Wednesday 10 June 2020

Thrushes like rain, which brings up worms for them, and this one sings cheerfully on a tree in the Flower Walk.

A Blackbird on the grass beneath was already searching.

The Reed Warblers near the Diana fountain now have chicks, and often fly into the nearby trees to catch insects for them. I got one hasty shot (and a bad one, sorry) of one on the return journey before it disappeared into the reeds.

A Carrion Crow sprawled on the path. At first I thought it was ill or injured ...

... but a closer view of the same picture shows that it was anting. It had dug up an ants' nest behind the railings and was covered with angry ants. No one is quite sure why they do this, but it's thought that the formic acid from the ants kills parasites in their feathers.

The Little Owl was in the alder tree until she started getting wet, and then retired to her hole.

Three Grey Herons stood on the roof of one of the boathouses, keeping a safe distance to avoid a fight breaking out.

A heron looked down at the Mute Swans' nest on the Long Water, where the eggs have still not hatched. The male swan was guarding the nest, but busy having a faceoff with one of the Coots nesting next to it.

The swan with four cygnets kept them safe nest to the small landing stage, which they could hide under if a gull swooped overhead. They have grown visibly and are beginning to get long necks.

The crowd of moulting Greylag Geese on the edge of the Serpentine is guarded by lookouts on the edge keeping watch for dogs.

As usual there is a Great Crested Grebes' nest at each end of the island. This is the one at the west end, built against a wire basket. It's very hard for grebes to get the twigs to latch on to the basket, something a Coot could do easily.

The Coots nesting on the post at Peter Pan had one chick when I went past the first time, but there was no sign of it later. Thanks to the gulls on the posts, the life of a Coot chick is measured in hours or even minutes.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull was on the Serpentine enjoying a little snack of an unfortunate Coot chick. His mate waited for her share.

The Coot nesting on the platform at Bluebird Boats took no notice of the pedalos being cleaned all around in preparation for reopening next weekend. Mateusz will leave it till the last moment to move the nest to a safe place, with luck taking the Coot with it.

A pair of Tufted Ducks sat together on the wet pavement covered with shed goose feathers.

Four of the gang of five Red-Crested Pochards seem to have left, probably for St James's Park where there is a flock of them. One drake remains on the Serpentine. He knows where to go if he gets lonely.

Two fine pictures by Michael Frankling of the Kestrel family in a dead tree in Richmond Park: the three chicks ...

... and their father bringing them a rat.


  1. That's quite a feat, catching a rat almost half your size.
    Poor Coot chick. Its mother was looking at it with such fondness. Why are they so easily predated, I wonder?

    Glad to see the cygnets beginning to get their long necks. It means they are all that closer to surviving.

    1. It's all to easy for a Coot to be lured away on a rush of pointless aggression because they are absurdly territorial. The same with Egyptians. However, the number of Coots and Egyptians on the lake is rising, so they in the long term they must be doing something right.