Friday 31 May 2019

A pair of Great Crested Grebes are trying to make a nest out of algae in the middle of the lake next to the bridge. There must be a submerged fallen branch here that they are trying to attach it to. Such construction is quite beyond grebes' small nest building skill, though Coots might succeed here.

The pair at the west end of the island are showing renewed interest in their nest at the back of the wire baskets. It's quite a well made nest by grebe standards, with solid twigs shoved through the mesh, and has not fallen to pieces in their absence as grebe nests usually do.

A Moorhen clambered nimbly on the small waterfall in the Dell, picking up algae and any small creatures that might be hiding in it.

The Mute Swan pair that occupied the Coot nest under the willow seem to be sticking to it.

The swan on the Long Water gave her cygnet a ride on her back as they came over to Peter Pan.

Her mate sat on the nest, in uneasy company with his enemy the Coot and one of the chicks.

The Bar-Headed--Greylag Goose hybrid is fond of sunflower seeds, and comes over to eat them from my hand.

There were three Mallard ducklings at Peter Pan, without their mother. I don't think they can be the three that were here a few days ago, because the last time I saw that brood its was down to two.

Both the Peregrines were on the barracks tower again. Although it was good to see them, it's disappointing news. When they started mating at disappeared for a while, it seemed that they were nesting somewhere. But if they're both back here, they can't be.

A female Blackcap was ticking loudly at some unseen threat in a bush beside the Long Water.

A family of Long-Tailed Tits flew through the trees.

One of the pair of Mistle Thrushes in the Dell was out on the lawn.

Whenever you see a group of Rose-Ringed Parakeets feeding on the ground, you can be sure that there's a dandelion patch. They are particularly fond of the leaves.

Cornflowers are coming up in the wildflower bed in the Rose Garden.

Thursday 30 May 2019

A Great Tit sunbathed in the Dell. They always look as if they had crashed, but actually the bird is perfectly all right and just trying to get the insects out of its feathers.

A young Long-Tailed Tit waited for food on a twig near the Italian Garden.

A young Starling clamoured to be fed at the Lido restaurant.

A female Blackbird in a freshly dug flower bed in the Rose Garden collected as many worms as she could carry before flying off to her nest.

A Pied Wagtail hunted insects under a parked bicycle.

The male Reed Bunting perched on a stem in the reed bed near the Diana memorial.

A young Magpie pestered a parent for food. Two slightly older ones foraged for themselves side by side.

The Great Crested Grebes under the willow near the bridge have built a third nest, this time at the edge of the tree. They can be seen only from the other side of the bridge.

The second Coot nest on the posts at Peter Pan has been considerably built up. It's a shame that these carefully built structures won't lead to breeding success. The gulls are waiting.

A Gadwall drake showed off his beautifully vermiculated feathers on another post.

The Mute Swan with one cygnet was also at Peter Pan.

A family of Greylag Geese grazed peacefully beside the Serpentine until an irresponsible dog owner passed with his pets off the lead, and they had to retreat hastily to the water.

A closer look at one of the goslings.

A Buff-Tailed Bumblebee drank nectar from a purple flower.

There are plenty of female Common Blue Damselflies in the grass around the leaf yard, but for some reason I can find very few males. They are much more visible than females, being bright blue, so they ought to be unmissable.

A single poppy dispelled the heavy gloom of the Henry Moore sculpture.

The accidental roses that spring up in the shrubberies are very varied, but all more beautiful than the huge cabbage-like cultivars in the Rose Garden.

A picture by Tom from yesterday's visit to Rainham: a close-up of a Common Lizard.

Wednesday 29 May 2019

Just time for a quick walk around the park this morning. The usual Blackbird was waiting for me to give him some sultanas.

Another lamp post has a Blue Tit nest in it, this one on the south shore of the Serpentine.

A young Pied Wagtail called plaintively from the roof of the Dell restaurant.

A pair of Carrion Crows sat fondly side by side on a notice.

Gardeners in the Rose Garden are removing the spring herbaceous border plants to replace them with the summer ones, and the disturbed earth attracts birds. A Blackbird was the most successful.

It's musical chairs under the willow near the bridge. After the Mute Swans occupied the Coots' nest, now a Moorhen has taken the Great Crested Grebes' nest.

Then off to Rainham Marshes.

There were four Avocets in front of the Shooting Butts hide.

One of them had four chicks, of which you can see two here

The other Avocets landed in front of two preening Shelducks.

A Redshank poked around in the mud.

Lapwings whirled about.

They joined a couple of Redshanks to harass a Cattle Egret.

There were two families of Shovellers.

No visit to Rainham would be complete without a Little Grebe.

A female Reed Bunting perched on a wire fence.

Two Goldfinches picked up grit on the path.

Other creatures included some Common Lizards ...

... several Marsh Frogs ...

... many Drinker Moth caterpillars on the boardwalks ...

... and a bug, Coreus marginatus, often called a Dock Bug. Thanks to Conehead54 for identifying it.

Tuesday 28 May 2019

Another pair of Blue Tits is nesting in a gas lamp post on the south side of the Serpentine. You can hear the nestlings calling. Only Blue Tits use these nest sites, as Great Tits are too big to squeeze in between the gas pipe and the wall of the cast iron column.

A Wren perched on a twig beside the Long Water.

A Magpie preened in a tree beside the Diana fountain.

A Carrion Crow ate a dead carp washed up on the edge of the Serpentine.

Several Pied Wagtails were running around the lake and the Round Pond collecting insects for their nestlings.

A pair of Greylag Geese on the Serpentine took nine brand new goslings out for their first swim.

This is in addition to the pairs with two ...

... and one.

But so far there is no sign of any Canada goslings.

The geese and swans are beginning to moult, as you can see by the feathers washed up on the shore near this unsuitable site Coot nest.

There are some familiar faces among the waterfowl returning to the lake to moult in the safety of a large expanse of water. They include one of the Bar-Headed--Greylag hybrids, which now seems settled with a Greylag mate ...

... and Blondie the Egyptian Goose, not seen here for some time.

The Mute Swans near the Lido are down to two cygnets. This has been a very bad year for predation.

The male swan on the Long Water swam off with his one cygnet following ...

... and an insolent Coot chick stood right in the middle of the swans' nest. They clearly take after their hyper-aggressive parents.

The rebuilt Coot nest at the Dell restaurant is now built up a foot clear of the water. Considering that there is about 2ft 6ins of submerged structure, it's a Coot skyscraper.

A Buff-Tailed Bumblebee investigated an iris, apparently not caring that the flower was dead.