Saturday, 16 May 2020

A Common Sandpiper ran up and down the shore of the Serpentine looking for insects and larvae. Common as they are, they are rare visitors to the park.

A Great Tit repeatedly visited a nest hole in an old chestnut tree in the leaf yard, bringing food for its nestlings.

The number of Greenfinches in the park is increasing after they were badly hit by a respiratory disease. But they're still easier to find in the street, where they like to perch on television aerials.

Goldfinches are also commoner in the streets than in the park.

One of the pair of Dunnocks at the Lido restaurant ran along the shore looking for insects.

Now that the snack bars are open again, they'll be coming out on the terrace to look for bugs attracted by food crumbs.

Mark Williams got a good shot of a Long-Tailed Tit collecting insects for its young.

The Little Owl on Buck Hill was in her usual alder tree.

The injured Grey Heron in the Dell sat in a patch of buttercups. Despite being lame it seems to be feeding itself adequately.

The Black Swan on the Serpentine preened and stretched a wing. You can see that it's only a year old from the black tips of its white flight feathers. Adults have all-white flight feathers.

Joan Chatterley reports that the Black Swans in St James's Park whose three surviving cygnets were taken into care to stop them from being killed by a Mute Swan are now nesting again.

The Mute Swans nesting in the reed bed on the Long Water were adding more reeds to the nest. The female has a plastic ring, 4DBE.

A video by Anne Bouromane of a pair of Egyptian Geese with nine new goslings on the Round Pond attacking a swan that was about to peck them.

Adult Egyptian Geese live largely on grass and plants, but the goslings need extra protein to grow, so they also eat a lot of insects, larvae and small aquatic creatures such as Daphnia water fleas.

In recent years a gang of four Red-Crested Pochards, four drakes and a female, have arrived on the Serpentine every spring. Here they are again, with a Tufted Drake that was persistently following them around.

A pleasing picture by Mark Williams of Mallard ducklings at Clapton Pond.

And another good picture by Joan Chatterley of four Mandarin drakes in Battersea Park at a loose end because their mates are nesting in tree holes.

Tom was out on the river wall at Rainham Marshes, and got a good picture of a female Wheatear on a rock.

Looking into the reserve, which is closed, from the sea wall, he also got a video of a Magpie attacking a Buzzard.


  1. Nice common sandpiper, with lockdown I haven't seen one this year. They are regular passage migrants at Belfast RSPB - like Rainham also closed.

    1. I can't work out where the Sandpipers and other wading birds that occasionally turn up in the park think they're going. The nearest suitable places for them are many miles down the river, and there is nowhere for them to the north or west.

  2. Poor Buzzard; everyone has a go at it.

    Excellent sighting of the common sandpiper! Always a delight to see shorebirds.

    Why would that swan attack the goslings? They're no harm to it, and neither are the goslings' parents.

    Black Swan yoga is the best kind of yoga.

    1. Swans persecute everything smaller than them, geese, ducks, the lot. It seems pointless, but no doubt it makes sense to a swan.

    2. Swan: "what, you not going to make way, little pal and you two just going to look on then? Oh very well I'll swim around... [shrugs] blooming feral youth of today, as usual the parents back them up rather than reining them in." Jim

    3. Yes. Certain people we have all seen are reborn as swans.

    4. There goes my plan for being reborn. I always wanted to come back as the meanest Swan there ever lived.

    5. I wouldn't want to be a swan. They live in perpetual anger.

  3. Well done on the Common Sandpiper!

    1. Thanks entirely due to the good bird for kindly turning up.