Tuesday 4 June 2024

Elusive heron

The injured young Grey Heron is still at large. Jon tried to catch it this morning but herons are hard to catch, as they can take off vertically with a single flap. He is planning a joint operation with Jenna, and I'll be there to help if required. It's being fed to keep it going. This afternoon it was on the boat platform. I asked to boat people to give it some space.

A heron was reflected in the still water of the Dell stream ...

... while a Grey Wagtail hunted for insects on the edge. This is the mother of the fledgling we've seen earlier. They range the whole length of the lake, and I think the nest was by the bridge. The fledgling is now able to catch its own food.

The familiar male Chaffinch in Kensington Gardens hasn't been around for a while, but this afternoon he landed confidently at my feet on the path near Mount Gate.

He can be found the whole way up to the Round Pond, where the Little Owl was looking down from his usual branch in the lime tree. I still haven't heard any sound of owlets.

One of the two Great Crested Grebe chicks on the Serpentine called plaintively to a parent.

The single one on the Long Water was in close pursuit of its mother.

Both the Coots' nests at the bridge have failed, with no chicks left in the northern one and the eggs gone from the southern nest. It's not a good place, as Herring Gulls perch on the posts, and a big gull can easily pick up a Coot egg in its powerful beak. The pair at the southern nest were building it up and it looks as if they are going to have another try.

The Mute Swan nesting on the edge of the Lido restaurant terrace was keeping her cygnets out of harm's way on the secluded nest, a wise move with the killer swan ranging around. There are three cygnets, not two as I had thought.

The swans who nested at the landing stage by the Diana fountain have moved some distance down the lake, since there is no available grass near the nest. Even here they have to cross quite a wide path to graze, which puts them at risk from loose dogs.

They would do well to move to the nest site in the reeds where the killer nested last year, now vacant as he and his mate have moved to the Long Water.

The female Egyptian Goose in the Italian Garden has an odd way of looking after her goslings. Mostly she leaves them on the water by themselves ...

... and stands on the steps of the marble fountain where she can see them, calling to stop them from straying.

Occasionally she flies down to be with them.

No doubt she'd act quickly if she saw a gull approaching, but there are few on the Long Water at present.

The largest of the four miscellaneous goslings on the Serpentine is now growing primary feathers on its wings.

A Mandarin drake was at the Vista, now almost completely in eclipse and looking much like a female except for his red bill.

The patch of catmint in the Rose Garden was attracting plenty of Buff-Tailed Bumblebees.

A Holly Blue butterfly managed to cling to a leaf in quite a stiff breeze. At least it has six legs to hold on with. With some butterflies the front pair is small and useless.

Tom was at Hutchinson's Bank, a place famous for butterflies, and got a fine picture of a Glanville Fritillary whose underside as as beautiful as the top.


  1. Hi Ralph, what a job you have got on your hands catching a heron !!...good luck !!....I am a little surprised at the Egyptian mother being so flippant with the care of her young.....just out of interest, where is Hutchinson's bank?..regards,Stephen..

    1. Looking it up, I find it's in New Addington near Croydon. As you could have found out yourself easily enough if you could have been arsed to type it into Google Maps.

  2. Isn't it funny how pretty butterflies are from afar, and how non-pretty when you look at their faces from close up, whereas moths are not so pretty from afar, yet have absolutely, delightfully anime-like faces from close up? That's a paradox.
    That Heron should cooperate at least. It has guardian angels looking out for it, and the least it could do is to make life easier for them.

    1. I find butterflies' faces interesting with their spotty eyes and coiled proboscis. And if you apply general animal expectations, the human face is a very odd thing indeed. It's a matter of viewpoint.

      I've helped with a heron rescue before, a desperate business. But you could hardly expect them to turn up obediently as if they had a hospital appointment.

  3. Hi Ralph, if I had Google maps on my phone, I would have looked to see where hutchinsons bank was, I thought it might have been in east London, that's all...it's not a case of not being arsed as you put it !...Stephen ..