Friday, 8 May 2020

The dominant Mute Swan on the Long Water, now with his mate on a nest again, has woken up to the fact that in a moment of inattention he allowed another pair of swans to build a nest on the gravel bank, and now finds that he can't shift them.

He circled the rival male threateningly, with no result. If it came to a real fight it would probably be to the death, and both know this.

After an inconclusive standoff, he went back to his own nest. But there will be trouble if both pairs have cygnets.

The old swan nest is now the property of the Coots and their one chick. Fair enough, as they gathered all the twigs to build it in its old place before the swans stole it.

Egyptian goslings need plenty of protein to grow, and supplement their diet of grass and algae with insects and Daphnia water fleas. The six on the Serpentine wandered off, at some risk, to catch these. Then their mother vaguely remembered that she had goslings, and came along the bank to be nearer to them.

Later they were safely huddled around her.

The ten recent Egyptian goslings are all in good shape.

There was a male Mandarin at the Vista.

The fall in the water level of the stream in the Dell has uncovered some concrete boxes which were originally installed to hold water lilies. A pair of Mallards explored them.

The young Grey Heron is still investigating its surroundings. It had crossed the lake and was staring up at another heron on the roof of one of the small boathouses.

The four male Reed Warblers were singing at each other in the Diana fountain reed bed. Here is a bit of song from one of them.

A Peregrine returned to the barracks tower after a long absence.

The Little Owl in the alder tree has taken to standing here with leaves pressed to her face. I think she's using them as sunshades to shield her sensitive eyes.

This hawthorn tree at the leaf year looks as if it had pink and white blossom at the same time. Closer inspection shows that it's two trees growing very close to each other.

Tom has finally burst out of lockdown and went for a walk along the river wall at Rainham -- the reserve is closed. He got a picture of a Hobby passing high overhead.


  1. Great blog, as usual. Fun to see life going on as normal for the park birds.

    1. Some species are way down, in particular Canada Geese, because they aren't being fed.

    2. Have they gone somewhere else?

      Glad Tom could get out of lockdown and got the splendid picture of the Hobby.

      I didn't know swans could fight to the death. Swan fights must be absolutely terrifying.

  2. I think the geese have gone up the river, maybe quite a way above the tidal zone where London is thinning out and it's more rural. There is nothing for them in the urban zone now.

    Often in serious swan fights the loser is half drowned and dies later from water in the lungs, which is fatal to the complicated respiratory systems of birds.