Sunday, 8 May 2022

A good year for Blackcaps

Blackcaps are singing all along the Flower Walk and around the Long Water, but now that the trees are in full leaf it's hard to see them as they lurk in the foliage. Here are two.

The familiar female Coal Tit in the Flower Walk waited to be fed in a red hazel bush.

A good picture by Neil of a young Robin on the path.

To keep their fine blue and green iridescence, Magpies ...

... need to bathe frequently.

The Pied Wagtail with a broken tail feather completely ignored the Sunday crowds strolling along the edge of the Serpentine, and hunted a few inches from their feet.

The Grey Wagtail in the Dell was catching the abundant midges at the foot of the main waterfall.

This picture, taken from the top of the waterfall, is pretty dreadful technically as the bird moved much too fast to focus on. But it does show the cloud of midges it was flying through.

The Great Crested Grebe with a chick on the Long Water was also catching midges in midair. The chick wasn't, though it did seem to be picking them off the surface. It's a contrast with ducklings, which catch midges as soon as they are hatched. But baby grebes are used to being fed by their parents.

The Coots in the Italian Garden seem to have lost four of their eight chicks, which is sad. They were trying, as they often do, to build a nest under the fountain where there is an empty space. But there is nothing to fix the twigs to and it always fails. Being Coots, they never learn and keep trying.

However, there are two more Coot chicks on the Serpentine, from the nest that is built every year in the western small boathouse. It can't be seen from the land side, so the first sign of activity is when some fairly large chicks come out on to the lake.

Ahmet Amerikali photographed a Cormorant on the Long Water turning round a large perch so that it could swallow it head first.

The Egyptians nesting in a hollow tree in the Dell have brought out nine goslings. It's quite a good place for them, seldom visited by Herring Gulls though Carrion Crows and the resident Grey Heron may be a danger.

The Mandarin drakes which were fighting bitterly a few days ago seem to have made peace, and were dozing side by side next to the new Mute Swans' nest on the gravel bank in the Long Water.

This butterfly in the Rose Garden is a Green-Veined White. (Thanks, Conehead 54, for the identification.)

A male Hairy-Footed Flower Bee hung upside down from a flower in the patch of bugloss by the bridge.


  1. Sad news about the coot chicks in the Italian Gardens. I saw them yesterday and they seemed to be doing very well

    1. I looked in the pool twice and could only see four, though I would love to have been wrong.

  2. [Logging in with yandex yay!]
    To watch that pair of Coots lose brood after brood to their own incompetence and inability to learn is dreadful, even from a distance. It must be incomparably more dreadful to be there and know there is nothing anyone can do.

    I imagine that as before they perfect their fishing technique baby Grebes' diet staple will be midges, and thank God for that.

    I can't get over how perfectly spherical that young Robin looks!

    1. It is comforting, in a drab way, to know that the number of Coots is steadily increasing. Individual hopelessness is outweighed by mass determination to breed.

      I think that when young grebes are kicked out and trying to master the art of fishing before they starve, they get much of their nourishment from little aquatic creatures like Daphnia water fleas. But these don't provide much.

  3. Such a joy to read each day and be kept in touch with all these birds you know so intimately and photograph so beautifully. Thank you.

  4. Great watching the grebe juggle its Perch dinner.

    The white is a female Green-veined & not Small White.