Monday 15 May 2023

Coot chicks

The female Starling nesting in a plane tree by the small boathouses brought an insect to her chicks.

She scolded a Carrion Crow that was hoping to get at them.

Another Starling at the Dell restaurant was delighted to find some chips.

The male Blackbird by the Speke obelisk, carrying caterpillars to his nestlings, managed to sing a couple of phrases with his beak full.

We have seen that Carrion Crows don't like strawberries or lettuce, but here's another thing. Someone threw a small pretzel to it. It gave the hard salty thing a single peck, looked at the donor reproachfully, and flew away.

A close-up of a Grey Heron at the Serpentine island.

A pair of Great Crested Grebes on the Round Pond rested side by side.

I was told that they had been making a vague and hopeless attempt to build a nest against a buoy. Well, I'm sure they know where the Long Water is, so they can go down and try again there. By now there should be plenty of small fish for the chicks. A couple of days ago I saw a grebe catching a perch two inches long at the bridge.

The Coot nest at the bridge, which had 19 eggs from two females and a single male, has now started hatching out. These scenes were filmed at intervals over two hours. There is one chick so far. A second egg was cracked and you can see a chick trying to get out, but it seemed weak and didn't emerge, so it may be a goner. There was disagreement between the two females, but all three birds are happily looking after the first chick.

The double nest east of the Lido, where yesterday I saw that the Coot had gone, is now fully back in business and there's at least one Coot chick, which you can just see in this picture.

A Coot at the nest by the Dell restaurant brought his mate a present of a stainless steel fork. Coots love shiny things.

The Egyptian Geese at the Round Pond with ten goslings have managed to keep them all so far, despite gulls, crows and conflict with the other Egyptian family on the pond.

The Egyptians beside the Serpentine with 11 have also had no losses.

But sadly it's a different story with the Greylag Geese. The four families are down to two goslings each -- which actually is a bit strange, as one of them only had one for several days. But goslings do often stray from one family to another.

However, the Mallards still have four ducklings.

The Black Swan's Mute girlfriend seems to have responded to his persistent wooing, and the two were side by side at the old water level gauge. She has a plastic ring -- not from him, but from Bill Haines with the code 4DVZ.


  1. This time of the year I begin to get antsy to see hybrid cygnets. Maybe some time we'll be lucky enough.
    Not surprised that both female Coots would disagree about parenting. Coots disagree about everything. It's a way of life for them.
    It must have been surreal, watching that Coot carrying a shiny spoon all across the lake.

    1. Note sure I want to see hybrid cygnets. Adult hybrids are variable but all quite ugly, unlike their superbly elegant parents.

      I'm told that two human wives behave much like those Coots, though I don't know any polygamists at first hand.

      I only just got that picture of the Coot with the fork. The nest is close to an overhanging balcony, from under which the bird emerged and was visible for only two seconds before he deposited the fork.

  2. I think that's a pointy-ended hoverfly the Starling is holding, looking at the face. Also presumably there's meant to be a picture of the Mallards with four ducklings? Anyway, enjoying the various sagas. Wonder if we'll soon see some Blute cygnets, though I suspect any stronger semblance of pairing will lead to a male Mute interceding. Jim

    1. Thanks for pointing that out. I thought I'd got the pictures right, but they do have a habit of going where they aren't placed, and even replacing other pictures in the right place. Should have checked the thumbnails more carefully.

    2. PS -- Hmm, had to do that twice before the pictures would come out in the right order. Blogger being very recalcitrant at the moment.

  3. Yes I have seen the adults of the two Egyptian families on the Round Pond fighting. You'd think they could move further apart. Indeed one morning ten days ago I did see the first family on the new shingle bank but never again.

    1. It's because the pond is open and they can always see their rivals. There's nowhere to lurk in peace.