Monday 15 April 2019

Two Coots enjoyed a splashy fight on the Serpentine.

Mateusz at Bluebird Boats has been observing Coots building nests in odd places. Here is his close-up of the nest on a sunken pedalo that I photographed earlier from the far side of the lake.

Near it a Coot has nested on a lifebelt.

And this one keeps trying to nest on the boat platform, in spite of its attempts being destroyed every morning when the platform is jet washed.

It would not be kind to let the Coot complete the nest, because the chicks would fall off the platform into the lake and not be able to get back. One year Mateusz made a little ramp for them to get up, but they didn't understand what it was for.

Now that two pairs of Great Crested Grebes have nests at the east end of the island ...

... and the west end ...

... the non-sitting birds can amuse themselves by chasing each other up and down the intervening space trying to claim more territory.

It achieves nothing, and the invisible frontier remains halfway along the island.

The Canada Geese which tried and failed to nest on the Mute Swans' little island in the Long Water have settled for a site on the bank. One was pulling up grass stems to make the nest more comfortable.

Joan Chatterley visited St James's Park, where the Black Swans still have one cygnet, now visibly larger.

Common Pochards are normally winter visitors, but a little flock has turned up on the Serpentine.

The two pairs of Mandarins remain on the Serpentine, and it looks as if the females are now nesting in trees, as only the drakes can be seen.

They come here from the Regent's Canal where there is a fair-sized flock. Here is a group of drakes photographed there by Jon Ferguson.

Jon also took this picture of a Cormorant on the canal. The water may be murky but it is full of fish.

A Blackbird ...

... and a Starling eyed the camera suspiciously.

The Little Owl near the Albert Memorial was out on the branch that has her nest hole.

The rabbits on Buck Hill have almost been wiped out by foxes and myxomatosis, but there was a pair in good spirits this morning.


  1. I know it is mid-April by now, but I always found the character of the March Hare very funny. Hares and rabbits really do act mad.

    When one is as indefatigable and stubborn as a Coot, intelligence is overrated, I guess.

    1. The most successful Coot nests are not these, but the ones hidden under waterside bushes, unseen by gulls and humans until the young emerge.

  2. Brilliant photos as ever😊
    Where is the sunken pedalo? It is an amazing nest/ house/ building/fortification as always but even by their standards there are a lot of large twigs!
    I do believe coots are the engineers of the the bird world... who knows ..... maybe Brunel came back as a coot and instructed them all how to build!!!!!

  3. The sunken pedalo is midway along the south side of the island, viewable only from the far shore of the lake with binoculars or a long lens.