Monday 24 June 2019

This Grey Heron's nest on the Serpentine island was built long after the others, and it was not clear whether anything was going on there. But today there was the sound of a chick clacking its beak, begging to be fed.

The heron that hangs around the Dell had abandoned its attempts to get food from the restaurant, and was doing an honest day's fishing at the Serpentine outflow.

A Common Pochard has ducklings on the Long Water, here seen looking down from the bridge. This is the first time I have known this species to breed here (though two Red-Crested Pochard ducklings fledged successful some years ago).

There were five Red-Crested Pochards on the lake, all drakes, but only four would get into the same picture.

The new Egyptian Goose family still has seven goslings ...

... and the Greylags are hanging on to their six.

There is a Coot nest on a moored pedalo. Sadly, it has no chance of success, for when the chicks go into the water they will have no way of climbing up again. Also, it was surrounded by Herring Gulls, whose dropping streak the boat. Thanks to the people at Bluebird Boats for taking me out to see it.

The Coots evicted from their nest under the willow tree by a Mute Swan have returned to it, and are doggedly building it up again.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull had caught a Feral Pigeon next to the bridge, so there was a top view of him enjoying his lunch.

The Little Owl near the Albert Memorial was in a place where she was very hard to see, let alone photograph.

This is one of the two Grey Wagtails that have taken up residence in Notting Hill Gate Underground station. The station is open to the air, but it's a long way from their preferred waterside habitat.

The large plaster eagle in Orme Square just north of Kensington Gardens puzzles local historians.

It was put there in the early 19th century by the property developer Edward Orme, and there are also reliefs of eagles over two doorways here. There are eagles on the Orme coat of arms, but the ones here don't match their pose. It was put up not long after the victory at Waterloo, but it doesn't look like the eagle from a captured French military standard either. Maybe Orme was just keen on eagles and not too fussy about details.

An arum lily near the Diana fountain had two flower beetles on its spadix. Apparently there are 4000 species of flower beetle, and I have no idea which it is.

Mark reports from St James's Park that the young Great Tits are now coming to his hand.

They're ahead of the ones here, which are still expecting to be fed by their parents.

He also found a Cinnabar Moth. There are seldom seen in central London parks, though I did find one in Kensington Gardens several years ago.


  1. The Grey Wagtail appears to be shouting- no wonder with that racket going on. I've seen plenty of Pied Wagtails all over very urban spots for some time (e.g. Stratford Olympic City!), but are the Grey ones not a fairly recent addition?

    1. This behaviour by the Grey Wagtail seems to be a first for everyone. No doubt there are lots of insects for in in this dirty old station, and it must be finding some kind of water not far off.

  2. p.s. and what an eagle it is.

  3. I don't think I`ve ever seen a Grey Wagtail in any similar place. They are always close to water.

    That Pochard mother isn't very attentive, I fear, although I hope that the ducklings are quick to dive and stand a chance of giving gulls the slip.

    1. Diving ducklings are at a considerable advantage. Mallard ducklings can dive too, of course, but they soon come up in nearly the same place and the gull is waiting.

  4. Good to see the Pochard with young- let's hope they evade the gulls + Herons! As a nationally scarce + declining species, London seems to do well for breeding birds.

    I've seen Grey Wagtails many times away from water. A pair used to breed around Ealing Broadway Station + certainly it's not that uncommon to hear them in very urban parts of London where they seem to feed on flat roof tops where there's moss, etc that support tiny invertebrates they feedon. Ad mit it seems an incongruous habitat compared with the fast mountain streams!

    1. Thanks for the information. One thing that this sighting shows is that, no matter how great the noise and disturbance, if birds don't think it's directed at them they will get on with their life, thogh they may have to raise their voice a bit.