Sunday, 26 June 2022

Swifts and House Martins over the Serpentine

A young Little Owl in the sweet chestnut tree near the Serpentine Gallery hissed, begging its parents to feed it.

The parents weren't in that tree as far as I could see, and there was no result. It started preening.

The second picture shows the arrangement of an owl's foot. When raised for a scratch it looks like a normal bird's foot, but for perching on a branch or catching prey only the two inner front toes point forward, and the outer toe is turned backwards to go beside the back toe, giving an X-shaped (the term is 'zygodactyl') grip.

The other owlet was on a higher branch.

A Jay landed in the tree, but I lured it out with a peanut before it found the owlets, which it would have harassed.

I also bought off a Carrion Crow, whose teenage offspring started begging for a share.

Little owlets were calling in a horse chestnut tree by the Round Pond, though I couldn't get a view of one. But when I stood too close to their tree I was sharply warned off by their father, who was watching from the next tree.

A young Great Tit in the bushes near the leaf yard was also begging.

Its mother was there. I gave her a pine nut but she ate it herself, to the disappointment of the fledgling.

Starlings at the Lido restaurant waited on an umbrella for a chance to raid a table for food scraps.

Swifts ...

... and House Martins were flying over the Serpentine.

There is a new Coot nest between two wire baskets at the island.

The Coot nest far out in the lake has survived the recent brisk winds because they are blowing from the east and southeast. It's west winds that raise large waves at this end of the lake and have washed it away twice.

One of the young Coots at Peter Pan walked along a fallen branch. With their big feet they are fair climbers, but nothing compared to agile Moorhens.

A couple of wandering poets were at work in the Italian Garden typing poems for anyone who asked. I don't think they were taking money. It's years since I saw a typewriter in use.


  1. The coots nest out in the lake has survived tempest but can it survive the reappearance of the boats next Monday. I wonder? Joe

    1. Good point. Had forgotten that trade begins so soon. There will be swimmers at the Lido so, so probably goodbye to the three Coot nests on the buoys as well.

    2. Do they have eggs? Would they be protected if they had?

      I recall a feature, years ago, in an American magazine about aspiring writers and poets setting up their typewriters in the most famous tourist hotspots in NY and selling to the tourists poems or short stories that were written on the spot.

    3. Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which is simply an enactment of the EU Wild Birds Directive, all birds' nests are protected while there are eggs or fledglings in them.