Friday 25 July 2014

The Common Terns are still flying around the lake catching fish for the family. Here is one of the adults taking time off to preen its wings.

Since terns are only occasional visitors, I haven't had a chance to see the young ones learning the considerable skill of fishing from the air. They must follow and try to copy the adults, but it can't be easy plunging head first into the water from a height of thirty feet and grabbing the fish at the end of it. Seeing fish at all in the murky lake is not easy either. Terns save themselves trouble by shadowing the Great Crested Grebes, which know exactly where the fish are because they look for them underwater.

There is a new brood of six Mallard ducklings on the Serpentine near the small boat houses.

I was doing my monthly bird count today and noticed that the number of Herring Gulls and Lesser Black-Backed Gulls was unusually low, which is good news for the young birds.

Duckweed has started to appear on the ponds in the Italian Gardens, probably brought it on the feet of visiting ducks. The small green leaves can grow into a continuous mat all over still water, as has happened on the little pond in front of the relief of Rima in Hyde Park. But the Mallards are fond of duckweed and will eat it as fast as it grows.

On the same pond, one of the teenage Moorhens was shaking out its newly grown flight feathers. I don't think it can quite fly yet.

One of the Tawny Owlets was in the usual chestnut tree near the leaf yard. It is probably the same one every time, and the other two are in another tree that no one has found.

The male Little Owl was sheltering from a thunderstorm under the thick canopy of the chestnut tree next to the nest tree, and passing the time by preening.

A clump of eryngium next to the Dell restaurant had attracted some bumble bees.

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