Tuesday 30 April 2019

The Great Crested Grebe chick on the island looked out from the shelter of its parent's wing.

The Coots whose large nest at the Dell restaurant was destroyed by the recent high winds have rebuilt it in three days, and were mating on it to replace their lost eggs.

The Coots' nest at the bridge has been made comfortable with fresh leaves, and decorated with a red plastic bag.

A pair of Moorhens sat companionably together on the edge of the Serpentine.

A Mandarin drake picked small things off the surface of the water, probably the chironomid midges that are swarming all around the lake at the moment.

A Greylag Goose was biting a stick, something I've seen before and wondered why. I think there were snails on the stick which it was trying to get off.

The male Mute Swan at the Lido restaurant picked reeds and passed them to his mate, who arranged them on the nest.

The female swan on the Long Water got off her nest, revealing an egg. From the shore it looked as if it was cracked, but the photograph shows that there's just a bit of grass in front of it.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull was enjoying lunch at the Dell restaurant.

Three Reed Warblers were singing in the reed bed near the Diana fountain.

The Little Owl near the Albert Memorial was visible but partly hidden by leaves.

While we were running around trying to find the angle for the clearest shot, a Buzzard passed over at a great height ...

... and a pair of Great Tits on an oak twig ate seeds I gave them.

A Long-Tailed Tit collected insects to feed its young.

A Blackcap sang beside the Long Water.

A Grey Wagtail perched on the posts at the bridge.

Monday 29 April 2019

A trip round the island, courtesy of Bluebird Boats, revealed that the Great Crested Grebes nesting against the wire basket on the island have at least one chick. Its parent tried to give it a feather, which grebes eat to wrap up fishbones. This video was shot standing up in the boat, so it's a little rocky.

The grebes on the Long Water have brought their one chick out from under the shelter of the tree where they nested.

A Moorhen nesting on the island supervised its chicks from the top of the basket. I was wondering how it got in, but unfortunately I stopped filming before it suddenly managed to squeeze through the wire mesh. These are the first Moorhen chicks I've seen this year.

There are nine Coot nests on the island. No wonder their numbers are increasing -- there are now well over two hundred of the birds. Here is the nest on the platform of Bluebird Boats. Whenever a boat is moored to the cleat at the top of the picture, the Coot gets off the nest but returns immediately.

Sadly, the Coot's effort is in vain, because the platform is too high above the water for any chicks that fall in to get back up. Mateusz made them a ramp last year, but they didn't understand what it was for. Coots are not very bright.

Carrion Crows are among the most intelligent of birds, and understand ramps. The duckboard in the Italian Garden fountain makes a convenient place for drinking.

The boat trip gave a chance to look at the Grey Herons' nest on the south side of the island. It's hard to see into through the leaves, but here is the first close shot of the single young heron in it, now quite large.

This nest is on the southeast corner, with two year-old herons that look too young to be breeding.

One of the teenage herons from the nest on the north side looked into a basket. I couldn't see what it found interesting in there.

A Mute Swan tore up plants to add to its nest at the southwest corner of the island.

This is the nest on the opposite corner. I don't think the pair have settled down here yet, but the heap of branches on the right shows that it's definitely a nest.

A pair of Egyptian Geese took their goslings along the edge of the shrubbery to find palatable leaves.

The female Little Owl near the Albert Memorial was in her new nest tree.

One of the Mistle Thrushes nesting near the Dell was down on the grass looking for worms.

A Robin beside the Long Water sang just a couple of phrases before flying off. I should have stood farther away.

Mateusz found this Turkish crayfish in his trap near the boat platform. He kept it there because he thought it might be a pregnant female, but it turned out not to be, so he released it.

The crayfish are returning quite slowly after the last population crash a few years ago. There is a cyclical boom and bust in their numbers that is hard to explain.

Sunday 28 April 2019

It's pretty well impossible to video a Reed Warbler among the reed stems, but at least you can see bits of it and hear its song. It's one of three that were singing in the fairly small reed bed next to the Diana fountain.

There was also a Sedge Warbler singing in the reed bed at the east end of the Serpentine, but you can only see this place from a distance.

The usual male Blackbird came out for his treat of sultanas, but instead of eating them one by one he carefully collected the lot and flew off with them to feed his nestlings.

When I came past later, he was out again asking for more.

A Wren sang in the next bush.

A Long-Tailed Tit paused in the top of a small tree before flying across the gap at the Vista.

The Little Owls near the Albert Memorial were side by side on an oak branch.

They aren't doing much in this video, but it's good to see the pair together and we expect some owlets in due course.

I hadn't heard the Grey Heron chick in the nest on the south side of the island for some time, but today there was a loud clattering as is was being fed. It is impossible to see much from aacross the lake and through the leaves, but from a sequence of photographs it was just possible to see bits of it. I think there's only one chick here.

The adult flew out and the clattering stopped.

One of the teenage herons was out of the nest fishing, but I doubt it was catching anything. For the moment that doesn't matter, as they are still returning to the nest and being fed by their parents.

