Saturday 30 April 2022

Robin collecting caterpillars

A Robin collected caterpillars for a nest near the bridge.

The Long-Tailed Tits nesting at the bridge were whizzing about inside the bushes, but I managed to snatch a hasty shot of one.

Usually when you see a wagtail on the stone kerb of an Italian Garden fountain it's a Grey, and when you see one on the rubber mat on the Lido jetty it's Pied. But today they swapped places.

A Carrion Crow had been bathing in the Serpentine, and was shaking itself dry.

A Magpie perched on the dead tree near the bridge.

Neil took this pretty picture of a Jay in the last of the cherry blossom.

The sunshine brought out the Tawny Owl in the afternoon.

One of the young Grey Herons was fishing in the newly planted reeds on the Long Water.

A pair of Coots are trying to build a nest on one of the fountains in the Italian Garden. It's not clear why, since two pairs have already successfully nested in the planters full of irises, a much easier place and there are plenty more planters to choose from.

The pair that nested here first have eight chicks. This is the first time I've seen them all out together.

For sheer hopelessness in choosing a nesting place, this must take the prize. The Coot was trying to start a nest on a log drifting around in the middle of the Serpentine.

A pair of Greylag Geese on the Serpentine have eight new goslings. There are only a few Herring Gulls on the lake at the moment, so they have a reasonable chance.

A Mallard on the Long Water has five ducklings. She was wisely keeping them close to the netting around the reed bed, which deters gulls from swooping on them.

A large Common Carp cruised around in an Italian Garden pool.

A Brimstone butterfly perched on a bluebell beside the Long Water.

There was also a fine male Orange Tip whizzing around, but it wouldn't stop even for a moment to have its picture taken. I had the same problem with one in the Flower Walk. They are very active butterflies.

This little hoverfly on a buttercup is so like the one that Conehead 54 identified a few days ago as Melanostoma scalare that I'll declare that it's the same.

Friday 29 April 2022

Nesting Grey Wagtail

A Wren perched on an acanthus in the Flower Walk and scolded a predator.

Neil has persuaded another Robin in the Flower Walk to come to his hand.

Meanwhile I have one in the leaf yard that is positively demanding and will take six or seven pine nuts, and this one on the railings of the path at the bottom of Buck Hill is beginning to take an interest in being fed.

The Long-Tailed Tit nest in the gorse bush on Buck Hill is impossible to see into, as the birds have built it with the entrance at the back, sensibly facing northeast away from the prevailing wind and rain. I can't hear anything there either.

But it must contain young, because the parents constantly visit it carrying insects, always entering the bush from the far side because they don't like me looking at them.

A Grey Wagtail landed on the roof of one of the small boathouses carrying an enormous beakful of insects, so there must be a nest near here. But how on earth do they manage to catch and hold so many at once?

It washed at the top of the Dell waterfall and preened on a rock. going through several cycles of washing and preening.

There was also a Pied Wagtail on the buoys at the Lido.

I don't know whether these Stock Doves were rival males fighting for a female and possession of a nest hole, or whether it was a pair and this was a brutal form of courtship. Anyway the fight went on for several minutes all over a plane tree near the boathouses, and here are some excerpts of the moments when they were visible.

The newly arrived Great Crested Grebes on the Serpentine are beginning to leave the flock and spread out over the lake. There is a new nest in the reeds on the east side of the Long Water which may be theirs, or perhaps a Long Water pair has started nesting again.

A pair of Coots have built a nest on the submerged semicircular wall of the old water filter below the marble fountain in the Italian Garden.

Meanwhile the fountain has gone wrong again. The flow was surging more and more jerkily, and finally it has been switched off. It has been miserably unreliable ever since the fountains were refurbished, and spends more time broken than it does working.

The dominant Mute Swan pair have been side by side on their nesting island for several days. It looks as if hatching is imminent.

