Friday 30 April 2021

A single Grey Wagtail fledgling has appeared at the Lido restaurant. Its parents feed it insects a few at a time, not the whole beakful they have brought.

The Starlings nesting in the eaves of the Buck Hill shelter were out collecting caterpillars ...

... and flies for their nestlings. Thanks to Neil for the close-up picture.

The two Blue Tits have now taking to plonking themselves on the ground at my feet to demand pine nuts. They are certainly a pair nesting nearby, so we may see some young ones later.

A Robin was also expecting something ...

... and so was a Jackdaw at the leaf yard. Together we are working out strategies that allow the Jackdaws to be fed without being knocked endways by Carrion Crows.

Several Greenfinches were singing from treetops around the Long Water.

The two Grey Heron chicks in the second nest on the island were fed regurgitated fish by a parent.

There are still four Mallard ducklings. Their survival is due to their mother keeping them at the edge of the lake close to fences that will deter swooping gulls, and close to the nest of a highly aggressive Mute Swan which scares off predators but seems to tolerate them.

Abigail found the Mallards actually on the edge of the swan nest and took this picture on her smartphone.

A Mandarin drake rested on the landing stage at the Diana fountain.

The eight older Egyptian goslings were in their usual grazing spot under the willow ...

... and the two Canada goslings were on the edge of the Serpentine.

The Coot nest on the wire basket by the bridge is now a substantial structure. I don't think it will succeed, as it is next to posts on which Herring Gulls perch.

A video from yesterday: the vixen at the leaf yard dragged a picnicker's rubbish bag behind the fence and inspected the contents for anything edible.

The grass near the Italian Garden was being used by some people selling homemade rag rugs, no doubt a product of the dreary imprisonment of lockdown. A police car drove by this illegal scene without stopping. Too much paperwork is often our salvation.

Thursday 29 April 2021

There were three Grey Wagtails at the Lido restaurant, the pair we have seen here already and a third which they soon chased away. This is the male of the pair.

The female forgot that she was being watched and came very close.

A Pied Wagtail hunted on the sparse trodden grass beside the Serpentine.

A Stock Dove wandered around on the ground. You nearly always see them in trees, and I would have dismissed it as a Feral Pigeon if Tom hadn't spotted it.

Beside the Diana fountain, a Dunnock sang a few phrases in a bush swaying in the breeze.

One of the Long-Tailed Tits nesting here was dashing around in the bushes, almost impossible to photograph but Tom managed a quick shot when it paused for a moment on the railings.

Two Greenfinches near Peter Pan were also not doing us any favours. As soon as one came into view the other one disappeared behind a leaf.

The two younger Grey Heron chicks on the island were being a bit more helpful.

An adult was reflected in the lake.

Gulls, like so many birds, find red things particularly exciting. A young Herring Gull played with a lighter, and an adult Lesser Black-Backed Gull (in fact the pigeon eater's mate) pecked at a ball.

The two new Canada goslings came into sight at the Lido and enjoyed a wrestling session. This went on for several minutes under the eyes of their parents.

The eight Egyptian goslings wandered around freely, with their parents several yards away.

The Red-Crested Pochard at the Italian Garden was with his ex and her new mate. He looked sad, but at least he didn't get chased off.

A pretty vixen looked out from the railings of the leaf yard ...

... emerged confidently, and strolled past, pausing for a scratch.

I am deplorably ignorant about insects and can't begin to guess the species of this one seen walking up a reed stem.

Wednesday 28 April 2021

A chilly day with a keen wind made the eight little Egyptians huddle together for warmth.

Another brood sheltered under their mother's wings.

A pair with goslings at risk from Herring Gulls considered that attack is the best form of defence.

The blond goslings are getting their first adult feathers.

Sad to say, the Greylags have lost two of their three.

Malachi the gardener told me that he has seen a pair of Canadas with two goslings, but I couldn't find them today.

He also saw a Yellow Wagtail, a rarity in the park. It was near the Dell but flew off in the direction of the Parade Ground, so it may not have stayed.

A pair of Grey Wagtails looked for insects on the shore at the Lido restaurant. I've seen them here collecting insects to take to a nest.

And it really is a pair -- the two I saw a few days ago were both female. Here is a closer shot of the male, showing his distinctive black bib.

This Pied Wagtail is also male, with a black back while the female has a grey back. They spend a lot of time looking for food on the tarmac. Heaven knows what tiny creatures they find here.

The first House Martins have arrived on the lake. They haven't yet visited their nesting site at the Kuwaiti embassy.

A Blackbird looked out from a blossoming tree beside the Long Water.

One of the Mistle Thrushes at the Albert Memorial was out on the grass.

