Saturday, 29 May 2021

The Hobbies arrived from Africa several weeks ago but haven't yet started nesting. Here they are in a plane tree in Kensington Gardens.

They were calling to each other.

A Greenfinch sang its strange wheezing song from a tree near the Queen's Temple.

A young Long-Tailed Tit near the Dell demanded food from a parent.

The Grey Wagtails in the Italian Garden were busy collecting insects for their young.

The familiar Jay near the Albert Memorial waited in a weeping beech for its customary peanut.

A Great Crested Grebe sitting on the stolen Coot nest under the willow near the bridge passed the time by preening.

A pair displayed on the Serpentine.

Virginia photographed the four Coot chicks in the nest at the bridge, with the eight still unhatched eggs.

One of the chicks  climbed down to be fed and had a hard time scrambling up again.

A sad video. One of the five cygnets of the Mute Swan pair at the island has died, cause unknown. Coots, Carrion Crows and a Herring Gull quarrelled over the little corpse.

At least the single cygnet of the other island pair has been spared so far.

One of the blond Egyptian teenagers was trying to fly. It will manage in time.

The carp were restless, surfacing and thrashing about.

A Grey Heron looked down with interest.


  1. Poor little Cygnet. I cannot bear to watch the video, the miniature is heart-breaking enough :-( But I understand that such is nature and it needs to be documented.

    On to more agreeable subjects: the young Long Tailed Tit is the one on the left, right? Its eyelid is bright red, so it must have been very eager to get its supper.

    If there is another life, I want to come back as a Grebe.

  2. Yes, the young one is on the left. They are brown, which makes them quite distinctive in the field.

    The only drawback of being a grebe is that you would spend so much of your life asleep. It seems a waste.

  3. So heart warming to see the return of the Hobbies-one of my favourite birds. I'd hoped to see them when we walked locally along the Brent on Friday but drew a blank as they have bred here the last couple of years. Somebody on our local wildlife Facebook group did manage to photograph one yesterday with Swift prey so they are back. Normally have at least 3 pairs around here.

    Sad to see the loss of the cygnet but at least it wasn't wasted-not that anything is in nature.

    Nice to see the carp. Fish get under represented in wildlife blogs for understandable reasons as they're usually out of sight.

  4. Hope I can find the Hobbies again, though of course if they nest I'll have to keep quiet about it.

    There are some huge carp in the lake. The record is 44 lb. There were fishponds in the river until it was dammed to create the Serpentine.

  5. I didn't know that about the fish ponds. Thanks for that info, Ralph.

    1. The ponds must have originated when the land was the Manor of Hyde, farmland belonging to the monks of Westminster Abbey. They needed fish for Fridays when they weren't allowed to eat meat. I saw the ponds on an early 18th century map which I can't find again. Few early maps of London reach so far west.