Friday 3 May 2024

Grey and soggy

A dim day of persistent drizzle kept most of the small birds sheltering in the bushes, but a Robin ignored it and sang cheerfully in the leaf yard.

A male Blackcap appeared for a moment across the path. He was flying about busily with his mate collecting insects for a nest in the bushes. He had a small lump on his bill. It didn't look like an avian pox blister.

A Dunnock hopped up the steps by the bridge.

Starlings probed the wet grass by the Italian Garden to find larvae. It's advisable to eat the find at once or another Starling may grab it.

A Pied Wagtail trotted through the foam at the edge of the Serpentine.

Another was using the landing stage as a hunting platform to catch midges.

Also after midges were Swifts ...

House Martins ...

... and Sand Martins.

While I was trying to grab these pictures a Grey Heron flew past the Lido restaurant.

The young ones looked out of the nest on the island. They'll be climbing about soon. Let's hope this doesn't cause friction with the sitting bird in the other nest, which is uncomfortably close.

Pigeon Eater and his mate were away and their place was taken by a two-year-old Lesser Black-Backed Gull. It was definitely trying to hunt pigeons, and made a lunge at a couple but missed. It's tempting to think that this was Pigeon Eater's offspring from a couple of years ago.

A Great Crested Grebe visited its mate on the second nest on the Long Water.

However, I haven't see any activity at the first nest for a couple of days.

A Coot spent some time feeding one of its seven chicks in the Italian Garden fountains.

All was well at the Mute Swans' nest at the Serpentine outflow, despite the presence of foxes across the path in the Dell.

However, there are reports that the female swan nesting at the boathouse is ill, and when I passed the nest it was the male sitting on it and two eggs had rolled out again. The prospect isn't good. No nest here has ever succeeded.

The Egyptian Geese had taken their goslings across the horse track to browse.

The Mallard family had just been feeding there and were returning to the lake. The ducklings now look like smaller copies of their mother. No doubt some of them are drakes but they won't start to look different for a while.


  1. Hi Ralph, a VERY risky thing for the mother Egyptian to take her goslings across the horse track ( is that rotten row?)....even though I live 200 miles from London, I still worry about the poor things !.PS, great swift photo... regards,Stephen .

  2. No, it's the narrow track along the Serpentine Road. They have to cross it to get to the grass. The roadway is a greater risk.

  3. From that video it looks to me as if Coots propel their legs at a very similar angle to Grebes? More slowly, to be sure, but I think the angle is similar.
    Poor female swan. Is there a chance that she may be rescued and taken to the swan sanctuary?

    1. No. Coots' feet with their fringed toes look superficially like grebes' feet but they paddle conventionally like web-footed birds, though in a rather splay-footed manner. Grebes have toes that work like turbine blades and slash sideways.

      The swan is being watched and will be taken in if necessary. She may just have a digestive upset from which she will recover without intervention. The nest is beyond saving -- but no nest on that site has ever succeeded anyway. There are six swan nests in the park, too many especially with the killer around. We expect trouble.

  4. How many clips did you have to shoot to get the mugging starling? Great video

    1. Thank you. Seven takes totalling about 10 minutes, a few seconds used from three of them. This is about average for scenes of behaviour.