Wednesday 31 March 2021

The dominant pair of Mute Swans on the Long Water have finally settled down on their repaired nesting island and have their first egg. The female won't start incubating it until she has laid more, and it will keep viable for several days at ambient temperature. In this way all the eggs will develop and hatch at the same time. The male swan cleared away rivals. The young swan he left in peace (for now) is his own offspring from last year.

The Canada Geese that had ambitions to nest on the island have had to settle for a place on the shore, not a good alternative as there are foxes here.

The swans nesting in the reed bed at the east end of the Serpentine have defeated another attempt to keep then out. A log was fastened to the bottom of the net with nylon cable ties to stop them from creeping in underneath. But somehow they have bitten through the ties and pushed the log aside.

The swans weren't on their nest when I took the picture. They had gone up the shore, and one of them was stealing twigs from a Coot's nest to add to its own nest. There was nothing the angry Coot could do. But it shouldn't have built a nest in such a silly place anyway.

Nearby there is a new swan nest in an equally stupid place under a willow tree. This doesn't have a hope of succeeding, but it shows how desperate the swans are for sites.

The swans nesting in the reed bed near the Lido were preening in front of the fence ...

... and the one on the Serpentine island was settled down peacefully. I think she may have laid some eggs by now.

The Egyptian Geese with the blond father still have four goslings ...

... but the pair at the boathouse have lost two and are down to six.

The pair at the Henry Moore sculpture were in the scrub at the bottom of the slope and it wasn't possible to see if they still have seven. There were certainly at least six.

A third Grey Heron chick has appeared in the nest at the west end of the island. This is what happens when you're watching a heron nest -- the young ones start standing up gradually and appear one by one.

The pair from the top nest don't seem to have got going yet. They were down on the shore.

All is well at the Mistle Thrush nest by the Round Pond.

But it won't be possible to see any chicks till they have grown a bit.

Just four Black-Headed Gulls are left on the Round Pond. One saw a bit of bread on the water ...

... and grabbed it with unerring aim.

A lovely picture by Neil of a Blue Tit in a flowering currant bush.


  1. What an extraordinary picture of the Mistle Thrush glorying in its wings!

    Poor Coot. I imagine it was trying to salvage some twigs by putting them beyond the swan's reach. Or maybe it was thinking of beating the swan down with it as with a stick.

    Don't swans on land look a little bit like dragons? Clumsy and heavy on land, but extraordinarily graceful and powerful in their own medium.

    1. I've always imagined dragons as being able to run inconveniently fast. Perhaps a swan is more like a wyvern, that awkward two-legged dragon often seen in heraldry, for example in the arms of the House of Braganza.

  2. You'd think with all the fighting it does with other coots this seasoned expert would have easily fended off a mute swan. Still it was an amusing video. Thanks for capturing and uploading Ralph!

    1. You must admit that there was a certain difference in size.