Monday 27 April 2020

This Mute Swan had been driven off the Long Water by the dominant male Swan and was wandering around Buck Hill, unable to get back into the water because there are railings all along this side of the lake.

When I arrived, Tracy the policewoman had already called Hugh the wildlife officer. With us keeping the swan penned in, Hugh deftly caught it and put it into his special swan straitjacket, then drove it to the Serpentine to release it in safer surroundings. I couldn't film the first moments because I was too busy herding the swan and throwing Hugh the jacket.

Both the dominant pair were chasing other swans, and seemed in a very bad temper. They have been neglecting their nest on the little island, which has two eggs in it, and has now been reclaimed by the Coots whose twigs they stole to make it.

These eggs have probably been left for too long to be incubated successfully. Perhaps the female swan only managed to lay these two, and the pair lost enthusiasm for nesting.

The dominant swans have not managed to evict the pair nesting on the gravel bank.

The swan nesting behind the railings near the Lido got up for a moment, revealing six eggs.

Hugh has had a barrier put up in front of the railings to keep people at a distance from the nest, but it's still vulnerable to foxes. Swan have sometimes managed to nest successfully on the shore.

A swan washing on the Serpentine made an impressive splash, and flapped to settle its ruffled wing feathers in their proper arrangement.

The Egyptians on the Serpentine still have seven goslings, and were looking after them under the trees.

The second Coots' nest under the balcony of the Dell restaurant is now a solid and impressive structure comfortably lined with leaves. You are only seeing the very top of it, as it's built in two feet of water.

The Mandarins were still here. I had thought when I saw them in the darkness under the balcony that they were a couple, but in fact they are both male and one of them has gone into eclipse very prematurely. Mandarin drakes hang around together while their mates are nesting in tree holes.

Update: Jorgen wonders whether the duck might actually be female. See this interesting article.

The Red-Crested Pochard with the Mallard mate was back in the Italian Garden. His mate was nearby on the Long Water, and the Mallard drake who is the third member of the odd trio was on another of the fountain pools.

The single surviving young Grey Heron is still in the nest. It was showing signs of restlessness a few days ago, but now seems to have settled down to an easy life of being fed by its parents -- until they tire of this and kick it out to fend for itself.

At the Diana fountain, a Goldfinch paused in a bush before it carried a twig to a small lime tree in the enclosure.

The Reed Bunting was also visible.

There were three Reed Warblers singing in the reed bed, plus another on the Long Water.

A Grey Wagtail was hunting from the dead willow tree in the Italian Garden.

The Little Owl in the alder tree was showing better than recently.


  1. Great joint effort with the swan, and very impressive straight jacket application.

    1. Swans keep getting chased on to the banks and stuck, and Hugh has had plenty of practice in catching them. Once I didn't report a swan to him because it was on the bank near water and could easily have got down again. But it was so afraid of the bullying dominant swan that it stayed on the bank all night until it was eaten by a fox.

    2. What a pity. Swans have a hard society.

  2. Congratulations to all on the successful rescue of the swan! Hugh is a very brave man. To see those powerful wings flapping in one's general direction would give anyone pause.

    The Coot's nest is greatly to be admired not only because of its structural perfection, but also for the colour scheme, which harmonizes very neatly with the background. I wouldn't expect any less of them.

    1. Coots' nests are much more tasteful now because the snack bars in the park are shut and there are no garish crisp packets and ice cream wrappers for them to use as ornaments.