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.


  1. Why would someone steal swans' eggs? Some time ago the police had to crack down here on local people who would steal eggs from raptors' nests that would then be sold abroad to foreign falconers, but I wonder if there is a similar market for swan eggs.

    1. I think it's homeless people cooking and eating them. There was an incident a few years ago where five eggs disappeared from a swan's nest at the rate of one a day, for which no other explanation seemed possible.

  2. The haul is held in by the bird's tongue while it catches the next insect? But I thought I read that here. Jim

    1. Yes, exactly. But what a haul -- it can't have been able to look straight ahead to see what it was catching.

    2. I'm not sure, but to me it looks more likely a bundle of moss, perhaps to line the nest

    3. I checked the original picture. Please see Sunday's blog.