Saturday, 27 May 2017

Blondie the Egyptian Goose and her mate had brought their five goslings up the Serpentine almost to the bridge, into the territory of the pale male Egyptian. A fight broke out between the two males ...

... and, surprisingly, it was the resident who was chased off. Other things being equal, birds usually win fights on their home turf.

All the Canada goslings were in a heap on the edge of the Serpentine ...

... except the eldest, an only child, which was going around with its parents.

The Mute Swans on the reed raft were guarding their seven cygnets.

You can only see six in this picture, but I chose it because at the bottom left you can see a Moorhen with two chicks walking casually around the edge of the nest, unmolested by the swans. Evidently they think Moorhens harmless, though they will go for Coots.

The swan family on the Long Water were begging efficiently at Peter Pan.

The mother knows that if she brings her adorable fluffy chicks to people the result will be a shower of food. Luckily swans seem able to survive eating all the rubbish they are offered.

At the Vista, a Mandarin drake was standing tall and uttering little burbling noises.

His mate seemed to find this display irresistible and was gazing adoringly at him.

The Great Crested Grebes' nest on the Long Water is still going well.

You will note that the fallen poplar tree is still defiantly alive. The branch in the background, broken off in the fall, is now brown and withered.

The Reed Warbler at the east end of the Serpentine obligingly came up a stem in spite of the passing crowds on a sunny Saturday.

A Pied Wagtail was also taking no notice of the people milling around. But their big sharp eyes instantly register anyone looking at them. You have to keep the camera in front of your face.

One of the Blue Tits nesting in the lamp post in the Rose Garden brought an insect to the chicks.

A male Blackcap sang on a holly tree near the bridge.

At the leaf yard, the female Little Owl was out on a branch. She is noticeably bigger than her mate, even when you don't see the two together. We are hoping that her presence two days running means that owlets have hatched and are being fed in the nest.

A Red Admiral butterfly rested in the grass near Peter Pan, looking a little tatty now but still beautiful.

Friday, 26 May 2017

The Mute Swans who nested on the raft near the Serpentine outflow have seven cygnets -- I missed one yesterday.

There are now 21 cygnets on the lake. These are the ones from the small island in the Long Water -- the family had come over toe Peter Pan to tout for food from the visitors.

And this is the family with four, taking it easy in the shade of the island.

There is another family with five on the Serpentine, not shown here.

The mood of unbridled reproduction had got into the other swans, and two of them were courting near the Dell restaurant.

The Egyptian Goose family near the bridge are constantly out in the open, on one side of the lake or the other, and have done well to keep three goslings.

This pale Greylag is one of the regulars who come to the Serpentine to moult during June.

The Greylag goslings were diving, which they seem to do just to amuse themselves.

A pair of Red-Crested Pochards were hanging around at the edge of the Vista.

On the other side of the Vista, there were eight Grey Herons on the gravel bank.

The Great Crested Grebes at the east end of the Serpentine had abandoned their attempts to build a nest against the raft, and were cruising around together ...

... and diving for fish.

The Coot chick from the nest on the basket near the bridge, having miraculously survived the gulls, is now quite big. One of its parents was feeding it a damselfly.

This is a Red-Eyed Damselfly (Erythromma najas) on one of the Italian Garden ponds.

Both the Little Owls at the leaf yard were out on the chestnut tree. This is the female, whom we have not seen for a while, and may be sitting on eggs by now.

And this is the male.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

The Mute Swans nesting on the raft near the Serpentine outflow have hatched six cygnets overnight.

The swans on the other raft are still sitting on their eggs.

A swan on the Serpentine was enjoying a thorough wash.

A party of Canada Geese has just arrived on the lake, still keeping together in flight formation.

Both Canadas and Greylags come to the lake to moult their wing feathers during June.

The two Greylag families were apart today. The five goslings of the larger family were resting on the shore.

The Egyptian Geese who are incompetent parents were on the parapet of the Italian Garden. They have been going around closely together with frequent displays, and it looks as if they are going to nest yet again. In some years they have nested three times, always losing all their young in a couple of days.

Last year there was a pair of Mallards with a male Tufted Duck in constant attendance, it this seems to be them again. The Tufted Duck followed the female closely, while the Mallard drake wasn't paying much attention to her.

The Great Crested Grebes trying to make a nest on the raft have got a bit further. By sitting on the broken fence, they have managed to push it down to make attaching a nest easier.

The Coot nest in the middle of the Long Water, built in what seems an even more hopeless place, is now quite an imposing structure.

After yesterday's picture of the Coot pair eating each other's parasites, here is a picture of a pair of Moorhens doing the same.

There were families of Starlings at the Dell restaurant, waiting to snatch scraps from the tables. A young bird tasted a bit of black pudding and didn't like it.

Another was about to be introduced to chocolate cake, which Starlings like very much indeed.

A Robin sang on a twig beside the Long Water.

The Little Owl near the leaf yard was on his usual branch, today in a more visible place.

Just under his tree, a dog chased and killed a squirrel.

Only greyhounds and lurchers have the speed to catch a squirrel running for a tree. To give the dog's owner his due, he was appalled, but by then it was a bit late.

The lamb's ear flowers in the Rose Garden are a magnet for bees, both Honeybees and Buff-Tailed Bumblebees, the commonest species in the park.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

The young Grey Heron was down from the tree and exploring the island.

The Great Crested Grebe chick from the island is growing well.

The Coots' nest under the willow tree near the bridge has hatched out. The chicks are hard to see but there are at least five.

Another pair of Coots were engaged in what for Coots is courtship -- eating each other's parasites. It also provides a meal.

The rings on one of the Coots were put on by Bill Haines, who is doing a project on the movements of Coots and Moorhens in and around London.

The Mute Swan on the nest near the outflow of the lake was standing over her eggs, and remained in this position for some time. She was clearly hot in the sunshine -- you can see her panting -- and evidently felt her eggs were getting too hot as well.

The Red-Crested Pochard gave me a red look.

The Canada Goose families were together on the south shore of the Serpentine.

A Carrion Crow was cooling off by bathing.

So was a young Starling. It may be its first bath, but it knows what to do.

Thanks to David Element for this fine picture of a Robin sunbathing.

This is the same Reed Warbler as in yesterday's picture. He is unusually confident, and stayed visible for some time.

The flower beds in the Rose Garden have been dug up for another planting, and a Magpie was exploring the freshly turned earth for worms.

The Little Owl at the leaf yard was on another part of his usual branch, but as usual the view was obstructed from all angles.

There were damselflies in front of the reed bed near the bridge, both Common Blue and Blue-Tailed. I think this unusually pale one is a female Common Blue. Usually females are light brown.

A flower beetle was climbing up a lamb's ear flower in the Rose Garden. I know the species of the flower, Stachys lanata, but not that of the beetle.