Monday, 23 April 2018

The new metal barriers in the Italian Garden ponds, which were probably meant to stop Coots from nesting and ripping up the plants, have as usual proved no obstacle. The Coots just dive under them.

There are two pairs of Moorhens nesting in the trees near the bridge -- or at least trying to nest. This pair started a nest here a few weeks ago but couldn't make it stick. It seems unlikely they'll succeed this time.

In the same place, by squatting down and shooting through the railings, it's just possible to get a very obstructed picture of the Great Crested Grebes' nest in the oak tree.

On the island, a Mute Swan preened above the grebes' nest.

The nesting Grey Heron is almost always standing in the nest when I see her. She does seem to be sitting on eggs ...

... but is uncomfortable and restless and keeps getting up and turning them.

A heron at Peter Pan looked up expectantly at someone feeding the ducks.

This one had got into deep water near the bridge. It was nearly afloat.

A Grey Wagtail looked for insects in a patch of slime near the Lido, probably quite a productive place.

There was a brief glimpse a few House Martins flying over the bridge.

A Magpie in a treetop overlooking the Dell displayed and called to its mate ...

... which was some distance away, invisible in a large messy nest, but called back.

This Jay is now always waiting for me when I come under the bridge. It will fly down and take a peanut from my hand.

Several Carrion Crows seemed to have found some interesting titbits in the border of the shrubbery here. I've never seen them foraging here before. Perhaps there has been a new hatching of insect larvae here.

A Mistle Thrush foraged in the grass near the Dell, but it was a Song Thrush that first found a worm. Sorry about the shaky video at the end -- it was shot at extreme range.

A Blue Tit looked out expectantly between the new leaves.

A Great Tit called to make sure I didn't overlook it.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

The pair of Great Crested Grebes in the oak tree near the bridge were mating. They can only be viewed from the bridge because they are screened from the path by a thick branch.

The sitting grebe on the nest at the island was doing nothing, but it's good to know they are still there.

A Coot stood its ground as a Grey Heron stalked towards its nest. It would be in danger if there were already chicks in the nest, but it's too early for that.

Another brought a long twig, a strip of plastic and some algae to the nest on the buoys at the Lido.

This one dragged a heavy stick to the nest hopelessly situated on the edge of the Lido restaurant terrace. It gives you an idea of how they might have built the enormous nest of large sticks at the other restaurant.

Coots are not much given to displays of affection, but at least they can eat their mate's parasites.

A Moorhen carried a twig to its mysteriously hidden nest in the willow tree next to the bridge.

Both the Grey Herons on the island were at their nest.

The Mute Swans rashly nesting at the edge of the water where the fox likes to sunbathe are still getting away with it -- but for how long?

A Jay waited to be fed in a tree near the bridge.

On a hot day with plenty of insects, the small birds were mostly out of sight attending to their business in the bushes. But a Coal Tit came to a feeder in the Rose Garden.

A pair of Long-Tailed Tits were flitting around in a tree beside the Serpentine .

And a Goldcrest sang in the Dell.

The first Comma butterfly I've seen this year flew along the edge of the Long Water.

This unremarkable clip is uploaded for the benefit of the park manager who told Virginia that Blackbirds don't forage in grass.

Oak flowers are unobtrusive but rather pretty.

Saturday, 21 April 2018

One of the Great Crested Grebes nesting on the Serpentine island was peacefully turning over the eggs on its nest ...

... when a deafening cannon salute was fired a short distance away. Both birds became very agitated and hastily covered up the eggs to protect them from whatever was making the terrible noise.

The Grey Heron in the nest above them was also alarmed.

The grebes nesting in the oak tree near the bridge have made their nest twice already, then given up and let it fall to bits. Now they are trying to nest for the third time.

The one not on the nest was preening, here seen from the high parapet of the Serpentine bridge.

Under the Dell restaurant balcony, a Coot rearranged its nest of very large twigs resting on the floor of the lake in almost two feet of water. We've looked at this nest before, but I'm still baffled by how the Coots managed to find and move the waterlogged and non-floating branches at the bottom.

This Coot at Peter Pan did not move the large branch. It fell off the Lombardy poplar tree that overhangs the lake, and lodged on the chain.

There were four ducks in the Little Owls' tree near the Albert Memorial: a pair of Mallards which have been hanging around there for some time, and two Mandarin drakes from the adjoining plane tree where a female is nesting.

The pair of Nuthatches in the leaf yard are also thinking of nesting. The female was in the shadows uttering plaintive cries and fluttering her wings to get her mate to feed her ...