Wrens were singing in several places beside the Long Water.

A Wood Pigeon ate the new shoots of a red-leafed cherry tree.

A Magpie prospected for scraps in a bin beside the Serpentine. When Carrion Crows do this they haul the rubbish out on to the ground for further examination, but they are bigger and stronger than Magpies.

This pair of Lesser Black-Backed Gulls is often seen in the Diana fountain.

Tom got a shot of a Mandarins mating on the Round Pond. At the moment I think there are one pair here and one on the Serpentine, but it's not clear whether they are nesting.

Update: Neil found a Pied Flycatcher in a tall lime tree just to the north of the leaf yard, and got a good shot of it.

Tuesday 27 April 2021

As I thought, there are two chicks in the second Grey Heron nest. They are more adventurous than the older chicks in the first nest, and already climbing around.

The young herons in the first nest are now beginning to fly. One flapped unsteadily into the next tree.

Neil got two remarkable pictures of herons fighting in the Italian Garden. Usually herons fly at each other and have a kind of aerial barging match, but these two were wrestling, with one holding the other in a headlock. 

The loser broke free and flew away uninjured.

Coots are nesting in one of the small boathouses again. This is a hopeless place, as the chicks fall off the platform into the water and can't get up again. But Coots seem incapable of learning from experience.

The Coot nesting on the wire basket near the bridge is now surrounded by green shoots, as the twigs in the baskets are beginning to sprout.

A pair of Greylag Geese on the Serpentine have produced three goslings. They may have come from an unused Grey Heron nest on the island, where I saw a Greylag a couple of weeks ago. Although Greylags normally nest on the ground they will use a tree if there is a suitable place for them to land in one.

The eight Egyptian goslings are now growing fast, though by no means out of danger from gulls.

The eight Egyptian goslings dived and rushed around. This behaviour seemed to annoy their mother, who charged through the family. I wouldn't have thought she felt like that, except that she did it twice.

The pair of Mute Swans that started a nest in a silly place in the open on the shore of the Serpentine, and thankfully gave up, are at it again. The male was guarding a site, already built up with twigs. Let's hope they forget this doomed plan.

The Mallard mother near the Lido has managed to hang on to her four ducklings. Her success may be partly due to staying near the nest of the very aggressive swan, which doesn't bother her but scares off the gulls.

Clive Murgatroyd got a good shot of the Cetti's Warbler near the bridge. It seems to be mostly in one quite small area, which makes it easy to find, though it's still very hard to get an unobstructed shot of it.

The usual pair of Jays were waiting here for their daily peanuts.

A Buff-Tailed Bumblebee browsed on a bugleweed flower.

Monday 26 April 2021

A Wren sang beside the waterfall in the Dell. The tiny bird is naturally so loud that it doesn't have to raise its voice to be heard above the rush of the water.

A Wood Pigeon bathed in the pool at the top of the waterfall.

A Long-Tailed Tit was collecting insects near the Italian Garden. This must be one of the pair nesting in the bramble patch, although it was on the other side of the lake.

A Chiffchaff gave the camera a serious stare.

Tom got a shot of a Willow Warbler near the Henry Moore sculpture. We never get more than a few in the park and they're difficult to photograph.

He also got a female Blackcap in the same place.

Neil took this close-up of a female Chaffinch in a tulip tree.

This is one of the Mistle Thrushes nesting near the Diana fountain.

The first clear view of the Grey Heron chick in the second nest to hatch on the island. I think there may be two chicks, judging by the noise they make.

Not in the park: a pair of Lesser Black-Backed Gulls surfed the updraught at the top of a building. One amused itself by standing on the other's back.

This video has been forwarded again and again on Twitter and I can no longer trace where it came from, but congratulations to whoever shot it.

Another picture by Neil, of a Great Crested Grebe catching a crayfish, of which there are great number in the lake now.

Only one of the four pairs of grebes is nesting, which is just as well as the stock of small fish must be very low at the moment, and crayfish are not suitable for feeding to small chicks.

The male of the pair of Mute Swans nesting at the east end of the Lido guarded the six eggs while his mate was away feeding. This is the pair that succeeded last year in bringing up two cygnets despite the threat from foxes to a nest on the shore. The male is exceptionally aggressive and killed another swan that got too close to the nest.

The four Egyptian goslings on the Long Water are growing at a tremendous rate.

The mother of the goslings at the Dell restaurant exchanged hostile looks with a nesting Coot.

It looks as if more little Egyptians are on the way at the Diana fountain. Thanks to Tom for this picture.

A Mandarin drake on the Serpentine, back from the Round Pond where they have been recently.