Monday, 20 August 2012

The dreaded pigeon-eating gull on the Serpentine had struck again. But this time it was sharing its prey with another, slightly smaller Lesser Black-Backed Gull -- the one farther from the camera. Can they be mates? I did see this gull sharing with another last year, but the guest was not the same as this one since it was exactly the same colour as the killer, and this one is a slightly lighter grey.

The black and white Mallard, which has been inseparable from a light-coloured male Mallard for several months, is showing a bit of green on its head as its new feathers grow, and under the black speckling its beak has traces of yellow. I had assumed that this duck was female, but it's looking like a male now. Well, I'm sure it won't spoil a beautiful friendship. The duck's unusual white-tipped primaries make it easy to see how far its new wing feathers have grown: probably not enough to fly yet. Its companion now has fully grown feathers with the tips crossing above its tail.

In the Olympic enclosure, a male Common Pochard was elaborately preening its fine new feathers. Here it gives its wings a shake to settle the feathers down in their right places.

And here a bee gathers nectar from a lavender flower. Honey gathered entirely from lavender flowers is a speciality of Provence and tastes much as you would expect -- rather odd. But this bee will have plenty of variety in its expeditions. The enterprising keepers of Regent's Park have beehives and sell their honey.

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