Tuesday, 10 May 2022

The Coot chicks get stuck again

The Great Tit nestlings in the old pump were making quite a noise, but there's no need for concealment here as the entrance is narrow and the pump is literally bombproof. A parent emerged after feeding them.

A Carrion Crow pecked at a tomato in a discarded salad. No birds like salad, but the red colour is attractive and I have even seen a Robin trying a tomato.

Four male Reed Warblers were singing in various reed beds. They move around quite a lot, probably a sign that they haven't started nesting yet. Thanks to Ahmet Amerikali for this fine picture.

A Grey Wagtail is certainly nesting near the Italian Garden, and was on the kerb of a fountain collecting insects for the chicks.

A Pied Wagtail hunted in the same place.

The pool itself was a troubled scene. The two largest of the four Coot chicks are now too big to get through the net, and were stuck in the planter where their parents have built a second nest, frantically trying to get out and join the others. A parent flew in and sat on them to calm them down.

I texted the Wildlife Officer, Drew Love-Jones, and he has already sorted them out in a suitable way. The Coots have this problem every year, and there seems to be no way of avoiding it.

The Coot nest on the wire basket at the bridge has its private shrubbery where the willow twigs put into the basket to make a fish hatchery have sprouted.

It looks as if the usual pair of Moorhens are nesting under the hidden weir at the Serpentine outflow, a site that only agile Moorhens can cope with.

The single Great Crested Grebe chick on the Long Water followed its father, begging loudly to be fed.

A swimmer's-eye view of a grebe at the Lido, taken by Michael Harris with his waterproof camera.

The two Canada Goose families now seem to be on friendly terms.

The Egyptians from the Dell still have eight goslings.

A Mallard preened on the edge of the Serpentine, and her ducklings copied her.

There is a saying 'To get all your ducks in a row', meaning to be well organised. The origin is obscure -- see this article.

Carp are spawning frantically in the Long Water and the Italian Garden pools. It seems a bit late in the year for that. Again, thanks to Ahmet for this picture.

A couple of years ago a bush near the Triangle car park was infested with Ermine Micromoth caterpillars which draped it in a silk cocoon and ate all its leaves. It had just recovered from this rough treatment, but now the moths have attacked it again.


  1. As I've commented before, lettuce seems to be a great hit with coots. I don't know what they'd make of other salad veg though. Jim

    1. Well, I suppose that if they eat algae, they can take lettuce in their stride. But I've never seen one, or any other bird, eating lettuce.

    2. Have seen a video of a sparrow eating lettuce, apples, ice cream and many other items. Her name is 'Chibi' and she lives in an apartment in Slovenia with a young couple who hand-reared her. You can follow her adventures online, and the videos are well worth a look :) Mark

    3. Thanks for introducing us to 'Chibi'! I don't know what it is about the Balkans but they tend to have wonderful bird national heroes. I am reminded of the famous stork pair Klepeta and Malena in Croatia. Their yearly return to their nest in a humble Croatian town was a televised event that drew crowds.

    4. That was Tinúviel again, by the way. Browser body count so far: brave zilch, chrome zero, opera no dice, only yandex seems to work for me.
      Speaking of getting one's ducks in a row:

    5. Remarkable examples. It sounded as if the Russian was trying to drive the ducks away, not call them. But if the sound of his raucous voice always leads to their being fed, they won't be put off by it.

    6. I wonder whether the logging-in issue is a national problem and not a browser one. I sometimes can't log into the blog using a Dutch VPN address. I am using a Spanish one now as an experiment.

    7. I don't know what's happening. It's happening with two different computer running two different OS and across three different browsers. Yandex works consistently in both though. I am getting rather fond of Yandex, even if its set up initially made me want to gouge out my eyes. It's so lacking in finesse nothing can stop it, for good or for ill.

    8. Simply can't explain this. I've tried Chromium, Firefox, Brave and Edge on Windows, Mac, Mint and Android, and can't induce the fault. Well, computers are always on the brink of chaos and sometimes it breaks through.