Thursday 11 April 2019

Rival male Mute Swans on the Serpentine tried to out-flounce each other more and more frantically until they came to blows.

A pair of swans mirrored each other's actions as a prelude to mating.

I was photographing this family of Egyptian Geese because two Grey Herons were slowly but dangerously approaching them. Suddenly the male goose launched himself into the air and flew across the lake to attack a rival.

Sometimes both parents go, and that is when the goslings are most in danger from gulls, crows and herons.

But the parents of these two simply seemed to have forgotten they had young. They were standing 50 yards down the shore, completely ignoring their goslings in the middle of the path.

By good luck rather than good management, the goslings survived at least for now, and when I went past later they were with their parents.

A Red-Crested Pochard on the left and a Common Pochard on the right. The two species are not at all closely related.

The Great Crested Grebes' nest at the east end of the island has at least one egg in it, which its mother was turning over to keep it equally warmed.

Rival grebes chased and fought each other on the Serpentine. The fight is less violent than it looks. The aim is to tip the other bird over and hold its head under water so that it is obliged to submit.

The young Grey Herons were all out of the nest. One was already looking for food -- they will be desperately hungry when their parents stop feeding them, and will have to learn quickly how to feed themselves.

Another was flapping on a branch.

The third was out of sight.

An adult heron was standing on the railing of the Dell restaurant, for no reason that was immediately apparent.

Then it became clear that it was directly over the Coots' nest, and that this nest now had three eggs in it. The Coot was looking up apprehensively.

A video of the whole scene.

There are usually only a few Lesser Black-Backed Gulls on the lake, vastly outnumbered by Herring Gulls. But for the past few days there have been six on the Long Water.

A Little Owl appeared in the oak near the Albert Memorial.

A pair of Blackcaps darted around in a tree beside the Long Water. Here is the female, in two shades of brown rather than the grey and black of the male.

This was the best shot, unfortunately obscured by twigs, I could get of a Long-Tailed Tit carrying a feather to its nest. Their intricate spherical nests are lined with literally thousands of feathers, pushed into the wall barb first to make a springy, comfortable and warm lining.

The familiar Coal Tit at the bridge came out to be fed.


  1. Swans are graceful even when they fight like brutes. On the other hand, Grebes's fights are strangely funny. Doutbless it is a very serious matter to them, but it all looks vaguely comical. They are made for dancing and looking adorable, not fighting.

    Egyptians do merit to be called "silly goose", literally not metaphorically.

    Not liking very much the Heron's interest in the Coot's nest. Would a Coot stand up to a Heron in dire straits?

    Lovely detail, the bright eye of the Coal Tit.

    1. I think a Coot would stand up to anything. After all, they attack Mute Swans. But equally, if the Coot was not directly on the eggs and the heron decided to land, grab an egg and take off vertically in an instant, there's not much it could do. One question is, can a heron pick up an egg with the tip of its bill? I guess that it could.