Sunday, 21 July 2013

The House Martins on the embassies in Knightsbridge are still busily visiting their nests. This nest had two parents flying in and out alternately every minute, which suggests that the chicks are quite large and will be flying soon.

The Mallard in the Italian Gardens pond still has her four ducklings. Here they are playing among the water lilies.

This willow tree across the Long Water from Peter Pan has Moorhens constantly climbing up and down a diagonal branch. Evidently there is a nest at the top, about 20 ft above the ground. Here one of the birds flies off the bottom end of the branch.

There is also often a Grey Heron in the same tree, probably with designs on the Moorhen chicks. But I don't see how it can possibly get at them: herons can perch on trees but not climb about inside them. It will be quite difficult for the chicks to emerge when the time comes, as they will have to bounce down the branches inside the tree somehow, and won't be able to return to the nest. However, these very small birds should be able to fall any distance uninjured, even if they hit a branch on the way down.

Here one of the young Greylag Geese tries to pull down the netting around a reed bed so that it can get to the lush blades of reeds and grass inside.

The geese must be getting tired of trying to feed on the dry yellow grass parched by the recent hot weather. I pulled out some fresh grass from the net for them, and the young birds ate it with gusto.

I saw an odd incident at the east end of the Serpentine. I was looking at a juvenile Lesser Black-Backed Gull chasing a parent around screaming for food. They didn't come close enough for a good picture. But as I watched, the juvenile bird came down on the shore on the opposite side of the lake, and started rolling around on the ground as if it were injured or struggling. I hurried round to find what was wrong. By the time I arrived the gull was standing up normally. I met a worried man who said that a woman had told him that the bird had a broken leg, and he wanted to telephone for help. But at that moment the gull trotted along the ground with a perfectly normal gait, took off, and went back to harrying its parent. I can't think what it was doing when it landed. Could it have had a bit of string wrapped round its leg which it was shaking off?


  1. Great pictures of House Martins and Mallard chicks! Well done.

  2. Maybe it had been stung by an insect, or perhaps just attempting to gain it's parent's attention.