Sunday, 24 May 2020

The big Coot nest at the Dell restaurant has survived yesterday's wind, and today there was at least one chick in it. These Coots are master builders, and also look after their chicks well, and have been successful over the past few years. 

But the smaller nest, less strongly made, was washed away and no trace of it remains.

The Mute Swan nesting in a dangerously exposed place near the Lido was turning her eggs. The nest is fenced off with plastic barriers but has become something of a public spectacle, and you can hear the voices of onlookers.

The dominant swan on the Long Water has cleared most of the intruding swans off his territory, and he was with his mate on their nest in the reeds.

However, the Black Swan is still there.

It's accustomed to getting its own way. I hope it can be persuaded to leave quietly. The previous Black Swan tangled with the dominant swan, came off worse, and left the park shortly afterwards and flew to St James's Park.

The ejected swans were just the other side of the bridge in a row along the path. They are beginning to moult, and they like to rest here at this time.

Geese come to the park to moult in the safety and space of the Serpentine. The usual two Bar-Headed x Greylag hybrids from St James's Park have arrived ...

... and this Canada with a speckled head is a regular visitor.

The lake may be a safe place for adult geese, but not for goslings. A pair of Egyptians have turned up with their new brood already down to one.

The pair with four are now down to three, but the brood of six, now quite large, haven't had any further losses.

I was photographing the usual Grey Heron under the waterfall in the Dell when a Grey Wagtail shot past, climbing at a steep angle to catch an insect.

Pied Wagtails have such an explosively fast takeoff that they can safely get out of the way of anything. This one walking down the edge of the Serpentine took no notice of a Moorhen pecking near it, and even of a rat coming down to drink in the lake.

A Magpie sunbathed in the scrub at the east end of the Serpentine.

The Goldcrest family could be indistinctly seen in the bushes near the bridge, but I could only get a picture of one adult.

There is a large carp in the small central pool of the Italian Garden with a nasty injury to both sides that looks like a dog bite, improbable as that may seem. It may have been attacked in the lake and dragged ashore, and someone put it into the pool to recover. But it will have to be hauled out of this confined space. Paul has had words with the gardeners, and tomorrow they will bring a net.

Joan Chatterley reports that there are three more cygnets in Battersea Park.

Tom, on a necessary family errand, stopped off at Pilning Wetlands near Bristol, where there is a Collared Pratincole, a very rare visitor. He got a good shot of it flying overhead.

Saturday, 23 May 2020

There is a new family of Great Tits in the shrubbery at the southwest corner of the bridge. Here are two of the young ones.

A Grey Wagtail looking for insects on the edge of the Serpentine forgot I was there and came very close.

It was a windy day. A Wren bringing insects to its young spotted danger and waited on a tossing twig before flying to its nest and so revealing its position. (I don't think the danger was me, I was 30 ft away and standing still.)

A Carrion Crow gave the camera a level stare from a blossoming tree in the Dell.

On the grass below a pair of Feral Pigeons wandered among the buttercups.

A single Black-Headed Gull flew over the Long Water out of season.

A pair of Great Crested Grebes displayed near the Italian Garden.

Another pair have taken over an abandoned Coot nest under the willow near the bridge, and adapted it to their taste by covering the twigs with soggy weed. They had stolen this nest from the Coots before but the Coots got it back. This time the Coots really seem to have lost interest in it, and probably the grebes will be able to hold on to it.

One of the Coot nests under the restaurant balcony seemed in imminent danger of collapse in the choppy waves. The other one, a fine construction founded on large waterlogged branches, was holding firm.

The dominant male Mute Swan on the Long Water was continuing the work of removing intruding swans from his territory. He is to the right of centre in this picture, wings raised, forcing them back by his menacing presence. Two swans on the right have broken out of the corral and will have to be herded back in.

The two Canada goslings were on the edge of the swimming area at the Lido, where the humans are also herded now and have to go in at one end and out at the other. The gates are closed and only members of the Serpentine Swimming Club can use the place for their early morning sessions. This picture was taken with some difficulty through the hole in the gate where the padlock is fitted.