Now that the pigeon-eating gull is now back on his old territory, there are plenty of Feral Pigeon carcasses for scavengers such as this Magpie to pick at.

The recent high winds have destroyed several Coots' nests. The indomitable birds have simply started rebuilding them.

This is the nest at the Dell restaurant, which had several eggs in it, and has been washed away to below water level.

And this is the one at the Serpentine outflow, which was less badly damaged because it has a solid backing.

A pair of Coots are building a nest in the usual place on a platform in one of the small boathouses. Every year the chicks fall off the platform and can't get back. But Coots don't learn from failure. They just try again and again.

The Great Crested Grebes under the willow tree near the bridge continue to build their nest, the usual frail soggy mess. It's dangerously close to a Coot nest, and there will be conflict.

The wind has blown an enormous amount of fluffy little seeds off the London Plane trees which abound in the park. It has collected in a thick deposit on the lee side of the lake, making a soft carpet for an Egyptian Goose family.

Jon Ferguson visited the Round Pond yesterday and, surprisingly, found the eight Egyptian goslings all alive. There are not many Herring Gulls around at the moment.

Tom was at Dungeness and got a fine picture of a Yellow Wagtail.

Saturday 27 April 2019

More House Martins have arrived on the Serpentine, and a pair were already visiting their nest hole in the cornice of the Kuwaiti embassy in Knightsbridge.

The was a Grey Wagtail on the shore at the Lido restaurant.

A Blackbird beside the Long Water collected a worm for its nestlings.

A Robin stared seriously from a twig.

Long-Tailed Tits were whizzing around an alder tree, undeterred by the strong wind whipping the branches.

The Great Crested Grebes' nest on the basket at the west end at the island is partly sheltered from the waves, and seemed to be holding together.

It was a hard day for the Coots nesting under the bridge. One of them, bringing leaves to the nest, was startled when a Great Crested Grebe brushed past it under water.

The grebe annoyed  it further by fishing close to the nest, and caught two fish.

Then a Grey Heron approached the nest. The Coot stood its ground against the terrible beak.

A Mandarin drake was ruffled by the strong wind but still managed to preen his showy feathers.

Virginia was at the Round Pond yesterday evening, and found the Egyptian Goose sheltering her goslings on the solar panel platform. She had also just laid a very late egg, having mistimed things badly.

Depending on the water level, it's a jump of at least six inches straight up to get on to the platform, which can't be reached from the shore -- a remarkable athletic feat by the goslings.

Ian Young reports that the Black Swans' single cygnet in St James's Park is alive and well.

A large and motley crowd of people with trotting horses and cars paraded on Rotten Row. I've never seen this in the park before.

Nor have I seen a procession of people dressed as rabbits and riding BMX bikes. I have no explanation for this.

Friday 26 April 2019

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull was back in business in his old territory, from which he had been excluded by repair work on the Dell restaurant. He had just caught a pigeon ...

... and rather reluctantly allowed his mate to share it. The upward nodding of her head means 'I'm your mate, remember?'

Seven of these nine gulls on the posts at Peter Pan are Lesser Black-Backs, the largest number of this species I've seen on the Long Water.

It seems strange to see Grey Herons that are only a year old nesting, but there are now two such pairs on the island. We will have to see whether they produce any young, or are just playing.

One of them tried to break off a twig for the nest.

One of this year's two young herons can now usually be seen looking intently into the water from one of the floating baskets. There are certainly fish here, which can be seen from the bank. But I haven't seen it catch anything.

The nest behind their nest has a sitting bird in it full time, so we hope to see some more young ones.

The Coot nest at the Lido restaurant has a discarded egg at the edge. This often happens, and it doesn't seem that the eggs have rolled out of the well made nest by accident. I am guessing that the Coot can tell whether an egg is live or not by listening to a tiny heartbeat inside.

The Great Crested Grebe chick under the fallen tree on the Long Water is visibly larger than when first seen a few days ago.

So are these three Egyptian goslings resting with their mother on the edge of the Serpentine.

A pair of Mute Swans were making a nest on the west bank of the Long Water between the bridge and the Vista. This is a disastrous place, as there is a family of foxes only a few feet away from them in the bushes.

The white Mallard rested at the Dell restaurant, protected from the diners' feet by a low fence.

Both the Little Owls near the Albert Memorial were next to their nest hole. The actual hole is hidden by a branch and can't be seen from the ground.

A third Reed Warbler was singing in a reed bed on the west side of the Long Water.

Scavenging Starlings and Feral Pigeons pecked at a vegan pizza at the Lido restaurant, ignoring the vegetables and going for the base. They were much more enthusiastic about the remains of a plate of fish and chips.

A Wood Pigeon perched in some pretty pink hawthorn blossom, which it was more interested in eating than admiring.

The Coal Tit near the bridge was also in pink blossom. The top of her head is getting tatty, from which it seems that this is a female and her mate has been grabbing her roughly when mating.

A Long-Tailed Tit perched among new leaves.