Sunday, 14 August 2016

The Tufted duckling on the Serpentine hadn't been seen for several days, and we feared the worst. But this afternoon it was there again with its mother, looking well and slightly larger. They must have been hiding in a safe place among the reeds.

But zoom out from this happy scene and you can see that they were in anything but a safe place today. The mother was keeping between the Herring Gulls and her duckling. At the time the gulls were more interested in some bits of bread that someone had thrown into the water.

The youngest Greylag goslings are now almost as large as their parents.

The three Great Crested Grebe chicks from the island are also growing noticeably.

The Black Swan was following his adopted cygnet around near the bridge, fondly calling to it.

But a few seconds after I took this picture he spotted the dominant male Mute Swan on the Long Water and sped off under the bridge to confront it, lowering his head and uttering his peculiar battle cry which sounds like a duet for kazoo and didgeridoo.

The Grey Heron at the Dell restaurant, which used to hang around the tables when there were diners on the terrace, has been keeping its distance lately and was standing on one of the rafts. Perhaps someone has given this bumptious bird a smack in the face.

Another heron was sunbathing beside the Henry Moore sculpture, in that strange pose that looks like the Space Shuttle on its launchpad.

A Starling beside the Serpentine was shining in the sunlight.

After the recent flocks of thirty or more Mistle Thrushes on Buck Hill, there were only two today, eating berries in the rowan trees.

A young Wood Pigeon preferred blackberries. Juvenile birds don't have the adult's white neck ring.

The Little owlets near the Albert Memorial were perched side by side on a branch.

The female Little Owl near the leaf yard was in the nest tree, a few feet away from her mate's favourite branch. She never sits on this, perhaps realising that it's his.


  1. What lovely iridescence in the Starling's plumage! I've never been able to find out why they, males as well as females, shine so much all-year round. Corvids are glossy because they need to be seen from afar, but why Starlings?

    Great news about the duckling. Both mother and baby look so heartbreakingly vulnerable and fragile next to the massive gulls.

    1. It's the same as with Great Crested Grebes. The most beautiful bird that one of them can imagine is one that looks exactly like itself. And if it works, why not?

    2. Sufficiently shiny and they will doubtless see themselves reflected.

  2. The tufted mother tends to be on the south bank of the lake every early morning, I feed them and they go back to the island. There are more seagulls there right now ( harmless to the baby ) than herring gulls and the brown herring gulls are still juvenile and not skilled enough yet to swoop onto a chick. He is very smart though and dives in anytime he sees danger, unlike mallard ducklings. I think he has got a fair chance as it is the right time of the year when herring gulls mostly go away and are gradually replaced by seagulls.

    1. Thanks for the information. Sensible of them to stay on the island. I found them on the south bank too, east of the reed bed that is east of the Lido.