Tuesday, 18 May 2021

The Mute Swans nesting on the Serpentine island have just hatched six cygnets. This brings this year's total of cygnets on the lake up to 15.

The mother swan on the Long Water brought her five cygnets up to Peter Pan to teach them the art of begging.

The Coots nesting against a post here have seven chicks. Their survival is doubtful because Herring Gulls and Lesser Black-Backed Gulls perch on the posts, but these have been absent for a couple of days.

A closer look at the chicks.

The Coots that nest in one of the small boathouses have brought out just one chick, now a couple of weeks old. They usually do much better than this -- though there may have been more still in the boathouse.

I don't know what these Lesser Black-Backed Gulls were making a fuss about -- whether it was a private dispute, or whether they were trying to provoke the Coot nesting between the wire baskets to leave its eggs or chicks so that they could eat them.

Virginia captured some dramatic, but sad, pictures looking across the lake at the Vista. A fox jumped on to the gravel bank and seized a bird. A Canada Goose flew at the fox, so at the time Virginia thought the fox had taken its last surviving gosling. But later the gosling (which is actually an adopted Greylag) was seen alive and well. The last picture, enlarged as much as possible, seems to show an adult duck. The Gadwall in the foreground of the earlier pictures seems calm enough, so it wasn't his mate, but it looks a bit small for a Mallard.

A Greylag Goose with white patches and blue eyes appeared near the Lido. It may be wholly or partly a domestic West of England Goose.

A Cormorant shone in the sunlight on a post at Peter Pan.

Two of the young Grey Wagtails were hunting in their usual place at the Lido restaurant ...

... while their father, who has played no part in their upbringing, was in the Italian Garden.

Neil found a young Long-Tailed Tit already out of a nest near the Albert Memorial.

A Goldcrest appeared for a moment in a yew tree near the bridge.

A Greenfinch perched on the pink-flowered hawthorn near the Queen's Temple.

A Starling drank from a puddle ...

... and bathed in it.

The Ceanothus bushes in the Rose Garden are a magnet for bees, and seem to provide a lot of pollen for them to judge by this Honeybee's load. The fragrant Mexican Orange bushes next to them are almost completely neglected, attracting just a few flies.


  1. That's complex strategic thinking on the gulls' part. I'm scared.

    I can almost hear the mother swan instructing her cygnets in how to be successful moochers. But who could resist?

    1. The mother swan knows from experience that if she presents her fluffy grey cygnets she and they will get lots of delicious unhealthy bread -- which luckily they seem to survive. She thinks her babies are gorgeous and it doesn't surprise her that people (apart from miserable old Hans Christian Andersen) think the same.

  2. I wonder if the Fox has a young Mallard? Agree it looks small for an adult.

    Certainly a productive year for wildfowl broods there.

    Good to see the Grey Wagtails maturing.

    1. That was also on my mind, but I haven't seen any Mallard ducklings on the Long Water -- the four half-grown ones are on the Serpentine. Virginia sent a late addition to the series which I haven't put up, showing no more of the victim but also a large egg on the gravel, which may explain why the Canada Goose was so defensive.