Wednesday 19 June 2019

The Coots nesting at the bridge hatched three chicks, but had lost two of them when I filmed the nest this morning, and the last one had gone in the afternoon. The nest is completely in the open, and next to a line of posts on which hungry Herring Gulls perch waiting for their chance.

There are still three eggs on the nest but the prospects don't look good.

Yesterday the Great Crested Grebes nesting on the Serpentine island started making their nest more comfortable with the stringy water plant that is growing all over the lake.

Apparently the idea was a success, because today they have added a lot more.

A Moorhen sheltered under a nettle growing beside the Serpentine.

The Mute Swans on the Long Water still have their last cygnet, which was resting with its mother on the little island.

A close-up of an Egyptian Goose regrowing its wing feathers after moulting. It's difficult to imagine what this feels like.

Two more Red-Crested Pochard drakes have appeared on the Long Water, having flown in from St James's Park or Regent's Park, where there are regular colonies of these ducks. Their bright plumage is beginning to go off, but they still have their absurd bouffant hairstyle.

Two Carrion Crows found an ants' nest in the Dell and were bathing in ants, which apparently reduces the number of parasites in their feathers. The ants can be eaten too, a poor reward for their services.

A young Magpie on the Vista begged both parents for food. Evidently they thought it was old enough to find its own, but at last its pleas succeeded and it got an insect.

The tatty Great Tit near the bridge has become a regular customer for pine nuts, and now always comes out when I go by.

A young Great Tit near the Albert Memorial begging its parents to feed it, fluttering its wings and uttering pathetic cries .

The parents regularly come to me when I'm photographing a Little Owl here. This morning an owl was visible but mostly hidden by leaves. When it started raining in the afternoon, the owl flew to the nest tree where there was better shelter. But the light was very dim.

The Feral Pigeon with the Rorschach test ink blot on its back was at the leaf yard.

Yesterday Tom saw a Grey Wagtail on a television aerial in Montpelier Street near Harrods, an unusual place for a bird that mostly stays near water.

I think the explanation for this is that it was on its way between Hyde Park and a small colony of these birds around the old coal wharf for the sewage pumping station next to Chelsea Bridge.

The 2019 Serpentine Gallery pavilion by Junya Ishigami is now finished. There will be a private preview tomorrow evening, and on Friday it will be open to the public.

The curved roof is made of 61 tonnes of thick slates, resting on a metal mesh supported by alarmingly thin steel poles. The shape is echoed by a little artificial mound, in the same way as the distant view of Mount Fuji in Hokusai's The Great Wave.


  1. Help me out here: are we supposed to admire the construction? I am puzzled and am not able to decide whether I like it or loathe it.

    Poor Coots. It would be a kindness to remove the eggs from them, but surely they'd take that as an incentive to lay more eggs.

    I've lost count of how many begging young Magpies I encountered today. I am sort of glad to see tha they sound and act pretty much the same.

    1. I've seen so many pavilions of atrocious ugliness on this site that this sinister looming thing is almost a relief. As long as its peculiar roof keeps the rain out -- which has not been the case in many earlier structures -- it will service its purpose well enough, and anyway it will only be here till October. These structures are mean to be teahouses in which eye-wateringly expensive snacks are sold, though some of the previous ones have been so impractical that the function has had be be served by a van in the grounds.

      The number of Magpies has been increasing in past years, not a welcome development as they prey on songbirds' nests.

  2. Pied and Grey Wagtails like chronic puddles on flat roofs, just as they look out for them on the ground; Pied seem to like relatively quiet flat surfaces more generally. On that pigeon I see a Raven with a two-tone bill pecking at a torn bow-tie, but then a bird blog would prompt something like that. Jim

    1. Between the park and Chelsea Bridge there are not many modern buildings with flat roofs, and certainly not in Montpelier Street and its surroundings, all carefully preserved buildings of the second half of the 19th century. I've never seen a Grey Wagtail on an aerial before, but that may be a consequence of the sad state of their feet due to the prevailing virus infection.

  3. In last few days I have seen few times a couple of Grey Wagtails inside Notting Hill Tube Station (over the Circle/District line platforms)

  4. That's remarkable, the sort of behaviour you might expect from Pied Wagtails but not Grey ones. However, Tom says that there is a very bold Grey Wagtail at Canary Wharf, by the fountain in the square.