Sunday, 9 May 2021

A pair of Hobbies has been seen in Kensington Gardens. Thanks to Allan Sander for this picture. They are very mobile, and it's by no means certain that they will nest in the park as they did last year.

The three young Grey Wagtails at the Lido restaurant are now almost adult in appearance. Their tails have grown a lot in the last week. Having been hatched next to a noisy terrace with people constantly photographing them, they are not in the least shy.

A Song Thrush sang a few phrases beside a busy path near the Italian Garden.

Both pairs of Long-Tailed Tits on Buck Hill were busy collecting food for their young.

Now that the Dell restaurant terrace is busy again, the usual Grey Heron was hanging around hoping for scraps. We hope it doesn't get as bold as the last heron here, which would jump on to tables and snatch food from people's plates.

The three young herons were back in their nest. I haven't caught one in the act of flying yet.

There are two Coots' nests on the plastic buoys at the Lido. The second one is now quite large and well attended, and may have eggs in it.

The Mute Swans' nest at the boathouse now has one egg, which the male was guarding.

The swans nesting on the little island in the Long Water were annoyed by a visiting Cormorant. We are only seeing Cormorants occasionally now, as they have eaten almost all the medium-sized fish.

The two Black Swans on the Long Water seemed less hostile to each other.

A flock of Greylag Geese hung around the corpse of a goose at the Serpentine island, looking very concerned. The odd thing is that the dead goose was not a Greylag but a Canada, killed by another Canada a few minutes before I arrived on the scene. It's not clear whether the Greylags were mourners or spectators.

A Mallard came to Peter Pan with six tiny ducklings.

Mateusz has found a new terrapin in his crayfish trap at Bluebird Boats. He doesn't know what species it is, and neither do I.

Update: Conehead 54 thinks it's a Common Snapping Turtle, but isn't 100 per cent sure from only two pictures.

I went to St James's Park to check on the swan trio. The Mute and Black females were sitting together with the cygnets, of which there are now seven.

Tom was at Wanstead Flats and got a fine picture of the visiting Black-Necked Grebe.


  1. I think they are in shock (as indeed I am), and are perhaps arranging a funeral. They are clearly afflicted. It's such a sad scene.

    Are there any records of two female swans collaborating to bring up cygnets?

    1. It does seem odd that they are distressed about a goose that is not one of their own.

      I've never heard of two female swans collaborating, let alone swans of different species. Maybe some readers have.

  2. Wonderful shot of the Hobby-hope they do breed there again. I remember it was one of 4 species recorded taking parakeets there in a paper in British Birds. The others being Tawny Owl, Sparrowhawk & of course Peregrine which seem to have a good taste for them. I've seen about 4 locally in the last couple of weeks- but all fleeting sightings. Usually have 3 or 4 pairs locally.

    I think, but not 100% sure, that the terrapin could be a Common Snapping Turtle.

    1. Yes, I was co-author of that paper of June 2015, with Jeff Martin. I have also seen a Carrion Crow killing a parakeet, which may have been sick or already injured.

      Thanks for the provisional identification of the Common Snapping Turtle. One was probably seen in the Long Water about 10 years ago, not of course the same one as the turtle here is quite young.

  3. I didn't realise you were one of the authors, Ralph, as it's been a while since I read it. No surprise given how much time you spend in the park. It was a fascinating read.