In contrast, there are plenty of Canada goslings in Battersea Park. Here is a picture by Joan Chatterley of two broods cruising together.

Luca Melchiori took this picture of Greylags flying up the Serpentine on an iPhone -- a remarkable feat to get them both in the frame while looking at the little screen.

The six young Egyptians on the Serpentine are now half grown. They start growing quite slowly and then suddenly put on a tremendous spurt.

Another picture from Battersea Park by Joan: the blonde Egyptian gosling, now in the colours it will be when fully grown.

A Mandarin drake stood on a post at Peter Pan.

There were only four of the gang of five Red-Crested Pochards on the Serpentine. The fifth had wandered off by himself and was at the Vista displaying his remarkable bouffant hairstyle.

Friday, 22 May 2020

The Grey Wagtails are putting on a show in the Dell, though they are too far away for good pictures.

A Pied Wagtail on the restaurant terrace was more reachable.

A Blackbird had a bath in the pool at the top of the Dell waterfall.

A Sparrowhawk drifted over the Parade Ground.

A fine picture by Jon Spoard of the pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull. The pair were in their usual place at the east end of the Serpentine.

The fountain pool in the traffic island at Marble Arch is a safer place for Egyptian goslings than the lakes in the park, as there are few gulls or other predators and the herd of bronze elephants presents no threat. There are still seven of the original nine.

Every now and then a gang of Mute Swans invades the Long Water to challenge the dominant swan who regards it as his sole territory. They took the Black Swan with them.

The dominant male sallied out to deal with them.

He can usually herd them away without an actual fight by zigzagging across the whole width of the lake in a threatening attitude, gradually working his way forward.

Joan Chatterley reports that the Black Swans in St James's Park have made a very large nest ...

... and the two Mute cygnets are in good order.

A pair of Gadwalls mated on the Long Water. They don't nest in the park, as the Queen has graciously provided them with hutches in the gardens of Buckingham Palace where they are safe from foxes.

Three of the gang of five Red-Crested Pochards enjoyed the sunshine on the warm stone kerb of the Serpentine.

A Coot contemplated a plastic buoy in its favourite colour.

Allium flowers are highly attractive to insects. These ones in the Rose Garden were visited by Honeybees, Buff-Tailed Bumblebees and two Holly Blue butterflies.

Red-Eyed Damselflies rested on floating algae on the Long Water.

A man took his vacuum cleaner out for its morning exercise.

Thursday, 21 May 2020

Grey Wagtails nest under the plank bridge crossing the waterfall in the Dell. Three were flying around over the stream hunting insects.

One perched on the rocks at the edge of the stream. Their bright yellow underside is surprisingly cryptic, echoing the yellow lichen on the rocks.

There were a couple of Gadwalls in the stream, the first time I've seen any in the Dell.

Several more gas lamp posts have Blue Tits nesting in them, including two along Rotten Row and this one under a willow on the south side of the Serpentine.

A Great Tit looked out from its nest hole in a dead tree near the bridge.

Starlings trying to get the last bits out of a cardboard box that contained chips were surprised when it tipped up under their weight.

The two Canada goslings on the lake are only seen occasionally, as their parents usually keep them in sheltered places safe from gulls.

One of the Egyptian families on the Serpentine is down to four goslings. I didn't see the other one.

A Great Crested Grebe idled elegantly in the clear water.

A Coot collected a tattered and rotten plastic bag to add to its nest.

The Coot nesting on the post at Peter Pan was absolutely hemmed in by Herring Gulls.

Three Coots were fighting in the Long Water near the Italian Garden.

The ugly golden koi was in the water below them. I've also seen it at the far end of the Serpentine, so it's by no means a sedentary fish.

Two male Emperor dragonflies were hunting here, the first I've seen this year.

I got a distant view of a yellow dragonfly the day before yesterday which I am pretty sure was a Black-Tailed Skimmer. Conehead 54 says that if so, it was probably an immature male which had not yet got its dusty blue coat.

A fine picture by Jon Spoard of a Buff-Tailed Bumblebee on a sunlit flower.