Thursday, 1 June 2017

There is a new brood of eight Egyptian goslings at the east end of the Serpentine.

But the Mute Swans here have lost another cygnet and are down to two, here seen with their father. This has to be the work of a fox swimming to the raft.

Fran reports that the other Mute Swan nest here has hatched two cygnets, with three eggs still unhatched.

The swans on the Long Water still have their four.

On the Serpentine, the two broods of Canada goslings were just settling down into a comfortable heap ...

... when the pair of swans with five cygnets turned up.

One of the Canadas tried to defy a swan ...

... but got chased right up the lake.

The Great Crested Grebes nesting on the island still have their one chick, but have now laid at least two more eggs. This picture was taken in almost impossible conditions of distance, obstruction and deep shade, but you should just be able to see what is going on in the nest.

The parents will continue to feed the chick. These overlapping broods have succeeded in past years.

One of the grebes nesting at the Vista was turning over the eggs. I could see three.

The hungry gulls at Peter Pan have been waiting for weeks for the Coot nesting on the post to relax its vigilance. But Coots are determined birds, and are not giving up.

The young Grey Heron at the island has lost almost all the straggly juvenile feathers from the top of its head.

A heron was looking for fish among the water lilies in the Italian Garden.

A Wren appeared on a bush beside the Long Water.

The Little Owl at the leaf yard was at the top of his tree, basking in the sunshine.

This dragonfly larva was trotting briskly over the tarmac near the island. I don't know what species it is.


  1. I was wondering if foxes might be involved with the disappearance of cygnets. Is there any culling of foxes in the London parks, or is it thought to be a balanced situation?

    1. All parts of London are at their full carrying capacity for foxes. Culling would be pointless. More foxes would move in to fill the gaps.

  2. [I deleted the previous comment because on second thought the link I posted was too disturbing]

    What was that Canada thinking? (incidentally, I always found very funny that one of the most aggressive geese species should be called after what is popularly considered one of the most peace-seeking countries).

    Can anything be done about the foxes? I fear that they are going to take all the chicks one by one.

    There is a piece of news in the Daily Mail claiming that a man has filmed in Kildary a swan killing and then eating a duckling. I haven't seen the video, but I don't think that is even possible.

    1. Some mesopredators are being artificially maintained at above ecological carrying capacity by eating human food left overs they scavenge from garbage bags and containers. I've read this accounts for some of the benefits urban foxes are finding in cities. We have this situation with feral cats that can reach high densities if they find garbage food sources. The result can sometimes be hyperpredation of vulnerable species. So, I'm curious too if this is an unusual situation with the urban foxes, accessing vulnerable birds. Maybe Ralph knows some fox experts.

    2. I'm not surprised by swans eating ducklings. In nature there are no strict vegetarians. Everything eats what it needs and can get.