Saturday, 13 July 2013

A hot day with thousands of hot people milling around, and Hyde Park polluted by amplified pop music, the auditory equivalent of standing downwind from a pig farm. A lot of Greylag Geese had got as far away from the din as they could by moving under the bridge on to the Long Water. Other, less sensitive birds were putting up with it, such as this Grey Heron and Moorhen in the Dell.

The heron is probably wondering whether the other is small enough to swallow -- the answer is no, as I saw a couple of years ago when a Grey Heron actually tried to eat an adult Moorhen and couldn't get it down.

In a more peaceful spot on one of the ponds in the Italian Gardens, a Moorhen chick was eating algae. The chicks are now noticeably larger and have grown some preliminary feathers on their wings, so they look more like proper birds. The reptilian look of the young chicks is rather disturbing.

In the next pond, the female Mallard has still managed to keep three of her ducklings away from the big gulls. Here she is, panting with the heat but sheltering her young both from the sun and from predators.

A family of seven brand-new Mallard ducklings were swimming around near Peter Pan, only a few feet from two Lesser Black-Backed Gulls sitting on the posts. I didn't stay to watch the inevitable result. There are also five new young Egyptian Geese at the Serpentine island whose parents were not paying enough attention to them.

On the other side of the lake from Peter Pan, under a willow bush to the right of the line of posts, there is what looks like the first serious Great Crested Grebes' nest of the midsummer sitting. This distant shot is the nest is the best that I can manage. We shall have to wait to see whether the initiative is kept up, but there are certainly enough small fish now to feed a brood of chicks properly.


  1. Congratulations on braving the heat and the noise today. After a walk on Hampstead Heath late yesterday afternoon, which was hot enough, I decided that Hyde Park was going to be too hot for me, even though I missed all these new chicks.
    Have all the Moorhens now gathered into one pond or did the stray one get . . . translated into someone larger's dinner?
    You might see us having a french-themed, church, picnic, lunch near the Italian Gardens midday tomorrow . . .

    1. I fear you are right about the stray Moorhen chick. I found only two. Will look out for the picnic, among other things, tomorrow.

  2. I wonder if you can tell me what someone should do if they find an abandoned duckling? My 14 year old daughter found a very young mallard chick in the grass, there were definitely no other ducks around and a dog was sniffing around it. She decided to take it to the Round Pond, it seemed to be ok and the other ducks were not hostile, but after a couple of minutes a seagull swooped down and took it. Generally do mallards ever look after their non biological offspring, is there anyone who raises orphaned ducklings or is it left for nature to take its course. Many thanks!

    1. Sadly, unless you can find its mother there's no hope. I just tried dumping a lost Mallard duckling on a female Mallard with ducklings of her own, and she saw it as an intruder and wouldn't have it. Part of the problem may be that you have carried the duckling in your hand and it smells of human. But I think that mother ducks do discriminate in favour of their own offspring.