Wednesday, 15 May 2019

This is a sad video. The first Mute Swan cygnet, hatched only yesterday, had been attacked, probably by a Lesser Black-Backed Gull of which there are several on the Long Water. It struggled feebly to get back into the nest but soon died.

In this close-up you can see that it had a bad head injury.

The Greylag Geese on the Serpentine have lost one of their two remaining goslings. Both species are usually very good at protecting their young. It seems that predation is sharply up this year. There are more Herring Gulls than ever, the number of Lesser Black-Backs is also rising, and Carrion Crows have gathered along the edge of the Serpentine.

At least the Egyptian Geese haven't lost any more. A pair with three half grown goslings grazed beside the Serpentine.

A Great Crested Grebe searched for fish hiding under the concrete edge of the Serpentine. Surfacing, he found that his mate had gone out of sight and went to look for her, calling.

There is a constant territorial battle at the bridge, where the pair of grebes nesting under the willow are flanked by a pair nearby on the Long Water and another pair the other side of the bridge. When I went past, this last pair were circling menacingly.

Ahmet Amerikali found two of them fighting here and took this dramatic picture.

The dispute is all about territory, as there is plenty of food. The chick on the Long Water struggled to swallow a large fish, and eventually managed to.

But this adult, also photographed by Ahmet, found the fish it had caught too large and had to leave it. Great Crested Grebes don't have the technique that Little Grebes do of shaking the fish violently until it breaks up and then eating the pieces.

One of the two young Grey Herons had found its way to the Long Water and was on a post at Peter Pan.

The other obstinately remained on the nest.

There was a Grey Wagtail again on the dead willow near the Italian Garden, probably the female of the pair seen here on 3 May.

Starlings at the Lido restaurant fought over a bit of leftover pizza until a Magpie drove them away.

A Starling visited its nest hole in a plane tree and fed its chicks with pizza crust.

Another picture by Ahmet of a bird seen in the Rose Garden. It isn't very apparent from this picture, but it's a Whitethroat -- another picture where part of its head is obscured shows the white throat much more clearly.

It may be the Whitethroat seen at the other end of the park on 11 May.

Lastly, to cheer us up after a sombre blog, a Robin beside the Long Water.


  1. Thank you so much for the lovely, and loving, Robin picture. I cannot bring myself to watch the video :-(

    Equally lovely to see the Grebe calling for his mate. Endearing birds, even when they turn violent.

    1. One can watch a grebe fight with a light heart, knowing that they won't hurt each other.

  2. I'm also noticing an explosion of Larus gulls especially Herring in the Golders Hill area. A pair of Canada Geese seem to have just lost all their 5 goslings in the space of 2 weeks, though they had the unusual habit of taking them on risky grazing sorties, which may have contributed. Jim

    1. It's almost all Herring Gulls here because of the breeding colony in Paddington. I don't know whether LBBs breed in central London, though I strongly suspect that our pigeon-eating pair nest on the roof of the Dell restaurant.

  3. Sad video but nature is cruel.