Saturday, 30 August 2014

The male Little Owl reappeared after being out of sight for several days. He was in the same chestnut tree as usual but on the other side of it, and hard to see among the leaves. He may have been using this perch unobserved for a while.

All four Hobbies were visible from time to time. This is one of the two young ones, as you can see from the fact that its underside is pale, without the red area around the legs that marks an adult Hobby. As usual, it was in a plane tree near the Physical Energy statue.

I was told that they had again been seen eating a Ring-Necked Parakeet, but don't have a picture of this.

These two Great Crested Grebe chicks were with their father in a bush opposite Peter Pan.

Their mother was fishing for them on the near side of the lake, near the deserted Coots' nest. Without even diving, she reached into the twigs at the base of the nest and pulled out a large fish. It was too large for the chicks, of course, and even she had to make an effort to swallow it.

The Tufted duckling was still with its Mallard stepmother among the floating baskets at the east end of the Serpentine.

It is looking rather lanky now, but I still think it is a Tufted Duck. This chocolate colour would be most unusual for a Mallard duckling. And its brown eyes are quite normal for a Tufted Duck at this age; they don't turn yellow till later.

A Pochard drake was preening on the Serpentine, displaying a fine bright red eye. Only male Pochards have red eyes, whereas with Tufted Ducks, which are closely related, both sexes have yellow eyes.

This Lesser Black-Backed Gull is the male of the pigeon-eating pair, distinguished by his large size and very bright custard-yellow legs. Some people were feeding pigeons on the edge of the Serpentine when he rushed in and I thought he was going to try to catch a pigeon. But in fact he emerged holding a madeleine.

(If you want a Proust joke here you can make it up yourself.)

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