Thursday 29 February 2024

A busy year for herons

The Grey Herons on the island have taken breeding seriously this year. The pair at the east end of the island certainly have eggs, as there has been a sitting bird in the nest for several days.

Nothing could be seen in the west nest at first, but then a heron stood up, shook itself, turned round and sat down facing the other way. So it looks as if this nest has eggs too.

There was a full house in the middle nest -- how convenient that it has two storeys. The parents were in the upper nest and the two young ones below them in the main nest where they were hatched.

A Song Thrush sang in the rain on the shore opposite beside the Serpentine Lodge.

Redwings were spread out in the trees west of the leaf yard making a mild twittering. This tree held only a few of quite a large flock.

A Robin under a bush in the Rose Garden looked depressed, but the rain makes worms easier to catch ...

... and a young Herring Gull was searching busily for them on the flooded lawn nearby.

A Great Tit was looking for bugs in the blossom in the shrubbery ...

... as were a Coal Tit at the northwest corner of the bridge ...

... and a damp but cheerfully twittering Blue Tit near the Albert Memorial.

A Pied Wagtail at the Round Pond found a beetle in a puddle ...

... and a pair of Jackdaws, normally easygoing birds, were having a squabble about something.

The Mandarin drake brightened up the dim scene.

There are still plenty of Gadwalls on the Serpentine.

The Black Swan and his girlfriend were by the bridge.

The Black-Headed Gull EZ73323 was on the post where he and the Czech gull dispute for a place.

The little Tyburn Brook rises in Bayswater and flows down the middle of the Meadow past the Ranger's Lodge and the Serpentine Lodge into the lake by the island. (This is not the larger Tyburn river, which is a mile to the east.) It's supposed to be enclosed in a pipe now, but heavy rain makes it burst out and it forms a pretty little lake halfway down the slope. I'd like to see this made into a permanent feature, which could probably be done with a sluice.


  1. Hi Ralph,

    I was actually having a little rant about it the other day, it seemed to have caused two trees to be uprooted which I don't like to see.

    Can the remaining trees survive sitting in the water for months on end? Having another lake would be nice especially with the dead trees but this happens every year and the water eventually dries out by spring. The Parks don't bother doing either- creating a pond or at least calling a fire brigade or contractors to remove the water.


    1. Those trees have survived being periodically inundated for many years. There's absolutely nothing that can be done to prevent the lake forming, and draining it would be a massive operation and quite pointless as it would form again the next time there was heavy rain. Best to let nature take its course, and reroute the path round the edge.

  2. Yes, I have never seen my local Jackdaws fighting amongst themselves. They always seem pretty chilled and work as a team one by one, when I feed them peanuts (of course, first come first served.) But I have never seen them fight one another for food. The Crows always scare them off when they approach though.

  3. Jackdaws, birds that say 'hi' to each other if they are passing in opposite directions. Maybe some other species do it but not so obviously. Jim

    1. Crows definitely have a social call to their friends. Feed one and they call the rest to come. When their friends do arrive they have comic brawls, but I think all enjoy these.

  4. Hope all these Herons are successful. The BTO are concerned that their numbers are down on what they were.

    Interesting Jackdaw behaviour capture.

    Delightful shot of the Great Tit amongst the Cherry Plum blossom.

    1. The Serpentine heronry has been getting more productive in a very small way. There used to be years where there was no successful nesting at all.

  5. I saw a Kestrel flying near the Cromwell Road Peregrines. It passed during the small sunny spell this morning

    1. Unlikely to be the park female Kestrel, I think. She keeps to the north side.

  6. I know rain makes everyone miserable except for Blackbirds, but how relaxing to hear the pretty chatter of the Redwings against the gentle sound of falling rain.

    1. I think all thrushes like rain, as it makes worms easier to get. Certainly Song Thrushes sing happily, just as Blackbirds do.