Friday 23 August 2013

Four Hobbies -- two adults and two young -- were ranging widely over Kensington Gardens, calling loudly and constantly so that even people with no interest in birds were looking up to see what the noise was. This fine picture of two of them was taken by Paul Turner.

The Great Crested Grebe family, disturbed from their normal place next to the island by the arrival of a mob of Cormorants, were out in the open lake, with the chicks running after their parents. Here their mother has caught a substantial fish, which the small young bird had no difficulty in swallowing.

Several broods of Egyptian Geese have now fully grown their flight feathers. None of them has the twisted 'angel wing' that has affected this species in the park since they arrived. This may be pure chance, but I wonder whether the mutation is being bred out of the park birds by natural selection: few affected birds seem to survive more than a year, and I haven't seen any of them breeding. The deformity is said to be spread by inbreeding, but by now there are a lot of Egyptians in central London flying around and spreading a good mix of genes.

This is one of the second brood of Moorhens on the Italian Garden pond. It is racing nimbly along the top of the wire netting for no other reason than because it can.  Note how the claws on its back foot are hooked around the wire.

Moorhens are hatched with long, strong legs which look as if they could never fit into the egg, and can run like the wind as soon as they emerge.

Here is a Brimstone butterfly (Goneopteryx rhamni) perched on a bright yellow anemone (A. ranunculoides) which completely eclipses the yellow of its wings. As usual, it annoyingly folded its wings every time it settled. For some reason, only the red-and-brown butterflies seem to spread their wings when resting.

Male Brimstones -- and this is a male -- are yellow, and females are a very pale yellow and often look white and are mistaken for Cabbage Whites.

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