Monday 13 April 2020

The young Mistle Thrushes dozing in the nest saw a parent in the next tree and woke up, hoping to be fed.

There's another Mistle Thrush nest between the Serpentine Gallery and the Physical Energy statue. One of the parents rattled furiously at a Magpie which had got too close.

There was also a Magpie near the Long-Tailed Tits' nest in the Rose Garden. But there's not much a tiny bird can do about that except wait till it goes away, and under no circumstances fly to the nest and reveal its location. They always go in from the other side of the gorse bush.

A Robin picked up spilt seeds under the feeder in the shrubbery.

A Pied Wagtail beside the Serpentine was collecting insects for the nestlings.

Another was looking for insects in the joints of the slates on the boathouse roof.

One of the Goldcrests near the bridge came out on a holly twig. We know they're building a nest, but haven't been able to find it yet.

The Coal Tits near here may also be nesting, as they did successfully last year.

Let's hope the nests can be kept safe from this Carrion Crow waiting in the cowslips under the tree.

It was crows that scared the little owls at the Henry Moore sculpture out of their preferred nest hole in the lime tree, where this one was standing today. They nested in some horse chestnut trees farther up the hill, where I have never been able to find the new nest hole, and I don't think the crows did either.

A pair of Great Crested Grebes are nesting at the edge of the Long Water opposite Peter Pan.

More grebes have arrived on the Serpentine, at least four, and there are also two on the Round Pond.

Every year a pair of Coots nests on the platform in one of the boathouses, and every year lose all their chicks when these fall off the platform and can't get back. They seem incapable of learning from experience, and just keep on in their stubborn way. Overall, it's a good survival strategy for the species, but not in this case.

The Egyptian chicks are holding their own: five on the Round Pond ...

... two on the Long Water ...

... and one on the Serpentine, which has grown noticeably but is still far from out of danger.

A Red Crested Pochard drake has arrived on the Long Water.

The usual drake with a Mallard mate has also returned and was in his usual place in the Italian Garden.

There was also a Mandarin drake at the Vista, in slightly worn plumage but still looking fine.


  1. Is that pied wagtail M. a. lugens? Is this subspecies common in West Europe?

    1. It's M. a. yarrellii, the British subspecies. Mainland Europe has M. a. alba, lighter in colour.

  2. Never seen or heard of one, at least in Spain. But Ralph may know with more certainly than I do.

    Love to see the mixture of prudence and cheek of the young Thrushes. I hope it will serve them well.

    1. If they survive they will grow into big bold adults. Mistle Thrushes defending their nests will attack even Carrion Crows.

  3. A touch of glamour with the Red-crested Pochard & the Mandarin- real dandy birds.

    Tinuviel- Mistle Thrushes do occur in Spain but are more of a mountain bird there- I saw birds last November in Sierra de la Nieves. When I used to lead tours in Kazakhstan they were again mountain birds there, yet here in England they are pretty common lowland birds, often in city parks as Ralph has shown many times.

    1. Most of the Mistle Thrushes in the park are winter migrants. I know of just three resident breeding pairs.

  4. Hi! I must have explained myself uncommonly poorly, as I meant the motacilla alba lugens, not the thrushes. Yes, mistle thrushes and redwings are winter migrants in Extramadura as well. They do like high places, indeed! i am always envious of how easy to see and how confident they are in the UK.

    1. I had to look up M. a. lugens. It's a Far Eastern variety, looking much like yarrellii but with a black eye stripe. Sometimes considered a separate species, M. lugens.