Tuesday 9 July 2024

A drizzly day

There was non-stop drizzle, so it was surprising to find both the female Little Owl ...

... and the owlet out at the Round Pond. Both had found sheltered places in their trees.

A young Pied Wagtail was busy as usual on the gravel strip.

A Jay beside the Long water looked damp and bedraggled.

Blackbirds like rain. The male in the Rose Garden shrubbery perched proudly on a branch while his family rustled around in the bushes below. I think there are two fledglings.

There was also a distant view of a young one on the north side of the leaf yard.

Three Song Thrushes were singing around the Long Water.

The Grey Heron chicks in the nest on the island always look miserable in the rain.

A parent perched on a wire basket below.

These baskets were supposed to hold ornamental water plants, which died or were eaten by Coots. Their unsightliness was been reduced to some extent by self-seeded Great Willowherb, Purple Loosestrife and Gypsywort. It would be a good idea to bow to nature and sow seeds of more of these, all of which thrive in the soggy conditions.

The Great Crested Grebes' nest is still clinging to the chain. I haven't yet been able to see how many eggs are in it.

Peace seems to have broken out among the three warring pairs on the Serpentine.

The Coot nesting at the bridge was not amused by a Cormorant diving and splashing around it, but wasn't going to be budged.

Another long-term Coot nest: the one on the post at Peter Pan has been occupied for months without producing a chick, and any eggs must have been snatched by gulls as soon as they were laid. But the Coots doggedly persist.

It's all about location. The Coots under the Italian Garden are down to their last chick. The others were probably eaten by the large pike of which there are several here.

But the nests in the Italian Garden pools have prospered, and most of the chicks from three nests have survived.

A Moorhen on the edge of the little stream in the Dell watched large carp glide past.

The Black Swan, onshore and facing away from the water, reached round with its extraordinarily long neck to take a drink.

Swans have the most neck vertebrae of any bird, 22 to 25 though I can't find out which species has which. Giraffes have only seven, like us.

Egyptian Geese fed on the seed heads of the long grass by the Round Pond, plus any insects they could find in it.


  1. Am very much hoping there are some new blackbirds out at your end. We have had four so far at SJP, but three seem to have disappeared without trace. :(

    1. I have modest hopes for both lots here, especially the one in the Rose Garden shrubbery which has been successful in past years.

  2. Now that, as Diana Vreeland used to say, is a neck!
    I was half expecting the Coot to stand up and fly at the Cormorant. Cooler heads prevailed.

    1. That Coot has to put up with the fishing Cormorant quite often, as it has nested on top of the wire basket full of twigs that was set up as a fish hatchery. So it's resigned to the big intruder crashing around in all directions.