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.


  1. The video of the Dell waterfall and the flitting wagtails looks like something straight from the Shire. Idyllic, peaceful, unstained.

    Glad to see Coots and Grebes keep up their habits: the former with their reliable free-for-all, and the latter with its elegant posing.

    1. That view of the Dell is part of a carefully constructed landscape. The Dell is at the foot of the dam holding the Serpentine lake in the former river valley. The dam wall has been turned into a waterfall -- recirculated by an electric pump because the outflow of the lake is too feeble to sustain it. Add rocks artfully disposed to look natural, and good plantings of trees and bushes and reeds and flowers, and it's instant Arcadia. It was set up around 1922, so they've had plenty of practice in getting it just right. The whole thing is maintained by one devoted woman gardener who works harder than the whole of the rest put together. I have spoken with her, but as usual don't know her name.

  2. There’s an unintended experiment taking place that you’ve alluded to – we’re finding out which species are largely dependent on feeding by humans and which can get by with what the park has to offer. You’ve mentioned that the numbers of Canadas, Greylags and Herring Gulls have dropped significantly and I wonder if the feral pigeons and the Parakeets (or any others) have been affected similarly?

    Striking observations of the diving black swan and the park bench gyrator. I can't get them out of my head.

    1. Yes, as expected, numbers of pigeons and parakeets have steeply declined. The pigeon-eating gull is seldom seen now, as he has to go farther afield to find prey.

    2. Very interesting. Is anything doing better because there are less people?
      Also do you know if there are Terns at Leg of Mutton Reserve?

    3. Not as far as I've noticed.

      I have heard that there are two pairs of Common Terns at Leg o' Mutton, and will go there soon and investigate. A fallen tree is now blocking the view of the nearest raft, where I got some quite good video a year ago.

  3. Lovely video of the Grey Wagtails- they look almost insect-like the way they flit about.

    Good to see you have some Emperors now. I saw my first 2 locally on Thursday.

    1. We always get Emperors at the Italian Garden, and later Red-Eyed and Small Red-Eyed Damselflies. Oddly, nowhere else.