Thursday 18 April 2019

The female Little Owl near the Albert Memorial was in the oak tree on the west side of their new nest tree. She was restless.

The two surviving young Grey Herons seem to have stopped exploring and have been in their nest every time I have passed. Their parents are still feeding them, although they are now adult sized and very rough.

The Coots nesting on the little island in the Long Water stand fast when threatened by the dominant Mute Swan pair.

The Coot on the nest at the Dell restaurant got up for a moment, and it was just possible to see six eggs.

Another Coot was building a horrible nest of miscellaneous rubbish on the edge of the Serpentine below the Triangle car park. These nests in the open never succeed, and are usually abandoned after a few days and left to wash away.

An Egyptian gosling on the Serpentine was washing and preening. Even the youngest instinctively take care of their feathers.

A Canada Goose is nesting on the tern raft in the Long Water, undeterred by the netting that was put there to keep birds off it.

The nest also keeps terns off, of course. A Common Tern has been seen here once already this year, and I reported this in the hope that someone would take the net off and equip the raft with the proper white stones and a shelter, but nothing happened. Today Bill Haines saw two more terns, which he thinks were Arctic rather than Common, but he didn't get a proper look and the two species are confusingly similar.

This raft was expensive, and there is a boastful notice about it on a board next to the bridge. It is sad to see how it has been put out of commission.

Bill also saw a probable Curlew flying east over the Round Pond.

The white Mallard led a display flight of drakes over the Serpentine.

A Jay posed against a background of pink new leaves.

The Coal Tit near the bridge hates being photographed and wants to be fed at once, but sometimes it just has to put up with it.

Long-Tailed Tits take no notice of people. This one was in the Dell.

There was also a female Brimstone butterfly imitating a leaf on a mauve bluebell. It would have made a better picture if it had been a proper blue one.

A Peacock butterfly rested against a very satisfying background of white blossom beside the Long Water.

This insect was walking across the path near the bridge. I am sadly ignorant about insects, but I bet some reader will tell me what it is.

Update: Jim tells me it's an Alderfly, probably Sialis lutaria.

Ian Young was in St James's Park and saw the Black cygnet still safe and sound and guarded by its mother, with an Egyptian family in the background.


  1. Think I've found it: Alderfly. According to Buglife and NBN Atlas there are three species in the UK but lutaria is by far the commonest and is associated with slow moving waters. Jim

    1. Thanks for the identification. It was only about 150 yards, though on the wrong side of the road, from some alders.

  2. A fox would need to get past a grown Black Swan, a difficult proposition, and the cygnet is too large for gulls now. Are we out of danger now?

    I wonder what made the Little Owl so restless. Maybe she was seeing something we don't.

    The Coot's refusal to back down in front of full frontal Swan aggresion is a sight to behold. David vs. Goliath.

    1. Foxes do what they like and quite often kill adult swans, so safety is relative.

      The Little Owl had just flown into that tree. She must have been disturbed by something elsewhere. I didn't hear a Magpie, the usual cause. It might have been a Carrion Crow -- often they land close and threaten silently.

  3. By the way, isn't the lowest bird in the duck flight a duck not drake, and is the white Mallard still seen in the longstanding trio? Jim

    1. I think there's always one female in these demonstration flights. But it's very hard to tell which it is in a picture that is nearly a silhouette, even in the large original photograph. Yes, that is the usual white drake. We only have one here.