Sunday 31 March 2019

A pair of Goldcrests have built a nest in the yew tree next to the bridge, in a place hard to see and harder to photograph. It's a solid little construction of moss and mud strengthened with spider webs.

The Goldcrests could be seen dashing about in the tree, but didn't come into view for long enough to take a picture. However, in the same place there were a Chaffinch ...

... a Robin ...

... a Wren ...

... and a Coal Tit.

A Long-Tailed Tit crossing the path near Peter Pan looked sombre against a dull grey cloud.

On the other side of the lake a Blue Tit emerged from its nest hole, rather tentatively when it saw a camera pointed at it, but eventually it decided it was all right to come out.

A Blackcap sang in a hawthorn tree.

A Jackdaw looked into a nest hole in a dead tree near the Albert Memorial.

The young Grey Herons were climbing and flapping around their nest. In the background is the new nest with a couple of adults on it.

The sound of heron chicks begging could be heard from the nest on the other side of the island. I've been keeping an eye on it from the other side of the lake, but haven't seen them yet.

A handful of Black-Headed Gulls are still lingering on the Serpentine.

The Great Crested Grebes at the west end of the island have finally succeeded in attaching a nest of sorts to the wire basket.

The Coot nest under the willow near the bridge, unattended for several days, is now occupied again, dashing the hopes of the grebe who was hanging around hoping to steal it.

A pair of Mute Swans made a nest at the end of the reed bed under the Diana fountain. This is not a good place, but they haven't much choice. The male swan picked reeds and passed them to his mate, who arranged them.

The pair of Canada Geese thrown off the little island by the dominant Mute Swan were starting a nest in a reed bed on the other side of the Long Water.

There have been no further casualties in the two Egyptian Goose families. One still has six goslings ...

... and the other has two.

The six goslings are wandering around dangerously despite constant calls from their mother. This contrasts sadly with the behaviour of Canada and Greylag goslings, which follow their mother like a shadow, and of course have a much higher survival rate.

A brisk chilly wind was blowing, disarranging a Mandarin beside the Serpentine.

Saturday 30 March 2019

A pair of Great Crested Grebes on the Serpentine were displaying enthusiastically. It looked as if they were going to dance.

They did.

The grebe under the willow near the bridge was guarding his territory as usual.

A Mute Swan touched down on the lake, narrowly missing a Coot.

Another Coot found a couple of swans on what it considered was its own territory, and tried to shoo them away by pecking one of them. The swan took no notice.

There was a dead swan on the gravel strip on the Long Water, probably killed by a fox. A Grey Heron had scavenged a bit and was eating it.

The Egyptian Geese on the Serpentine still have six goslings, down from seven yesterday. They seem to be taking reasonable care of them, but with Egyptians you never know when they are going to rush off and attack another pair, leaving the young unprotected.

There is now another family on the Serpentine. They have only two goslings, probably having lost several already.

A pair of Gadwalls preened on the edge of the Serpentine.

A sunny interval showed off the brilliant colours of a Red Crested Pochard drake.

The females are also very elegant in a quiet way.

The young Grey Herons were still in their nest. They should be flying out any day now.

A Little Owl called from the middle of Buck Hill. It was the male of the pair whose hole is in the lime tree. He flies around quite widely, and is sometimes seen in a large isolated horse chestnut tree, or in an oak a short distance away.

There was a pair of Stock Doves on the lime tree, hanging around the Little Owls' hole. Stock Doves try to steal holes from Little Owls, but don't always succeed.

While I was feeding the male Nuthatch at the leaf yard, the female was up in the big oak, busily digging larvae out of the bark.

A Great Tit near the bridge came out to be fed.

Friday 29 March 2019

A brand-new brood of seven Egyptian goslings attracted unwelcome attention from a bad-tempered Mute Swan.

All the young Grey Herons had climbed out of their nest and were in a neighbouring tree.

The new nest next door to theirs had two adults in it. It looks as if they mean business.

A Coot brought a leaf to its mate in the nest next to the bright orange buoy whose fascinating colour made them build in this awkward spot.

Out on the lake, fighting went on as usual.

This picture shows a pair of Great Crested Grebes in which it's easy to tell the female from the male. She is on the left, slimmer and with a noticeably narrower head and crest. But in some pairs it's hard to tell the sexes apart.

At the Lido, a female Mandarin, temporarily unbothered by flashy drakes, went about her own quiet business.

The Mute Swans have repossessed the little island in the Long Water from the Canada Geese squatting there. An ejected goose egg has sadly floated over to the other side of the lake to lodge in a reed bed.

A Grey Heron found nothing edible at the small waterfall at the bottom of the Dell, and flew up to the pool at the top.

It was annoyed when a Magpie found a bit of bread that it had missed.

The Little Owl near the Henry Moore sculpture came out on a branch.

Starlings thronged the Lido restaurant, where there is leftover food as well as tasty insects eating it.

A Robin perched on a twig on Buck Hill.

A Long-Tailed Tit in the Dell stared imperiously at the camera.

A Great Tit foraged under the bushes near the bridge.

The shy Coal Tit in the leaf yard waited for a chance to take a seed off the railings without being shoved out of the way by bigger birds.

A Jackdaw was also waiting for food, clinging to the bark of the big oak tree.

A Carrion Crow posed on the fence in front of a reed bed.

Thursday 28 March 2019

A Blue Tit emerged from a nest hole in a tree trunk, holding some detritus it was clearing out. It's not the droppings of the young, as these emerge in neat white packages which the parent bird takes some distance away to avoid revealing the location of the nest.

She preened on a twig -- this probably is a female, looking very tatty after breeding and nesting, with a lot of missing head feathers. She won't recover her looks till the autumn moult.

A Blackcap sang cheerfully in a holly tree beside the Long Water, probably the same bird as the one I photographed yesterday.

Chiffchaffs rush around madly in trees, and are not at all easy to film. This one was only singing sporadically, so it's not much of a video, but the best I could get.

A Wren was also singing in a reed bed.

There was another Wren in a flower bed in the Rose Garden ...

... along with a Dunnock, which skulked under plants and wouldn't come out for a clear photograph. This is a male, I think, judging by the large area of grey on his head.

A Pied Wagtail beside the Serpentine stared suspiciously at the camera.

The Little Owl near the Henry Moore sculpture was also in a nervous mood and crouched low down in her hole.

A pair of Carrion Crows gazed lovingly at each other.

The young Grey Herons were still in the nest and not doing much ...

... but there were events on the other side of the island, where the clattering sound of young herons showed that another brood has hatched. A ride kindly provided by Bluebird Boats gave a closer view, but the height of the nest makes it impossible to see how many young birds are in it.

There is also a new nest on the southeast corner of the island, quite low down on top of a hawthorn bush. But the bird in it is still grey-headed, and only a year old. Can Grey Herons breed at such a young age?

Unexpectedly, it is possible to see the Great Crested Grebes' nest on the east side of the Long Water from the path above it through a gap in the undergrowth.

The nesting Mute Swan beside the boat house was obsessively picking up and rearranging twigs. It doesn't make much difference here, since the swan is nesting on a hard surface with twigs that she and her mate have collected, but when they nest in vegetation they can rip up and wreck a large area of plants.

A swaggering Mandarin drake impressed his mate by routing a Gadwall and a Mallard, but he was then chased off himself by an even more aggressive Coot.

A female Gadwall preened her beautifully marked feathers.