Friday 5 April 2024

Coot chicks

The Coot chicks from the nest in the planter in the Italian Garden came out for the first time today. There are five of them.

Inevitably the usual pair of Coots have built their nest again on the post at Peter Pan. A Herring Gull can stand on the post looking down on the chicks when they hatch and waiting for the parents to relax their vigilance for a second.

The nest on the tip of the fallen horse chestnut nearby is also in a foolishly exposed place. There are lots of overhanging bushes at the edge of the lake where a nest could be built quite safely, but Coots just don't seem to think things through.

The Mute Swans' nest at the Serpentine outflow is also very dangerously sited, but at least the swans have the excuse that there are almost no good nest sites and these are hotly contested. There were still only three eggs.

The swans were out on the lake but the female was returning to the nest, which is behind the reeds on the right.

The male Egyptian Goose at the Henry Moore sculpture was alone again, so it looks as if his mate is having another try at nesting in her tree hole.

The Egyptians at the Lido have kept their one gosling alive for another day ...

... and the Mallard still has seven ducklings.

One of the Grey Herons at the east end of the island was guarding the chicks in the nest. They aren't big enough yet to put their heads above the edge so we haven't seen them, but they can be heard begging.

One of the young herons from the first nest had found its way to the little stream in the Dell. There are certainly fish here -- you can see the larger ones -- and the heron's instinct is sure enough. But it needs to bring its skills quickly up to a standard high enough to keep it fed.

A Wren fussed around in a hawthorn by the Steiner bench ...

... and there was a Robin in the same tree.

A Goldcrest stared down regally from the yew by the bridge. As the official King of the Birds it has to maintain its dignity.

There is a Long-Tailed Tits' nest in the pergola of the Rose Garden.

A Blue Tit looked for insects in a blossoming crabapple tree nearby ...

... and a Buff-Tailed Bumblebee browsed in the flowers.

There was a Dark-Edged Bee Fly on the root of the leaning poplar at Peter Pan. This bizarre-looking fly is a parasite of bees.

A Brimstone butterfly on a lilac in the Flower Walk was doing a good job of looking like a leaf.


  1. A nice mix of insects Ralph. We had a couple of Dark-edged Beeflies on our walk along the canal from Boston Manor Park to Osterley Lock. Rather than parasitoid of bumblebees they actually select solitary mining bees, particularly Andrena species. I've had a couple of sightings in the garden too.

    1. Thanks for the correction on the habits of that fly. It was the first one I had seen outside the Rose Garden, where you often find them basking on flowers.

  2. The profligacy of nature never ceases to delight! Looks as though that heron has some work to do on its balance as well... Lovely photos as always

    1. I think the heron's balance is all right. A couple of weeks ago it was climbing trees very adroitly.