Tuesday, 2 July 2013

A drizzly day and not much to see. But a young Great Tit came to my hand for the first time this year instead of relying on its parents to bring food.

It took the young bird half a dozen tries before it managed to land on this unfamiliar thing. I was reminded of a trainee Navy fighter pilot trying to make his first carrier landing, and having to go round time and time again.

The Little Owl came out for a moment, decided he didn't like the weather, and went in again. I couldn't find any Tawny Owls, though I went round the usual trees.

A Mallard on the Long Water has two ducklings, no doubt the survivors of a much larger brood.

The Herring and Lesser Black-Backed Gulls which are present all year round on the lake have virtually stopped any ducks from reproducing. In past years a small handful of Mallards have got through, but it is several years since any Mandarins or Red-Crested Pochards managed to bring up any young. Common Pochards don't seem to breed on the lake at all, and who can blame them? And it is a decade since there were any Tufted ducklings, and in fact Tufted Ducks are getting fewer and fewer on the lake. None of these species is endangered, and they are doing perfectly well elsewhere in London, for example on the canals.

The only Great Crested Grebe chick on the lake at present is quite large now, and I would say that it has a better than even chance of growing up.

But the grebes are still trying hard, and with luck we should see more chicks soon, and when they arrive there should be enough small fish to feed them. But how late the fish are spawning. Yesterday there was a shoal of large bream at the Serpentine island whose bruised and battered appearance showed that they had just finished spawning. But the carp are ahead of them, and their fry are now almost an inch and a half long.

This Pied Wagtail and two chicks were running around at the east end of the Serpentine, but they move around a good deal and you can see them anywhere.

I haven't seen anything of the Grey Wagtails for a while. But there are only a few of these, so you only see them occasionally.

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