Saturday 21 May 2022

Ten cygnets and thirteen Mandarin ducklings

This is the male Wren to the north of the one I photographed yesterday, but still too close to the dangerous Magpie family and in a perpetual fury about his nest.

If you stand still, a shy Blackbird busily looking for worms will ignore you and come close. This is one of the extended family in the Dell.

The Reed Warblers at the Italian Garden could still be seen. One stared out of the reeds.

Tom was at Rainham Marshes and sent a picture of a Spotted Flycatcher. You can see plenty of insects around it, so it was having an easy time. We haven't seen one in the park for a few years.

The return of boats to the Serpentine has brought back Herring Gulls to stand on them, not welcome when the waterfowl are trying to breed, Here are some going up in a thermal over the north edge of Hyde Park.

The Great Crested Grebe chick chased a parent over the Long Water,

The Coot in the nest in the bridge looked at one of the chicks.

The pair nesting against a post at Peter Pan arranged some leaves. The white feather is a nest ornament.

One of these two male Mute Swans was near his mate sitting on her nest on the Serpentine island, and the other was trying to muscle in on the territory. They wisely chose a place with a chain separating them so that they could threaten each other without an actual fight breaking out.

I had given up hope for the Mute Swans on the Long Water, as their eggs seemed long overdue for hatching. But I'm very happy to have been wrong, as this morning they produced cygnets. The video shows four and an unhatched egg, but I have had reports that there are five.

The pair at the Lido, nesting in an exposed place, have succeeded again and have hatched five cygnets.

Duncan Campbell found and filmed a Mandarin on the Long Water with 13 ducklings. They are lovely, but Heaven knows how many will survive. In this gull-infested park I have only ever once seen Mandarins bring up two survivors.

A Mallard drake was alone on the bank near the Italian Garden, a sign that his mate is nesting in the nearby bushes.

Mark Williams sent this picture of a new Canada gosling in St James's Park.

They are much yellower than Greylag goslings.

A Buff-Tailed Bumblebee visited a mauve flower in the Rose Garden which turns out to be one of the huge number of Salvia species they are brewing in the greenhouses. All seem attractive to bees, which is good.

There is a broken tree stump on Buck Hill which from various angles looks like different things, and it has often misled me. This also happened to Neil, who saw it looking like an ape, and here is his picture.


  1. Bigfoot spotted in Central London park?

  2. Clearly the source of the stray monkeypox. Jim

  3. Well, I'd expected that people would be pleased by the cygnets instead of going ape. But chacun a son singe.

  4. Oh my God, another one for the cryptozoologists, together with Nessie and the black big cats!

    I am going ape about the cygnets, myself. What wonderful news, after being so down about it!

    Coots have such a developed sense of artistry. Notice how the tasteful white feather sets off their white parts to advantage.


    1. I do enjoy cryptozoology. My favourite creature is the chipekwe, a surviving dinosaur or archaic giant hippopotamus, supposed to live in rivers in and around Zambia. It eats elephants and everything else.

      Coots often use white swan feathers as nest ornaments. Much more tasteful than crisp packets.

  5. Those mandarin ducklings are so cute. We are on Mull at the moment, no mandarins so far but we have seen an eider or two. I don't think you've ever had those in the park - would you like a picture?

    1. Yes please, I've never seen an eider duckling. The email address is at the top of the blog. Please send all pictures at least 1600 pixels wide -- I cn reduce them but not enlarge them.

  6. Fantastic news about the cygnets will be down tomorrow morning with both cameras :) As for mandarin ducklings, I have a photo or two in the archives of a female swimming with 5 youngsters on the Long Water: think it dates back to 2014 - possibly, the two youngsters you mentioned survived from this brood (would be nice to think so, young mandarins are divinely cute) Mark

    1. Even better, it's 11 cygnets now, and I expect the ones on the Long Water will be afloat in the morning. I didn't see any Mandarins, but they do wisely lurk in the waterside bushes.