Sunday, 12 May 2019

There was a male Reed Bunting at the east end of the Lido. Thanks to Ahmet Amerikali for this excellent picture.

Young Great Tits are emerging from their nests, and their scratchy begging calls can be heard in several places. Here are two near the Henry Moore sculpture, fluttering their wings and calling.

A parent arrived to feed one of them.

The Song Thrush near the sculpture is a fine singer, but I haven't had much luck with recording it so far. This time I got a few phrases before someone stuck a camera in its face and it flew away.

A Blackbird sang from the swamp cypress near the Italian Garden.

The female Little Owl near the Albert Memorial was in the usual oak tree.

The people at Bluebird Boats kindly took me out to see the Coot chicks which have hatched in one of the small boathouses. The nest is out of sight, under the internal platform at water level. The chicks are still small enough to get through the wire mesh, but when they get larger it's easy enough to dive under the lower edge.

The chicks are old enough to come out, and later their parents were feeding them against the outside wall. As long as they stay close to the wall they are fairly safe from gulls.

The Coot chicks from the swan island on the Long Water were following their parents around under the balustrade of the Italian Garden. You can hear the fountains in the background.

Another view from a boat: the Great Crested Grebes' nest attached to one of the wire baskets at the island. They had one chick which they lost, and are nesting again.

The same nest seen from the land side, with the parents scolding a Grey Heron which had come too close.

The nest on the Long Water under the willow next to the bridge still has three eggs in it, so it seems that's all that will be laid.

The chick from the other nest on the Long Water was a bit farther up the bank, and could be seen from the bridge.

Two more fine pictures taken by Ahmet, at the wire baskets nest to the bridge which serve as a fish hatchery. A grebe got a carp ...

... and so did a Cormorant.

A boat allows you to get quite close to the herons' nest on the south side of the island, but the view is blocked by twigs no matter where you are. The single young heron has now got to the stage of climbing around in the tree, and was flapping to keep its balance on a twig.

A dead bush beside the Serpentine is completely encased in what look like very thick spider webs. It's on the north side about 100 yards east of the bridge. Conehead54 explains this odd phenomenon: 'The webbing is from caterpillars -- I suspect from one of the micro Yponomeuta ermine moths which will have devoured all the foliage. Once the larvae have pupated it's possible the bush may come back to life.'


  1. That's not a Whinchat, it's a male Reed Bunting Ralph

    1. Whoops. Thank you. Hastily changing text. [Bows head in shame.]

  2. Great shot of the handsome male Reed Bunting.

    Ralph they're not spider webs + the bush may not in fact be dead. The webbing is from caterpillars- I suspect from one of the micro Yponomeuta ermine moths which will have devoured all the foliage. Once the larvae have pupated it's possible the bush may come back to life.

    1. Thanks. Will sort out the text. Never seen this before.

  3. Great picture of the Reed Bunting! Such a handsome bird.

    The diving Coot looks very inelegant, but look at what efficient propellers its feet are!

    1. Coots and grebes have quite similar-looking feet with fringed toes. But Coots use an inefficient paddling stroke, while grebes use their toes as turbine blades and get far more effective propulsion.