen reported having seen the family of Canadas with 15 goslings (including an accidentally adopted Greylag) all flying together, including the youngest Canada (another adoption) which you would not have thought was ready yet.

This family of Mute Swans has edged under the bridge into the territory of the dominant pair who keep the Long Water for themselves. The bank next to the bridge is a sheltered place where the dominant male can't easily attack them.

We haven't had a picture for a while of the two Great Crested Grebe chicks at the reed bed at the north end of the Long Water. Altogther there are eleven chicks on both lakes.

A young Moorhen at Peter Pan is developing the red and yellow bill and the yellow-green legs of an adult.

The young Grey Herons on the island are also growing up fast. One stretched its wings, showing well grown primaries still mostly enclosed in their wrappings.

The female Kestrel was hunting on Buck Hill. I didn't see the male.

No day is complete without a sight of a Little Owl at the leaf yard.

Usually the songbirds fall silent at the end of June, but this Blackbird is still singing a month later. He is the mate of the white-faced Blackbird near the Italian Garden. You can hear the fountains in the background.

One of the pair of Coal Tits at the bridge came down to take a pine nut.

Some Long-Tailed Tits were hunting insects in trees near the Queen's Temple.

This is as close as I could get the camera to a male Red-Tailed Bumblebee as he busied himself drinking nectar from the many florets on a sunflower. The flower was moving gently in the breeze.


  1. It does one's heart good to hear the Blackbird sing, even in the height of summer. He is as glad of the rain as I am sure most of us would be after a lengthy draught.

    If anyone said to me that the Red-Tailed Bumblebee clip was one of the highlights from one of the wonderful BBC Earth documentaries, I wouldn't question it. It's lovely even in its brevity.

    So many Grebe chicks! This is turning to be a good year, despite its unpromising beginnings.

    Tufted families keep falling out of the sky, it seems. Not complaining, of course!

    1. The calmness of the bumblebee was amazing. The camera lens was a handsbreadth above his head, and he went on exploring the flower as if nothing were happening. I kept the clip down to 30 seconds selected from much more footage because it was the longest bit where the autofocus coped with the swaying of the sunflower. It does seem shorter than that.

  2. How amazing and pleasing, yet another large family of tufted ducklings. Does this make them the most successful species on the lake this year in terms of absolute numbers? From nowhere to top of the league in the one season?

    1. Yes, it does. The two big goose species had over 30 each, but the Tufted Ducks have 44 at the moment. However, survival rate will be lower than for the geese.

    2. Any idea how many Egyptian goslings? Jim

  3. Great to see so many Tufty families- they are real characters.

    Pleased you have a Kestrel- they seem to be getting ever scacer around London.

  4. I had no luck spotting the Little Owl today - though I might just have been barking up the wrong tree.

    The Grebe chicks are very noisy and demanding for being so large! Can they feed themselves yet?

    1. None of the surviving grebe chicks can feed themselves yet. The two from the first brood on the island were sent off to feed themselves, but I don't think either of them made it. They were old enough, but it's a testing time and mortality is high.