Tuesday 2 June 2020

The Mute Swans on the gravel bank in the Long Water have hatched just one cygnet. They made no effort to return to the nest, so this must be as many as they're getting.

Meanwhile the dominant pair must be close to hatching their eggs, but you can only view the nest from the other side of the lake and it's hard to see what was going on. The female busily attended to the eggs for several minutes, but she may only have been turning them over.

The three cygnets from the nest at the Lido were all right, but only just. A Carrion Crow carried one of them off. Two men chased it causing it to drop the cygnet, which they brought back. It didn't seem to be any the worse for its shock.

The six Egyptian goslings at the boat house have survived another day, which is always surprising when you see the way they behave. One of them wandered off into the road, but decided to return just as I was going to herd it back.

An interesting picture from St James's Park  by Joan Chatterley: this very pale Egyptian looks just like our own Blondie, and actually I think it's her, as I haven't seen her on the Serpentine for some time. Egyptians with pale heads are not uncommon, but it's very rare for them to have pale flight feathers as well, as Blondie does.

Joan sent another picture from St James's Park, of a pair of Great Crested Grebes with one chick. The grebes there can breed sooner than ours, as the lake is artificially stocked with small fish to feed the pelicans.

One of the Coots nesting under the balcony of the Dell restaurant brought a goose feather to the nest. The geese are now all moulting fast and the lake is strewn with big feathers.

Usually when a Coot builds a nest in a hopeless place on the edge of the Serpentine it realises its error and abandons the nest. But this one has doggedly persisted and made quite a large nest. It doesn't have a chance of success.

Two dramatic pictures by Virginia of Moorhens fighting in the Italian Garden.

When they had finished they bowed ceremoniously like sumo wrestlers and walked off side by side.

The Little Owl was in the alder tree, quite hard to spot among the leaves.

A Wren carried insects and a spider to its young in the bushes beside the Long Water.

A Greenfinch sang on a treetop.

A Chaffinch ate a seed from the feeder in the Rose Garden.

A family of Long-Tailed Tits worked its way past the Vista. An adult perched on a twig ...

... and just after it had left, one of the young ones pursuing it landed on the same twig.

Whenever I visit the leaf yard now there is a Blackcap singing beautifully. The very shy bird flies away as soon as it sees me, but today I managed to take it by surprise and get one hasty shot.

In case anyone doubted the total insanity of the authorities, here is a notice that has just been put up in the leaf yard behind the spiked railings that prevent access. The ground is level, but there is an earth bank rising up at the back to hide the inelegant operations inside the yard, which is where dead leaves are taken in the autumn. Should the force of gravity be reversed for a moment, you could fall over the fence and land on top of the bank.

Sébastien Mercier took this fine picture of a Reed Warbler in the reed bed at the Diana fountain. It has a ring with the numbers 499 showing. The chance of reading the rest of it is almost zero.


  1. Blondie! Come back, we miss you!

    I continue with my foolish hope: if there is only one cygnet is it less likely to provoke the ire of the dominant swan?

    Well done on the two anonymous heroes who managed to snatch the cygnet from the literal jaw of death.

    The adult Long Tailet Tit looks very haggard and tired, poor thing.

    1. At least a single cygnet is easier to protect.

      Hardly surprising the Long-Tailed Tit looks so exhausted. Imagine being chased by several insatiable babies who can fly as fast as you.

  2. Can you give us a clue where is the alder tree with the little owl? We keep looking near the Henry Moore but can't see where it is. Love the blog.

    1. The Henry Moore owls' main tree is shown in the sketch map here. The alder tree is only a few feet down the hill from the main tree, and is recognisable by its black fruits looking like little pine cones. The owl is likely to be there on a sunny day with little wind. You will have to walk all round the tree to find the branch she has chosen to perch on.

  3. Very many thanks. And thanks also for the wonderful photos every day.

  4. So cool to read this post. I was one of the men who chased the crow carrying away the cygnet! The little guy was so shocked but I'm so glad that he found his way back to the family.

    1. The crow, or maybe a Herring Gull, has now made off with another. They are relentless.