Thursday 19 May 2022

Reed Warblers on the balustrade

The Reed Warblers in the reeds near the Italian Garden fountains seem to be quite fearless. Two came up and played around on the stone balustrade.

Ahmet Amerikali found the Reed Bunting east of the Lido again.

One of the young Grey Wagtails at the Lido perched on a plastic buoy while a parent brought insects for it.

A Pied Wagtail trotted across the Serpentine Road.

A Chaffinch perched in the top of a holly tree near the bridge with an insect in its beak.

A family of Long-Tailed Tits jumped around in another holly behind the Albert Memorial.

A Song Thrush sang occasionally near the Henry Moore sculpture.

A Blackbird was also singing out of sight, but his mate could be seen listening appreciatively to him.

Covering a plate with another won't keep Starlings from raiding it.

The single Great Crested Grebe chick at the Vista was silent for a moment as its parent dived to find it another fish.

A grebe at the Lido looked scornful as a human toiled past. It can do four times that speed underwater.

The Coot nest at the bridge has three chicks in it, and not all the eggs have hatched yet. Building work continues, as always with Coots.

The Coot nest at the east end of the Serpentine, built on large branches in water at least 4 feet deep, has been washed away once by a strong west wind and rebuilt by the tireless Coots. The wind was quite brisk today, and they were shoring it up with the biggest pieces of wood they could find.

The two Coot chicks from the nest north of Peter Pan have somehow survived having two Lesser Black-Backed Gulls hanging around on the posts a few yards away, and are now half grown.

The Egyptian Geese from the far side of the Vista came over with their oversized gosling towering over the others.

The Rugosa rose bush in the Rose Garden is always popular with bees, and on a sunny day it was crowded with Buff-Tailed Bumblebees buzzing as they revolved in the flowers.

A dogwood beside the Long Water was visited by a hoverfly, Myathropa florea ...

... mimicking a Honeybee quite well. I don't think they fool observant birds, but the mimicry must give them an advantage or they wouldn't have evolved it.


  1. Nice to see the young Great Crested Grebe, the lingering male Reed Bunting (perhaps he has a mate on a nest somewhere?) & the showy Reed Warblers.

    The hoverfly has fooled you again-it's Myathrpa flora, not a dronefly.

  2. Thanks, corrected. I should have double checked, but I was so pleased to find a Honeybee mimic that was so close in colour to the real Honeybee in the next flower that I just blasted ahead ignorantly in my usual way.

    I am astonished by the confident Reed Warblers. You waste many hours over the years trying to get a glimpse of them through the reeds, and here they are strolling around the balustrade. I think the lighter coloured one was young and begging, not a female, but I know next to nothing about these elusive birds and wouldn't want to put up a mere guess.

  3. Utterly amazed at the reed warblers - will be hoping to get a few shots tomorrow! Mark

    1. Yes, it's most uncharacteristic of them. They were visible again today.

  4. Incredible thing how tame and confident the Reed Warblers are. I just can't shake my amazement.

    Whatever anyone's opinion about Coots are, we have to hand it to them that their willingness to win against all odds is admirable. They can because they think they can.

    Would the Grebe swim quicker than the man without going underwater?

    1. Great Crested Grebes can do, by my rough estimation, better than 15 mph (24 km/h) under water and 20 mph (32 km/h) on the surface unassisted by wings. Most of their very high unstick speed comes from their feet, and once in the air they have to keep going fast with their little wings to stay airborne. Coming down on water is a semi-controlled crash. I've mentioned the F-104 Starfighter before.