Monday 14 June 2021

There was drama at the island. One of the four Mute cygnets had got trapped in a wire basket. Worse, it was trying to get out next to the Great Crested Grebes' nest, and the grebes were attacking it.

Hearing the noise, its mother turned up and drove off the grebes, but there was nothing she could do. I was watching this with Virginia, and it was a horrible spectacle.

By great good fortune Peter Scott, the boss of Bluebird Boats, happened to be passing in a powerboat, and we hailed him. He went off to see what he could do. He couldn't reach the cygnet, but he saw that it had got ito the basket though a gap where the wire mesh had been damaged, and that this gap was almost blocked by the large electric boat -- heaven knows how the cygnet had squeezed through it. So he moved the boat.

And that was enough. We visited the spot a few minutes later, and the cygnet had gone.

When I went past later, the cygnet was with the others following its mother as if nothing had happened. It was a bit scratched, but should be all right.

And the grebe was back on its nest sitting on the eggs.

We have no Wildlife Officer at the moment, as the excellent Hugh Smith has taken a better paid job elsewhere. The post is advertised but no appointment has yet been made.

Another Mute Swan and three cygnets browsed on algae under the parapet at the Serpentine outflow.

The Greylag Geese at the east end of the Serpentine still have all ten goslings, which are now quite big.

There is a new brood of Egyptian Geese on the Round Pond.

The lone Red-Crested Pochard which was part of a trio with two Mallards was on the gravel strip on the Long Water with a female Mallard. Has he rebuilt his relationship after being kicked out?

A fine picture by Virginia of two Mallard drakes fighting.

The Coots nesting near the bridge have lost their second brood of chicks, and have only the single survivor from the first brood. They are still tending their remaining eggs in the hope that they will hatch, but that seems increasingly unlikely.

Peter Scott told me that the Moorhen that nested in the control console of one of his powerboats successfully hatched and raised her chicks, not minding the boat being driven around. Here to celebrate her success is a portrait.

The bushes around the Long Water are loud with the cries of tit fledglings. Here are two families of Great Tits ...

... and one Blue Tit chick being fed.

Neil got a fine picture of a Reed Warbler in the reed bed east of the Lido.

Two terrapins emerged from the algae on the Long Water, looking like tanks under camouflage netting.

This year's new carp are only two inches long, but already they are looking like adults. These were in one of the Italian Garden fountains.

A Buff-Tailed Bumblebee browsed on the flowers of Viper's Bugloss in the wildflower patch at the back of the Lido.


  1. Wasn't Hugh also the main feeder-of-fish to the pelicans in St. James's? Wonder who's doing that now.

    1. Yds, he was. Don't know what's happening now. The lake has been regularly restocked with fish and this year's young fish are growing, so things should be all right for a while.

  2. Heroic Moorhen. She deserved to have her picture taken and admired.

    Very happy to read that Virginia, yourself and Peter Scott managed to solve the frightful situation with the cygnet. Hugh is sorely missed, certainly, but the birds are still in very good, loving, and capable hands.

    1. The people at Bluebird Boats are invaluable in caring for the birds. Of course their work is unauthorised and unpaid. It is always thus.