Saturday 19 March 2022

The behaviour of Coots

A sunny day but also windy, and the small birds were mostly hiding in the bushes. But a brave Goldcrest was singing in a tree near the bridge.

A Long-Tailed Tit brought a feather to line its nest.

In the sheltered Flower Walk, the usual Coal Tit came down to be fed.

A Great Tit was fed up with being photographed and wanted a pine nut now.

A Nuthatch perched directly overhead and flew away before I could get a better picture.

A Starling waited in the hawthorn tree on the Dell restaurant terrace.

A Carrion Crow had a drink at the top of the waterfall.

The fountains in the Italian Garden produce pretty rainbows in sunshine, but these are almost impossible to photograph.

The liking of Coots for going under a fountain and getting absolutely drenched is hard to explain. I was talking to someone about this and he said maybe it was like a massage for them.

Another bit of odd Coot behaviour. This pecking display must be a sign of affection.

For several days the Moorhen that has lost its mate and teenage offspring in the Dell has been wandering around the patch of scrub near the Serpentine outflow, looking lonely and sad.

But there was a sadder sight. A pair of Egyptian Geese at the Triangle car park brought out some brand new goslings, but something was terribly wrong with all of them. They collapsed and died, or drowned in the lake, as we watched.

The dominant male Mute Swan on the Long Water, annoyed by Egyptians using his island, was occupying it. He glared at a crow.

A pair courted under the bridge.

A Buff-Tailed Bumblebee in the Rose Garden left the usual patches of pulmonaria and explored a red hyacinth.


  1. Very upsetting news about the Egyptian Goose family, as have been following the parents while the female was nesting in a tree half a mile away on the opposite side of the park. The poor goslings were clearly in need of being rescued (luckily one of them was), and when I arrived in the park this morning the 3 goslings that remained were too far gone to save. If the problem had been reported at the time your photograph was taken, help would have been available.

    1. By the time I saw them they were beyond help. I don't know what was wrong. They just fell over, writhed and died. It was dreadful to watch.

  2. You are obviously brilliant at what you capture on camera. Such a pity you couldnt have helped these poor babies instead of photographing their suffering. After all the years you have been visiting Hyde Park i know that you are familiar with all the wildlife officers. I'm surprised that you didnt contact them in this case. Fortunately, one of these babies was rescued and resuscitated. Hes now with me recovering from his traumatic start in life, then will go on to The Swan Sanctuary for eventual release.

    1. I watched with several knowledgeable friends, We all knew they were gone. Sad.

    2. They dont appear 'gone' on the photo. Certainly not in the best condition and in need of rescue.

    3. I spared you the pictures of them falling down in convulsions and drowning in water where they should have floated. Believe me, they could not have been rescued. I don't know what had gone wrong but it had gone very wrong indeed.

  3. My younger brother and I used to very gently mock-slap one another to show happiness that we were back together after being separated when we were very little. Perhaps the Coots are doing the same.

    1. Displays of aggression and affection seem to be very closely related. I see the same in Black-Headed Gulls. You think they are flirting till a fight breaks out, and vice versa.