Saturday, 10 April 2021

The three Grey Heron chicks -- if you can still call these great gawky creatures chicks -- are on the brink of leaving the nest and climbing about in the branches. They do this long before they can fly, but somehow seem not to fall.

A parent kept away from the commotion in a neighbouring copper beech tree.

The Egyptian Geese on the Serpentine still miraculously have eight goslings. The little ones keep wandering around, and I really don't know how they have survived so long among the Herring Gulls and Carrion Crows.

There is a new family on the terrace of the Dell restaurant, which is still kept closed by the reign of terror. Leona Tan saw eleven goslings here yesterday, but I couldn't count them today as it was cold and they were huddled under their mother.

The three goslings with the blond father are still all right. I couldn't see the family at the Henry Moore sculpture, as they were safely in the bushes.

The solitary Red-Crested Pochard drake on the Long Water, dumped by his Mallard mate, preened and flapped.

The Mute Swan on the Long Water island stared at a Coot. The swans can get rid of all other birds, but the Coots doggedly stay put.

There is a swan nest well established on the other side of the water. I don't think the dominant male is going to be able to get rid of this pair, and conflict is likely.

People give the most extraordinary foods to the birds, especially near the Triangle car park, where people can't be bothered to walk far from their cars and just dump things on the pavement. A Mute Swan ate butter beans -- better than bread anyway.

A Feral Pigeon preferred fusilli pasta with tomato sauce.

A Coot started a futile nest on the edge of the Round Pond.

A Grey Wagtail ran along the water's edge at the Lido restaurant. This stretch of shore is popular with wagtails, as spilt food attracts insects and their hunting ground is screened from humans by a line of planters.

A Pied Wagtail used the boat platform as a hunting station to fly out and catch passing midges. There will also be insects in the goose droppings on the platform.

Several Blackcaps were singing near the leaf yard.

A Wren sang in the Dell.

A Chiffchaff came out of the brambles near the Italian Garden for just long enough to get a picture ...

... but a Goldcrest near the bridge was less obliging, and stayed inside the bushes.

A Rose-Ringed Parakeet was tearing off young horse chestnut leaf shoots, chewing them briefly to squeeze out a bit of sap, throwing them away, and moving on to the next shoot. In this way a few parakeets can wreck a tree. The horse chestnuts have enough to contend with from the Leaf Miner moths, and can do without the attention of these pestilential birds.

I couldn't see any activity around the Mistle Thrushes' nest near the Round Pond, and fear that the Carrion Crows or Magpies have got through their strong defence. One consolation is that the thrushes will nest again. One pair in the Dell only succeeded at their third attempt.

Friday, 9 April 2021

A Mute Swan nesting at the east end of the Lido laid an egg, settled down and preened for a while, and then turned round to inspect her new creation, the fourth.

The bars in the video are those of barriers put up by Hugh Smith the Wildlife Officer to protect the nest from dogs and, with luck, foxes. He has also cut a hole in the netting so she can get on to the nest from the lake side.

Two other swan nests on the Serpentine have also been given barriers, and even some straw to make the nest more comfortable. This is the one beside one of the small boathouses.

These swans are nesting in a hopeless place next to the busy Lido restaurant terrace, but Hugh has done his best for them.

There are three eggs, probably with more to come.

No further losses in the three Egyptian families. One of the blond goslings on the Serpentine was eating algae at the edge. The young birds' diet also includes water creatures and insect larvae, as they need extra protein for growth.

The family with eight were at the boathouses ...

... and the four at the Henry Moore sculpture were at the far side of the enclosure.

Three Mallard drakes in the Dell were in a hurry, as there was food to be had.

Two Grey Heron chicks in their nest stared at a Wood Pigeon.

The Mistle Thrushes at the Round Pond are surrounded by Carrion Crows and Magpies and there is constant angry rattling, but they are managing to feed their chicks.

