Thursday 25 May 2023

More Coot chicks at the bridge

A Starling fed a fledgling in the Rose Garden.

A family of Long-Tailed Tits passed. Here is one of the young ones. Their orange eyelids blush red with excitement when they think they are about to be fed.

Grey Wagtails are nesting in the Dell. One flew up from the edge of the stream and perched for a moment on a branch. I think this tree is a cultivar of Acer davidii called 'George Forrest'. It may technically be a maple but if so its leaves are a most untypical shape.

A young Grey Heron was fishing in the stream, framed by yellow irises.

The female Little Owl at the Round Pond came out on the horse chestnut tree in the afternoon.

A Carrion Crow had seized an unfortunate fledgling and was eating it on the edge of the Serpentine.

It's now clear that the two female Coots on the nest at the bridge laid their eggs at different times so that they hatched separately. Only two chicks survived from the first hatching, but now the second batch are beginning to hatch and there are another two chicks. More may be expected in the coming days.

Three chicks were on the nest and the fourth, one of the older two, on the edge of the water. In this close-up picture you can just see the third chick on the right.

The female Mute Swan on the nesting island in the Long Water seemed restless, so I took some pictures from across the lake. I think she's hatched two cygnets, earlier than I expected. This isn't a good picture but I think you can just see them.

The swans at the Lido with six new cygnets took them to the other side of the lake to beg for food. A passing Great Crested Grebe looked at the family.

They met a pair of Coots with two chicks at the boathouse. While I was there all seemed peaceful, but both kinds of bird are highly aggressive and it probably didn't stay like that for long.

Two new Canada goslings have appeared. They came ashore below the Triangle car park.

Geese are beginning to arrive on the lake to moult in safety during June. A blue-eyed West of England goose climbed ashore.

This sinister-looking plant in the Rose Garden is a Dracunculus, belonging to the same family as an arum lily. The flowers smell of rotting meat, which attracts flies that pollinate the plant. Here it's visited by two Greenbottles.

A new exhibition is being installed at the Serpentine Gallery. It includes metal silhouettes of birds and wooden fantasy bird boxes, some of which have been arranged in a stack outside the gallery.

This is right next to the territory of two Little Owls, who nested last year in a chestnut tree next to the gallery. As far as I know they haven't started breeding this year. It would be amusing if they took to one of the boxes, which have holes of various sizes so that one could certainly admit a Little Owl.


  1. I have never new of Long-tailed Tits having an appearance change based on their emotions, this is amazing to me.

  2. Maybe it's a blush response, like in humans?
    Good to see the Coot nest having two more chicks. Still 19 eggs continue to be a mystery.
    I do so hope the Little Owls will avail themselves of the perfect opportunity to reclaim a sculpture and turn them into their nest.

    1. Most likely is! Could potentially also alert the adult to sign for food, and be more noticeable with the colour change. Either way it is certainly remarkable.

    2. In books you read of people being 'flushed with enthusiasm' or 'expectation'. Can't say I've ever noticed it in real life, though people do blush for other reasons. It shows in the little bird's eyelids because that's the only bit you can see, the rest being covered with feathers.

    3. Or maybe it's more like getting red in the face with higher blood pressure, due to excitement or the like? you're right blushing almost always is caused by embarrassment or shame.