Sunday 21 May 2023

The first cygnets

The Mute Swan nesting at the east end of the Lido has hatched her first two cygnets. There are still six eggs to go.

The dominant male swan on the Long Water, who had been visiting his mate on the nesting island, launched himself into the water deliberately close to a Coot, startling it. The swans are annoyed by the pair of Coots that hang around their island.

While Great Crested Grebes fail to make a nest on the wire baskets at the Serpentine island, Coots confidently build a durable structure.

The Coots at the bridge still only have two chicks. Surely some of the sixteen remaining eggs must be viable.

The eleven Egyptian goslings straggled down the south side of the Serpentine ...

... while the seven on the other side clustered obediently around their mother.

There's a new brood of five just along the shore.

The Greylags with a third gosling acquired from another pair are holding on to it. I think the total number of Greylag young remains at eight.

This Grey Heron resting on its haunches under the Henry Moore sculpture is usually seen in the same place. Jenna tells me that he's very old and has become inactive.

Grey Wagtails (and Pied Wagtails) like the boat hire platform because there are insects in the grooves in the planking.

A Starling brought food to the nest in the hole in the plane tree.

A Chaffinch collected insects near Peter Pan. Thanks to Ahmet Amerikali for this picture.

A Dunnock sang from a treetop near the bridge ...

... and a Wren made a loud fuss in the bushes.

A Chiffchaff was singing in a tree near the Speke obelisk.

A Carrion Crow dunked food in the algae-covered marble fountain in the Italian Garden.

A pair perched companionably in a hawthorn by the leaf yard.

A flowering holly tree near Mount Gate attracted Buff-Tailed Bumblebees.

As I was going home past the Albert Hall I heard twittering, and there was a Goldfinch high above on an ornamental moulding of Coade stone.


  1. Hi Ralph, not sure what or why he is always there. He definitely cannot swallow a large chunk of meat ( such as rabbit ). When I bring him fish, I always have to chop it into small pieces for him. He just cannot open his beak as wide as the younger herons. I don't even think he can fish himself anymore. Just lives off handouts.

    1. Thank you for caring for the poor bird, Jenna.

    2. Thank you too

  2. Replies
    1. I wonder what that heron is eating. I though he was there hoping for rats -- I have several pictures of herons catching rats beside the sculpture -- but he seems a bit lethargic for that. I do sometimes see an adult heron on the gravel, though usually it's the young ones from the island. If I do I will look for the missing toe that identifies him.

    2. I think someone may have been feeding them near the Henry Moore in the past - there would have been 5 herons waiting before it nowadays just him. He certainly isn't starving as he sometimes also gets a nice little steak from me as a treat:) Plus fish etc. He used to go away for weeks but now he is always in the park and in the evenings he is by the Serpentine. Him and the red bill heron are the weakest and non aggressive.

    3. I haven't seen Dave for a while, but he's probably still arriving with sardines and chopsticks. I also saw an unknown man dispensing herrings to the herons at the island a couple of weeks ago.

  3. Isn't it the loveliest feeling in the world? To go about your business, hear twittering, and see a Goldfinch say hello? It's enough to take anyone's mind off daily problems.
    Not even a Coot, no matter how foolhardy tyey are, will dare stand up to a swan in a foul mood.
    Pretty cygnets, wheeeeeeeeeeeee!

    1. Goldfinches are quite common inhabitants of rooftops around here. They like television aerials, which make a good base for hunting high-flying insects. But I've never seen one on the Albert Hall before. There is scaffolding on its roof at the moment, which may have attracted them.

      A few days ago I saw one of the Coots at the bridge attacking a swan which had got too close to the nest. The swan fled, as you would I suppose if attacked by a nasty little terrier.

    2. Amazing.