Tuesday 19 April 2022

Coot architecture

A Coal Tit ...

... and a Long-Tailed Tit perched in a pink-flowered crabapple tree in the Flower Walk.

Robins were collecting insects for their young in two places on the edge of the Long Water.

The second picture is by our anonymous contributor.

Wrens are nesting all around the Long Water. Here are two of them.

A Magpie cheekily invaded the Mute Swan nest east of the Lido to seize a bit of bread that someone had thrown in for the swan. The swan was too busy preening to notice, and the Magpie beat a hasty retreat.

A Mute Swan, a Cormorant and a Coot on the swans' nesting island were each probably wishing the others weren't there. But when one started preening, the other two couldn't help joining in.

The swans on the nest at the boathouse have made good progress in rebuilding their nest for the fifth time after the gardeners demolished it. Yes, this is a hopeless place, but really they have to be left to get on with it.

There is a new family of Egyptian Geese on the Long Water.

The Egyptians and the Mallards on the Serpentine are still hanging on to eight and four young respectively.

Some of the Egyptians are already moulting and regrowing their flight feathers. Even when firmly established for generations in the northern seasons they have no sense of timing.

A young Grey Heron strutted about the boat platform.

Even when not doing a full display and just fishing together, a Great Crested Grebe pair keep making affectionate gestures to each other.

There is a new grebes' nest on the fallen poplar at the Vista.

The grebes' nest under the willow near the bridge has been seized by a Coot, or really retaken since it was a Coot that started it a couple of months ago.

The grebes have not given up though, and were carrying weed ...

... to a new site under the same tree, building up the typical sloppy mess that grebes make when left to themselves.

In contrast, look at the imposing foundations of the Coot nest at the Dell restaurant, built in 4 feet of water from massive submerged branches that you would have thought it impossible for a Coot to shift.

A Buff-Tailed Bumblebee and a Honeybee browsed on the blue blossom of a ceanothus bush in the Rose Garden.


  1. That nest is really something. The St Paul cathedral of Coot nests.

    It's incredible how infectious preening is - pretty much like yawning for mamals.

    1. What makes the nest all the more remarkable is how bad Coots are at swimming under water -- usually a brief vertical dive where they have to paddle like fury to stay submerged and as soon as they stop they bob up backwards.