Monday, 20 June 2022

Another Grey Heron chick

The Grey Herons at the west end of the Serpentine island do, as I thought, have a chick. I heard it clattering its bill. But it was a struggle to see it, as you can only get a distant and obstructed view of the new Grey Herons' nest at the west end of the island. This video does just about show the chick at lower left.

For some reason the other herons have moved to Kensington Gardens, and are usually seen around the Henry Moore sculpture. Four are visible in this picture ...

... and a fifth was perched on the dead Chinese privet tree near the bridge. (There is also a live Chinese privet here, where a pair of herons are thinking about nesting but, as usual, are taking an age to decide.)

When I visited the Little Owl family at the Round Pond I carelessly came too close to the dead tree where their nest hole is. The mother, who was in a horse chestnut tree, yelled at me furiously, swooped low over my head, and landed in another tree where she glared at me. It took a quick picture and left her in peace.

The Little Owls at the Serpentine Gallery probably also resented my intrusion, but they were quite civil about it. The mother dozed in the sweet chestnut tree ...

... and one of the owlets looked down from the broken top of the trunk.

A remarkable picture by Nick Abalov, taken under the same tree: an owl had caught a frog to feed the young ones. This must have happened on the edge of the Long Water, probably at the reed bed next to the bridge where there is a broad stretch of scrubby undergrowth. But it's hard to imagine how the owl did it.

A Wren scolded a Magpie in the Dell.

There were several young Long-Tailed Tits with their parents in the Flower Walk ...

... and a Great Tit was sunbathing in a bush.

A Goldfinch twittered from the very top of the tallest lime tree. They do like to be as high as possible.

It's a dangerous thing to say, but the four Coot chicks from the nest on the post at Peter Pan have survived against the odds. They were scooting around in the shallow water.

There is only one chick left from the nest on the post nearer the waterfront.

There are still three Coot nests on the plastic buoys at the Lido, undisturbed because there are still no boats on the Serpentine or organised public swimming at the Lido. There is a chance of breeding success, something that has never happened before in this exposed place.

The five Canada goslings  of the combined family -- three from one set of parents, two from the other pair -- now all have their adult colours, although they are still only half grown. The gosling shown at the end is the youngest and smallest.

It's hard for newly hatched Egyptian goslings to climb up the granite kerb at the edge of the lake, but they can just manage with a desperate jump. The smallest only made it at the second try.

There were six of them. Sad to say, the seventh had just been swallowed by a Lesser Black-Backed Gull.

An Emperor dragonfly hunted over the Long Water.


  1. Owl attack! Do watch your barnet, Ralph. Nice shot of the Emperor in flight. The mixed family of Canadas seems like a good idea - 4 parents instead of 2 for everybody. 'Our' set of 3 LBB chicks in EC1 are still ok; so far so good, fingers crossed. (Worry enough to make one superstitious about bespeaking something.. ). But they are tough little beggars: that excessive heat we've had, and rain, and their nest is completely exposed. Never mind others wanting to eat them.

    1. Glad to hear that your gull chicks are doing well. I've never had the opportunity to observe a gull nest.

    2. Not much of a one, at least not here. Just a fairly loose collection of twigs etc. I've seen a more elaborate nest , sitting on the top deck of a bus near Brighton; that might have been a Herring Gull's. Anyway, the chicks started wandering about what space is available almost immediately, on the bit of flat roof / between the chimney pots . They did seem to know instinctively to sit in the shade of the chimneys.

    3. I don't think gull nests ever amount to much. Just enough to keep the eggs from rolling away.

  2. I wish I was attacked by a Little Owl
    Remarkable picture of the Owl grabbing the frog. I suppose it was already dead when it picked it up?
    Well done on the Coots keeping their four chicks alive against almost impossible odds.

    1. It's possible that the frog had been caught by a heron and accidentally dropped. I've seen a dead frog in the park to which that must have happened.