Friday 24 February 2023

Two Grey Heron chicks

There are two Grey Heron chicks in the nest on the island. Both were standing up in the nest while their parents were away finding fish for them. The one on the right is obscured by twigs, but you can see enough of its punk hairstyle to know that it's young. The chicks grow very fast on a copious diet of predigested fish and are now almost adult size.

The other pair of herons have returned. One was in the lower nest, the other in the nest at the west end of the island. They still haven't decided on a site.

On the shore below, one of last year's young herons had a faceoff with a Coot. The striped reflection is from the wall of the half-timbered boathouse.

The Coot won.

Another Coot carried a large twig for a nest.

The Great Crested Grebes were at their nest just south of Peter Pan.

I couldn't find the Little Grebe for some time. Probably it was under the spray head of the fountain, where there is a large space. But eventually it emerged.

A Moorhen passed a Gadwall in the little stream in the Dell. I've never seen a Gadwall in this place before.

A Common Pochard washed and preened under the bridge, finishing off with a good flap to settle its wing feathers.

A party of Mute Swans went under the bridge on to the Serpentine after being chased away by the dominant pair.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull was in his favourite place on the Dell restaurant roof having a scratch.

A Pied Wagtail ran along the edge.

The Little Owl at the Round Pond was in the same place as yesterday, a good spot for keeping out of the chilly breeze.

There was only a distant view of the Redwings on the Parade Ground.

Behind the Albert Memorial a Coal Tit perched among new leaves ...

... and the Blue Tit with the yellow face was in a deodar. Tinúviel think the colour might be due to pollen from poking in a flower. It might be from the yellow flowers of the paperbush in the Flower Walk.

A Rose-Ringed Parakeet perched in a camellia bush.

The Long-Tailed Tits nesting near the bridge dashed around among catkins.

A Buff-Tailed Bumblebee browsed in cherry blossom in the Rose Garden.

Stephen Menzie, editor of British Birds, was at Falsterbo in southern Sweden and just happened to be filming a Hawk Owl in slow motion when a Common Kestrel knocked it off its perch. It clung for a few moments, realised it couldn't get back up, and dropped out of the tree to fly away.

Hard work photographing birds brings unexpected rewards.


  1. Wow. What extraordinary footage! Common Kestrels always punch way above their weight.
    The funny thing with Heron chicks is that one day they look like tiny baby dinosaurs and two days later they will look like adolescent T-Rexes (reges?) hitting a mammoth growth spurt.
    Silly swans. They outnumber the dominant pair five to one and could use their number to fight back. Brains were never their strong suit (who needs brains when you have brawns, right?):

    1. It is absolutely extraordinary how fast young herons grow. You hear them for the first time and then a week later there is this great gawky creature looming above the nest.

      Swan hierarchy is based on having a fearsome reputation rather than on actual power. It seldom comes to a real fight except when a swan is climbing up the pecking order, and then it might be to the death. The big bully on the Serpentine killed a rival a few years ago, now all the other swans live in terror of him.

    2. I thought he had mellowed out with age. But perhaps that swan came with only two sets: "fearsome" and "dead".

    3. I don't think swans get mellow with age. A dominant one will hang on to his place until beaten in combat. Feeling much like that myself.