Tuesday, 4 July 2017

The Great Crested Grebe chicks at the island were dumped off their father's back so that he could do a bit of preening.

Five minutes later they had all climbed back on.

The other pair of grebes who had tried to nest on the island were hanging around by some moored pedalos, unable to get nearer.

They gave up here, and went to the west end of the Serpentine to try and get under the bridge on to the Long Water. But just the other side of the bridge, one of the resident pair was waiting under a willow tree to repel them. When they tried to sneak past, there was another nasty surprise for them as they were attacked by a Coot.

The other pair of grebes on the Long Water are still waiting for their second clutch of eggs to hatch. Here one of them has just got on to the nest to relieve its mate, and is turning the eggs over. The much larger and stronger nest of a Coot is in the background.

Every year a pair of Coots build a nest at the top of the weir where the water flows out of the Serpentine. And every year the chicks get washed over the weir and are lost, because they can't climb back up. But, with the insane obstinacy of Coots, they keep trying.

Another example of persistence is the Coot nest in the middle of the Long Water, which has been occupied for months with no visible result. It seems that any chicks that hatch are instantly seized by gulls, or possibly that the gulls don't even wait for chicks, and seize the eggs.

The Moorhens in the Italian Garden have also lost all their chicks, and are building a new nest in one of the clumps of water plants.

One duckboard in one of the ponds is where the Feral Pigeons go to bathe. There's only room on the board for one to bathe at once, so they have to queue and wait their turn.

The Black Swan was cruising around near the Dell restaurant.

Near the landing stage at the Diana fountain, this year's solitary young Grey Heron was waiting for a fish. It was standing right next to an adult, but there was none of the usual conflict that occurs when herons get too close to each other. Maybe it was tolerated because it was juvenile, or because the adult is one of its parents.

The female Little Owl at the leaf yard was on her favourite branch.

A female Emperor dragonfly was laying eggs on a floating reed stem under the parapet of the Italian Garden.

These may be the rarest birds in London. The allotment in Kensington Gardens has a few large and stately chickens of various breeds.


  1. Bathing pigeons , and chickens. Lovely, thank you. (not being sarky!)

    1. Who needs albatrosses when you've got chickens?

  2. That Coot scrambled like an interceptor aircraft. Poor Grebes, they really look startled.

    Those are very fine chickens! We used to have them when I was little, small stroppy Spanish chickens. I still miss them a lot (nasty brutish things that they can be, but still). What other birds are there in the allotment?

    1. They only keep chickens and grow vegetables there. It's supposed to be a model allotment to show what can be done, and to educate children.