Saturday, 25 August 2012

A dark, threatening day, and I only had time for a brief rush round the lake before the rain started sheeting down, so sorry for today's rather dull photographs. But it was long enough to see that the Mute Swans from the Lido with their seven cygnets have returned, a welcome sight. They are almost fully grown but have not completely developed their wings, so it will be a little while before we see them rushing up the lake together trying to get airborne.

The family of Great Crested Grebes from the nest on the Long Water near the bridge have ventured under the arches on to the Serpentine. Here are three of the chicks. The picture shows how effective their camouflage is: the combination of dazzle-striped heads and necks and the low grey outline of the body does not look like the outline of a bird at all, more like two different things that just happen to be next to each other.

Here a skein of Greylag Geese returns from the Round Pond. It has taken a while for the geese to readjust to the lake being open and unobstructed once more.

In Kensington Gardens during a brief sunny interval, for some reason both a Nuthatch and a Coal Tit started singing.

Yesterday I went up the Edgware Road to look at the Peregrine Falcons on the Hilton Metropole hotel; the female was perched on her high ledge. There is about an even chance of seeing at least one of these splendid birds on any day. But they are much too high up their tall tower to make even a halfway decent photograph.

The expedition took me up the Parade Ground to Marble Arch. The huge area covered by the London Live enclosure has been completely devastated, with many acres of ground thickly covered with wood chippings preventing any return of grass without completely razing the surface and spreading hundreds of tons of topsoil to start again from scratch. This is the worst damage to the park I have ever seen in a long lifetime.

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