Thursday, 2 July 2020

There is a pair of Sparrowhawks permanently in the park, which bred last year near the Old Police House. You often see sad little heaps of feathers where they have killed a pigeon, and there was one near the leaf yard yesterday. The birds themselves are not often seen -- I think they do their hunting in the early morning, and they range all over a huge park. However, I heard one calling near the Long Water and saw the female in a tree.

Just up the path the Starlings were massing in their usual holly tree, whose spiky leaves make it reasonably hawkproof. Brambles climb up the trees here, and the first blackberries are beginning to ripen.

There are two plum trees on the lake side of the Triangle car park, though you seldom see ripe plums because people come in early and pick them. A Blackbird was eating a very overripe plum on the path underneath.

Next to it there is a clump of campanulas. The flowers are visited by tiny particoloured wasps and I tried unsuccessfully to get a picture of these very active creatures. But I did get a shot of a Honeybee drone.

The young Grey Heron that now occupies the Dell often stands on the balustrade of the fake bridge in the middle of the dam. This isn't a place it can fish or catch rats from, and I sometimes wonder what is going through its head as it stands there. Possibly nothing.

There is a new Great Crested Grebe nest across the Long Water from Peter Pan, so there are three breeding pairs on the Long Water and at least two on the Serpentine at the moment.

The older two chicks on the Long Water are large enough to stay in the water full time, but still want to climb on to a parent's back. The parent wanted to preen and shook the chick off. They copied their parent and preened themselves.

The younger two were in their usual place by the bridge.

The nest at the east end of the island may be hatching. The sitting female had her wings raised, a sign that there may be chicks on her back, but I couldn't see anything definite.

There are certainly eggs in the nest at the other end of the island. A parent was turning them.

Two Egyptian goslings trotted briskly to the water, warned by their mother who had seen a dog approaching.

A pair with two small goslings came to the Vista.

It had been raining, and a drain was discharging water into the lake. The goslings were interested in the current, perhaps the first time they had seen moving water.

A Mallard had six ducklings at the bridge.

This is one of the few places on the lake where ducklings have a slim chance of survival, if their mother can keep them under the arches.


  1. Very interested to read what you said about the sparrowhawks. I live very close to the park and indeed they do hunt in the early morning. Presently they are using my garden paving to pluck their catch.

  2. A stray thought: could a grown chick than insisted on climbing on a parent's back cause it harm? Bird bones are so fragile.

    It's so wonderful to see the natural curiosity of that gosling. Hope it'll be quick to learn how to stay out of trouble.

    That Heron is clearly philosophing or meditating. If we got into its head maybe we'd get a surprise.

    1. I'm sure the chick couldn't harm the adult grebe. But childcare does make a mess of their feathers and it may have lost the ability to fly. The adults will be moulting their flight feathers soon anyway. They need to be able to fly by winter in case the lake freezes and they have to move to the river. Great Crested Grebes can survive at sea if they have to.

  3. You did well to get the Sparrowhawk. The young should be fledging in the next couple of weeks or so if they're breeding.

    The goslings running is quite an amusing shot!

    1. I only know roughly where the Sparrowhawks' nest is. Others have looked for it without success.

  4. The sparrowhawk is absolutely fabulous ...
    'get off my back' video is adorable...and I particularly like
    The honeybee drone pic, so colourful..

    1. It was a bit of luck the see the Sparrowhawk. The pair are always in the park, but by the time I arrive they have usually eaten and are resting.