Monday, 2 July 2018

The Great Crested Grebes from the reed bed on the Long Water came over to Peter Pan. I could only see one chick.

The other three chicks on the Long Water were clamouring for fish.

The two teenagers on the Serpentine were both fishing for themselves. I didn't see either catch any. At this time they have to work hard and learn fast to stay alive.

There has been no sign of the Moorhen chicks in the Italian Garden for a while, but today one emerged from a clump of plants and started foraging in the water weed. It's odd how, when they are young, they have almost black feathers and red and yellow bills like adults, but later go a drab brown and lose all their bright colours and only regain them as adults.

The four youngest Mute Swan cygnets on the Serpentine had a vigorous wash and preen.

The three Mallard ducklings on the Serpentine have grown quickly, and are now strapping teenagers almost as big as their mother.

The Tufted Duck family had moved back to the island. Again, I'm putting up a rather uninteresting video because still photographs of rapidly diving ducklings don't work, and it shows that all six are still around.

A Grey Heron stood on the dead willow tree nest to the Italian Garden peering down at the thick mat of water weed and algae in the hope of finding a fish.

Algae have grown on the strands of weed, producing a strange coiled look.

The Great Tits at the leaf yard are still feeding their fledglings, whose begging calls could be heard in the back of the bushes.

The parents don't forget to feed themselves from time to time.

The male Little Owl at the leaf yard was in the upper of the two chestnut trees.

It was a good day for insects. A pair of Black-Tailed Skimmer dragonflies mated on a stem in the reed bed at the east end of the Serpentine.

Afterwards the female rested on another stem.

A female Emperor dragonfly laid eggs on a water lily in the Italian Garden.

Thistles flourish along the west side of the water, growing back even thicker after the gardeners blitzed the area a few months ago. They attracted a Small Skipper butterfly ...

... and a Gatekeeper.


  1. That's not a Meadow Brown, it's a Gatekeeper

  2. I really cannot tell butterflies apart. Brrr. It's much harder than IDing waders.

    Poor great tit looks frazzled and dishevelled. I would consider infanticide, but birds are made of sterner stuff.

    I suddenly realized that, much as I love stripy heads, I do not know which purpose the stripy design serves. Any theory? Is it camouflage, is it a way to be visible to parents?

    1. The Great Tits get their head feathers badly frayed by poking food down the throats of their ravenous young.

      The stripy heads of grebe chicks seem to be disruptive camouflage, like the dazzle paint on ships in the First World War. The result is that you don't (and a predator doesn't) see the shape of a small bird on the water.