The swan nest at the small boathouse has been protected as far as possible by tying plastic mesh to the railings. This came too late, however, for the single egg I saw, which was stolen the night before last, I think by a human. The swans can lay more.

There is a new family of Egyptian Geese on the Serpentine near the bridge ...

... but I have a nasty feeling that the four Canada goslings on the Long Water have fallen prey to the resident pair of Lesser Black-Backed Gulls.

I saw a pair of Canadas with no goslings -- though of course it could be a different pair.

Thursday 28 April 2022

The first Reed Warblers

A Reed Warbler sang in the reed bed below the Diana fountain.

Another was singing in the reeds on the east side of the Vista.

A Robin had found a worm in the Flower Walk and was chopping it into sections to make it possible for the small bird to swallow it.

A Blackbird threw dead leaves around vigorously looking for insects and worms.

Another sang in the top of a lime tree on Buck Hill.

At the bottom of the hill one of the nesting Long-Tailed Tits paused for a moment in an oak.

A Greenfinch was singing in its wheezy way near the bridge.

Two Herring Gulls on the Serpentine disagreed about the ownership of a catapult handle.

Wood Pigeons ate pink hawthorn flowers in the Rose Garden.

A Great Crested Grebe found a small fish at the top of the Long Water, but had to travel almost the whole length of the lake to deliver it to the chick -- only the last seconds of the journey are shown. When the chick is a little older it will be taken to the fishing ground to save travelling time.

The Coots' nest at the bridge has four eggs in it.

The Coot shuffled around in the nest to find a comfortable position for sitting on them.

The Coot nesting at Peter Pan was not at all comfortable, since it was between a Grey Heron and a Lesser Black-Backed Gull.

The Greylag Geese on the Serpentine have managed to keep their single gosling out of the reach of the gulls for another day ...

... and the Canadas on the Long Water still have four.

The Mute Swans nesting on the Serpentine island have their first egg. The male was guarding it.

A female Hairy-Footed Flower Bee homed in on a Chilean Iris.

Wednesday 27 April 2022

Young Pied Wagtail

The Tawny Owl was back in his usual place after a considerable absence. He's certainly rationing his appearances.

A Blackbird preened in a bush in the Flower Walk.

One of the Song Thrushes beside the Long Water flew into an oak tree.

Neil photographed this Blackcap at the northwest corner of the bridge -- one of many beside the Long Water, but the new leaves are making it hard to see them.

A Wren chittered on a twig in the Flower Walk.

A Robin perched on a red hazel stem.

So did a Coal Tit carrying a caterpillar. Thanks again to Neil for this picture, which shows that the Coal Tits in the Flower Walk have managed to breed.

A Blue Tit looked down from a budding twig ...

... and one of the nesting Long-Tailed Tits paused for a moment in a tree.

This is the first sight of the young Pied Wagtail whose parents have been seen collecting insects for it for some time. It was on a buoy at the Lido while its father hunted on the shore.

I briefly and distantly saw four birds speeding over the Serpentine which I'm fairly sure were Sand Martins. House Martins would have been more expected, but I think I'd have seen their distinctive white patch even at a distance. These are the first hirundines I've spotted in the park this year.

You don't often see the soft side of the pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull, but here he is with his mate having a little affectionate display.

The eight new Great Crested Grebes on the Serpentine are still flocking together, as they do for a few days after arrival. I managed to get seven of them into one picture. Not shown is an existing pair from the island, who were shouting resentfully at them.

The Coot nest built in deep water near the Serpentine outflow is growing daily.

A Mute Swan nest at the east end of the island looks well established.

The swans at the small boathouse now have their first egg, so they have defeated the attempts of the park staff to stop them nesting here.

Drew has rescued the Canada goslings from the raft, and the four were on the Long Water with their parents.

The last surviving duckling of this Mallard brood was left alone after its mother foolishly flew away down the bank. It set off to find her, calling plaintively, and was chased away by a pair of Gadwalls. Eventually they were reunited.