Wednesday 3 April 2024

New Grey Heron and Coot chicks

It was a good day for Goldcrests. One was singing non-stop in the yew tree next to the bridge, and you could get a very good view into the tree from the parapet.

There wasn't such a good view of the other one, which was in a laurel in the Rose Garden.

One of the Long-Tailed Tit pair by the bridge was out in a tree ...

... and a pair at the Dell were bouncing around in the corkscrew hazel bush. Since there were two it's possible that they had built a nest which they lost to a predator. When this happens they go to their nearest relatives who are nesting and help them to raise the chicks.

It was a windy day with occasional light drizzle, so it was a slight surprise to find the female Little Owl at the Serpentine Gallery out of her hole. The place where she was standing is sheltered by the stump of an overhanging branch, so she can stay dry.

A Carrion Crow waited under a blossoming cherry tree on the other side of the road. It knows I usually go home that way and expects a peanut or two.

The Grey Herons' nest at the east end of the island has hatched out. You'll have to listen hard to hear the newest Grey Heron chicks clacking their bills begging to be fed. I couldn't get a sight of them at all, but this video does at least show that they've arrived, and this is the first time I've heard them.

When you see this heron flying down to the handrail of the steps near the bridge, it's a sign that someone is having a picnic on the bench which the heron expects to share.

The Coots nesting in the planter in the Italian Garden have hatched three chicks so far, of which you can glimpse two in this video.

A close-up still shows the little red head of the third.

The Mute Swans nesting beside the Serpentine outflow have two eggs so far. The female won't start sitting on them till she's laid more, so they will develop at the same time. Meanwhile she was away feeding and her mate was guarding the nest.

But I'm worried about this exposed position, with foxes prowling about. As far as I know, no swan nest here has ever succeeded. There was a successful Egyptian Goose nest here in 2011, unusually on the ground, but then the area was wild scrub which has since been cleared. This was the nest which produced Blondie, who is still around and generally stays not too far from where she was hatched.

The swans at the nesting island on the Long Water are now firmly settled, but I don't think there are any eggs yet.

The Black Swan and his girlfriend have been staying in the same area by the reed bed east of the Lido but they aren't settled yet -- if indeed they are going to.

A pair of Egyptian Geese nattered fondly to each other near the Dell.

The pair at the boat hire platform do still have five goslings, which wasn't clear yesterday when they were under the platform.

The two goslings farther along the shore were sheltering from the wind under their mother, on the right of this picture. You can just see one little foot under her left wing.

People must have been feeding the three Mandarins at the Lido, as if you stop for a moment they come rushing up looking expectant. The female will eat out of your hand. The spare male is always kept a safe distance from the pair.


  1. That crow knows perfectly well how pretty it looks against the blossoming tree, and it's using that to its advantage.
    I still believe little Coots have a face only a mother could love, but I bet Coot parents find the yellow and red irresistible.

    1. Many birds find red an exciting colour, and Coots do in particular, seeking red objects to ornament their nests. Birds also search for red berries to eat, and this is a clear example of co-evolution, as most mammals can't see red. The seeds in the fruit pass undamaged through the bird's hasty digestion, and are then dropped at a distance to germinate. If a mammal ate the berries, very likely the seeds would be killed by its more thorough digestion.