Wednesday 27 June 2012

There is another brood of Red Crested Pochards on the Long Water, the second this year. Only small numbers of these birds breed in this country, and the London parks are among the most prolific breeding sites. Sadly, when I photographed them one of the ducklings was in the last few seconds of its life, as it was seized by one of the gang of three Lesser Black-Backed Gulls, borne away and swallowed at a single gulp.

Surprisingly, the two broods of six and four Mallard ducklings were still intact. Their mothers are keeping them well under the bushes, perhaps having learnt from bitter experience what happens when you go out into the middle of the lake.

A Blackbird in the leaf yard had added some fine imitations of Nuthatch and Chaffinch song to his repertoire. Not far away, another Blackbird was doing Song Thrush impressions. The imitations come in the second half of each phrase, after a purely Blackbird opening -- but even the opening is different every time, as these inventive musicians never repeat themselves.

The Reed Warbler at the bottom end of the Serpentine was still singing, in exactly the same place as yesterday. I didn't hear the Reed Warbler in the reeds near the bridge, but there was a pair of Common Blue Damselflies mating. The male is the blue one on the left.

There are more and more Wood Pigeons in the park. Elizabeth saw a flock of 50 a few days ago.

As I was coming home past the Round Pond, I saw some people feeding the birds on the edge of the water: a few of the pond's 60-odd Mute Swans, a Canada Goose, about 200 Starlings and the inevitable pigeons. Then three young thugs turned up and started running at the birds and trying to kick them. Amazingly, at this moment a police van raced up and two policemen leapt out and seized them, actually putting them in handcuffs, and within half a minute another car turned up with two policewomen. I watched this spectacle with a certain vengeful enjoyment.

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