Saturday, 8 May 2021

A large party of House Martins and Swallows swooped over the Serpentine. The insects they eat come down to a low level in bad weather, and the birds follow them.

Here are two of the Swallows.

There were also Swifts, but they preferred to hunt at a high altitude and I didn't get a usable picture.

The young Grey Wagtails are now hunting busily. One found a small larva on the shore.

Their mother has shown them that the non-slip rubber mat on the jetty is a rich source of insects.

The young Long-Tailed Tits still depend on their parents. Here is one hunting near the Henry Moore sculpture ..

... and another in the Rose Garden.

A young Robin wandered around on the path, completely fearless as several people watched it. I gave it some pine nuts.

Jackdaws are gradually spreading from Kensington Gardens into Hyde Park. This one certainly knows me, and came down beside the Serpentine to ask for a peanut.

One of the three young Grey Herons was on the ground on the island, puzzled by a nesting Coot.

Another was back in the nest. I didn't see the third, but all three were in good shape yesterday.

Egyptian goslings enjoyed the fresh turf laid beside the Serpentine.

The brood of eight walked round one of the small boathouses.

A new Greylag Goose family has come out. The goslings enjoyed a bit of wrestling.

Later I went to St James's Park, where there are now several broods of Greylags, including one of seven whose parents were looking very self-satisfied.

Some others found a varied diet in a patch of weeds.

I had come here because Jorgen had reported that the father of the Mute cygnets, thought to have vanished, has turned up. He was in the water in front of the nest, where you can also see the Black Swan and the cygnets. He is accepting the Black Swan as a female companion to his mate.

It was hard to see the cygnets through the leaves, and this is the best I could manage. There are six of them.


  1. I was really pleased to see so many swallows in the park today. I don’t think I’ve seen any here before.

    A crow was eating a pigeon by the side of the lake opposite the Lido.

  2. Swallows do appear here reasonably often, but tend to pass unnoticed among the House Martins and Swifts.

    No doubt the pigeon-killing gull left the carcass.

  3. House Martins... clip currently appears a second time in place of the Egyptian family. And as always a pleasure to tune in. Jim

    1. Thanks, sorry. Fixed now. Videos come up as grey boxes in the draft because Blogger is messed up and I have to use a non-standard insertion code to make them appear on mobiles.

  4. Very happy to see all the Swallows! Their lovely chatter is one of life's joys.

    I confess I can't understand the situation with that trio. So the father turned out to be very much alive. But our Black Swan is female, right? So what would she have done if the father had actually gone missing? Does she believe she is a male?

    The Wagtails learn so fast! I do hope the young Robin will become more circumspect. They are a joy to see, but I fear for it safety.

    1. I don't understand the behaviour of the swans either. It seems to be all right for a mated female to have a female friend. I saw both the male Mute Swan and the female Black Swan near each other and there was no sign of aggression.

  5. When we visited our local country park we had 3 House Martins pass through-my first there & watched 9 Swallows feeding for sometime over a seasonal wetland.

    Seemed to have been a good passage of these & the London Wetland Centre coming up trumps with a Red-rumped Swallow.

    1. There were more than 100 in the mixed crowd of House Martins and Swallows here. Impossible to guess which were in the majority in the whirling mob. My perfectly good video, which clearly showed several Swallows, has been trashed by YouTube compression.

      Congratulations to whoever managed to spot a Red-Rumped Swallow among the Barn Swallows whizzing about.

      By the way, there were a couple of House Martins near their colony in the plaster cornice of the Kuwaiti embassy. A good sign. Recent rain will have provided them with the necessary mud.