Friday, 15 May 2020

One of the four male Reed Warblers in the reed bed below the Diana fountain gave us a good burst of its complex song.

A pair of Magpies chattered at each other in a horse chestnut tree.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull was at his usual hunting ground with his mate, who gave the camera a hard stare.

The snack bars in the park have opened again, which will mean more pigeons for the pair to eat.

A single Cormorant has returned to the Serpentine, although the other Cormorants have left very little for it to catch. It dried its wings on a post in front of the strange blue landscape of pedalos.

Moorhens like to choose a patch of weeds on the edge of the lake as a place to rest.

There is now a second Coot nest on the Bluebird Boats platform. Like the other one it is bound to fail, because once the chicks drop into the water they can't get up again.

A pair had made a nest in an even more hopeless place on the edge of the lake, and sat in it looking complacently at each other.

Even on the comparatively open Serpentine there is a wealth of perfectly good places for Coots to make nests, but they have very poor judgement of a suitable site.

Six Egyptian goslings in a heap wouldn't stay still, and one of them wandered off for a drink.

There are two broods of six. The other goslings are newer and smaller.

And there are three goslings on the Long Water.

The female Mute Swan was sitting comfortably on her nest in the background, but the male couldn't restrain his instinctive nest making and started gathering more twigs. Between them the intrusive Carrion Crow, on the hunt for insects, kept just out the reach of both.

The Black Swan was basking in the warm sunshine.

The Mandarin of uncertain sex was at the Vista. Jorgen thinks it's a female whose ovary has been destroyed by disease (only one of a bird's ovaries develops) so that it has started showing male characteristics.

Another victim of the lockdown: Barbie was found floating face down in the lake. A kind woman had pulled her out and set her on the edge, but I don't think she'll walk away from this.

A curiosity spotted by Nick Munby near Kensington Palace: two 'grey' squirrels both almost as red as the native red squirrels they have wiped out. You often see ginger-tinged squirrels, but this colour is exceptional.


  1. Astounding squirrel. Is it 'mixed race', by any chance? Guess not, or there would be more of them.

    1. I don't think grey and red squirrels would have a chance to interbreed, even supposing such a thing to be genetically possible. There are literally no red squirrels left in the wild in England south of Yorkshire.

  2. And why is it so ginger? That is astonishing.

    Coots are the most human-like of birds, in almost all respects.

    The Cormorant looks like an apparition.

    The picture of the broken Barbie is oddly symbolic. "Portrait of the decline and fall of a civilization".

    1. Very surprised by that squirrel. It must lack the gene for producing eumelanin (the black kind of melanin, the red kind is phaeomelanin), something that also happens in humans, producing the intensely red haired, pale skinned type often seen among Celts.

      Although Barbie is a dreadful product of commercial exploitation -- and this one is dressed as the princess in the abominable film Frozen -- I have a slight affection for her after the witty depiction of her character in Toy Story 3.