Saturday 11 May 2024

Rival Canadas

After the Canada goslings were rescued from the raft in the Long Water, it was promptly occupied by another pair. Now it seems that two pairs want it, and there was a good deal of competitive honking.

I was slightly worried that the pair in the water might have been the original pair without their goslings, but the family was on the other side of the bridge and all was well.

Another reoccupation: a new pair of Mute Swans has claimed the nest site at the boathouse. The male was standing on it. He has the ring 4GIC. His mate was in the water nearby.

Julia found a Mallard with two ducklings on the Round Pond, not a good place for them as it is completely open with no cover at all.

The single Great Crested Grebe chick on the Long Water has grown to a size where it prefers to sit outside on a parent's back, not under its wings.

There are now three broods of Coots in the fountain pools of the Italian Garden with a total of 16 chicks. The youngest four in the northwest pool are keeping their parents busy feeding them.

There's a perfectly good nest in the northeast pool for the five chicks there, but Coots can't stop building nests and this one was making a second out of purple loosestrife stalks and water lily leaves in a very wet place under the spray head of the fountain.

Pigeon Eater and his mate are still away from their territory on the Serpentine, and their presumed son is lording it over the place as if he owned it. He had a go at a couple of pigeons but didn't catch them. It took his father years to perfect his hunting skill.

As expected, the Grey Heron chicks have left their nest and started climbing about in the tree.

At the west end of the island there is no progress at all. One or other of the pair has been standing in the nest for months.

Ahmet Amerikali got a good picture of a Reed Warbler, not in their usual place by the Diana fountain but at the east end of the Lido.

He also managed to get a shot in an almost impossible place, the Long-Tailed Tit's nest in the top of the pergola in the Rose Garden. This is busy with the birds bringing insects to their nestlings, but they fly straight into the tangle of twigs and are very hard to get a clear view of.

Tom was at Rainham Marshes and got a fine picture of a Corn Bunting.

A Robin in the Flower Walk perched in the red-leafed hazel bush.

A Carrion Crow drank from the Serpentine.

Box Tree moth caterpillars don't just go up and down on their silk threads, they can also move sideways by reeling in horizontal threads that they have somehow placed. The box tree this caterpillar was on is totally leafless as caterpillars have eaten all the leaves, and is probably dead. It's at the northwest corner of the bridge near the steps.

Halfway up the steps, midges and a Marmalade Fly danced around some leaves that had been heavily chewed by some other larvae.

A pretty patch of columbine has come up in the messy scrub to the south of the Peter Pan statue.


  1. There were a lot of people out today, so I saw absoloutely nothing, not even the Whitethroats. I heard woodpeckers drumming and saw a Robin but even ventures to the wildest and hardest-to-reach places in the park proved unsuccessful.

    1. Looks as if there'll be even more today until they get washed away or struck by lightning in the early evening. I think it was King James I who said that the English summer was three fine days and a thunderstorm.

  2. Hi Ralph, GREAT pic of a reed warbler today, is that unusual in the park ? I remember some bearded tits some years ago causing some excitement..any luck seeing the northern lights last night ? Regards,Stephen.

    1. Since the reed beds were installed we've had Reed Warblers every year, sometimes as many as eight singing males and frequent breeding. You don't have to have a large area of reeds to get them.

  3. Hi Ralph. Just trying to figure out what happened to those two duds on the raft?

  4. "Competitive honking" sounds like a very funny Olympic sport!

    1. Not unlike the poetry event in the original Olympics.