... while he came out and collected pine nuts from my hand. This ritual convinces the female that her mate will feed her when she is on the nest.

A Jackdaw was expecting to be fed.

So was a Starling, but I don't feed them because, once you start feeding Starlings, they will chase you for ever and it will be impossible to feed the smaller birds. They get a fair amount by picking up spilt food from the ground.

A pair of Great Tits perched side by side on the edge of the Long Water.

a Blackcap sang nearby.

Friday, 20 April 2018

The most remarkable sight of the day was not of a bird. The first Holly Blue butterfly I've seen this year was flying around the terrace of the Lido restaurant, and settled on the arm of a man who was eating at one of the tables. It stayed there for almost a minute.

Another sighting: yesterday the first House Martins were reported flying over the Serpentine. I went to see if any had arrived at their nest sites on the Kuwaiti Embassy: not yet. They will need a bit of rain before they can nest, so they can have some mud to repair last year's nests.

The behaviour of the Grey Herons in the nest on the island is puzzling. They are usually together on the nest, and one of them is looking down into it.

This is the behaviour you would expect if they had recently hatched chicks. But they don't seem to have had time to produce these since they reoccupied the nest. It is possible that a heron was sitting on eggs very low in the nest and I didn't notice it, but this seems unlikely, as the sides of the nest are not veru high and usually you can see the back of a sitting bird. Anyway, we just have to wait and see.

There's another Coots' nest on the net at the east end of the Lido, this time built on the outside of the net as there is no hole for the Coots to get through. This at least protects it from the Grey Heron.

Yet another nest in an impossible place, on the edge of the Lido restaurant terrace.

The nest built directly on the bottom of the lake still doesn't have any eggs in it. The whole structure trembles when the Coot preens.

Nor, it seems, does the Moorhens' nest on the rock in the Dell. The pair here have bred successfully every year for some time.

Everything is fine on the Great Crested Grebes' nest on the island, where we know there are four eggs.

A Mandarin drake shone brilliantly as he turned around at the Vista.

The Mandarin drakes and the Coots at Peter Pan were each having private disputes. Perhaps the Mandarins set the Coots off, as the slightest disturbance can start these irritable birds fighting.

At the Mandarins' nest in the plane tree near the Albert Memorial, two drakes were on guard.

The moment of peace didn't last, and they started chasing each other.

There was no sign of the Little Owls in the next tree, nor of the ones at the leaf yard, in spite of the warm sunshine. With luck this means that both females are nesting.

Two of the Canada--Greylag hybrid geese were dozing on the edge of the Serpentine.

A Robin beside the Long Water came out to be fed. This is one of a pair, and probably the other is nesting in the brambles.

A Long-Tailed Tit in the Dell was feeling the heat, and panting to cool itself.

We haven't seen much of the Jays recently, but today one came out to be fed.

A Jackdaw on a branch expertly shelled a peanut.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

A Blackbird lazily answered a persistently singing Robin, but when a Wren joined in he gave up and flew away.

The white-faced Blackbird collected her daily treat of sultanas. She only takes some of them, and will come back later for the rest if the pigeons don't get them first.

The female Little Owl was out on the chestnut tree near the leaf yard.

A Blackcap sang in the same tree. It's hard getting a video of one. They are shy and move around constantly.

There's a pair of Dunnocks in the leaf yard. One hopped around in the shadows under the bushes.

A pair of Long-Tailed Tits flew around among the new leaves.

A Feral Pigeon sunbathed in the Dell.

It was a work experience day for another lot of bankers. They raked cut grass listlessly in the hot sunshine while the shire horses and their drivers took it easy.

The Great Crested Grebes on the stolen Coots' nest displayed affectionately.

There's a Coots' nest just along the bank of the island. Probably it was built by the pair of Coots evicted by the grebes.

It was time for the Coots on the post near the bridge to change places on the nest. Both parents take turns to incubate the eggs.

We haven't seen much of the Mandarins recently, but there was a drake at the Vista.

The little group of Red-Crested Pochards is still on the Serpentine.

A pair of Tufted Ducks dived at the edge. The white sides of the drakes make them easy to see under water.

The Mute Swans nesting at the Lido restaurant terrace have been given a temporary fence to protect them from people poking camera in their faces. It also shades them from the sun.

A Grey Heron was fishing in the wire baskets near the bridge. These baskets serve as fish hatcheries, but I shouldn't think the new fish fry were large enough to interest them. They must be trying to spear adult fish through the mesh.