A Pied Wagtail caught a small insect on the shore of the Serpentine.

Blackcaps were singing all around the Long Water.

So was a Robin near the bridge, trying to make itself heard above the noise of a helicopter.

Neil got a picture of a Long-Tailed Tit near the Serpentine Gallery. It was with a group of Long-Tailed and Great Tits in a lime tree, waiting for some crows to go away so that they could fly down and collect spider webs and moss for their nests.

We thought there were three terrapins on the Long Water, but a fourth has appeared in this picture, in the water under the branch where two are basking. They are all Yellow-Bellied Sliders.

Thursday, 8 April 2021

The Mistle Thrush chicks at the Round Pond are now looking quite grown up, with only a trace of juvenile down.

One shifted about in the nest while a parent repeatedly buzzed a Carrion Crow until it flew away.

A crow tried to sneak up on the Egyptian Goose family on the Serpentine and snatch one of their eight goslings, but was spotted and chased off just in time.

A couple of minutes after their scare, the Egyptian goslings were grazing peacefully with their parents under a willow beside the Serpentine.

There have been no further losses. The other pair on the Serpentine still have three ...

... and the pair at the Henry Moore sculpture have four.

The male Mute Swan whose mate is nesting at the east side of the Lido chased off a rival. This ferocious bird is to be taken seriously, as he killed another swan last year.

The Coot nesting under the willow near the bridge stared suspiciously at a Great Crested Grebe. Grebes have a habit of stealing twigs from Coots' nests.

An unexpected picture of a twig being used: a squirrel carried one up a tree to add to a drey. I though that these winter shelters were just heaps of dead leaves, but it seems that some structure is needed to hold them together.

The Grey Heron chicks on the island were shifting around restlessly in the nest. Soon they will start climbing out on to branches.

Neil got a video of the falconer with the Harris Hawk who visits the mega-expensive block of flats grandly called Number One Hyde Park twice a week to scare pigeons off the balconies. The pair of wild Peregrines only two hundred yards up the road don't seem to be considered frightening enough.

A Great Spotted Woodpecker climbed a horse chestnut tree in the Rose Garden, looking for insects in the budding leaves.

A male Chaffinch perched in a treetop ...

... and there was a female inside a holly tree near the bridge.

Neil got a good picture of a Greenfinch on the ground.

The first Comma butterfly I've seen this year, in the Rose Garden.

A Wren perched on a twig at the foot of Buck Hill ...

... and a Robin stood on a log.

There was a Snakeshead Fritillary just behind the railings.

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

A Mistle Thrush flew into the nest near the Round Pond with a worm. Two chicks reached up for it. I think there are only two.

They are hard to see from below, and this is the best picture I could get of one of them, now losing its down and getting proper feathers.

A Grey Wagtail ran around looking for insects under the bushes at the Lido restaurant.

Neil found a different Grey Wagtail in the Italian Garden, using a metal rail as a hunting station to catch midges.

A Pied Wagtail did the same on a moored rowing boat in the Serpentine ...

... but mostly they prefer to hunt in the grass at the edge.

Near the Albert Memorial, Neil filmed himself feeding a Robin, several Great Tits, and a very shy Blue Tit which at last dared to come to his hand.

He also got a picture of a Chiffchaff in an Italian alder on Buck Hill.

There are two Wood Pigeon nests in the shrubbery below the Triangle car park.

One of the Grey Heron chicks in the nest on the island stood up and flapped its wings.

The Coot nest under the balcony of the Dell restaurant has stood up well to the recent winds. Severe storms can remove the part above the water, but the enormous substructure of waterlogged branches in 2ft 6in of water seems indestructible, so only the top needs to be rebuilt.

Miraculously, the Egyptian Geese at the small boathouses still have eight goslings ...

... but the family with the blond father are down to three. Leona Tan took this picture yesterday when the light was better.

A Mute Swan flirted with a teenager on the Long Water.