Tuesday 22 July 2014

The Wood Pigeons are still stuffing themselves with unripe elderberries, and were climbing about enthusiastically and hanging upside down to reach them. It is hard to understand why they should want to eat berries in this sour and rock-hard state, but as you can see they have finished half of them already.

A Greylag Goose was also eating berries. It had just eaten some grit off the path beside the Serpentine, as birds do to replenish the grinding stones in their gizzard, and maybe the soft, juicy berries helped the stones to go down.

A few yards along the path, a Mallard had four ducklings. It is a dangerously exposed position, since there are quite a few big gulls on the Serpentine. She would have been better off on the other side of the bridge, where nearly all the gulls are Black-Headed Gulls, too small to be a threat to ducklings.

One of the young Grey Wagtails was back in its usual place at the east end of the Serpentine, hunting insects in the algae.

One of the young Tawny Owls was in the same tree as yesterday, but all you could see through the leaves was a pair of dark eyes staring intently down.

The male Little Owl was in his usual chestnut tree, though he had chosen a different branch with a spider's web in it. I wondered whether he intended to take trapped insects out of it, but either they were too small for him to bother with or there weren't any, as the web remained intact.

After yesterday's female Emperor dragonfly, here is a good picture of a male one, taken by Mike Meilack a few minutes later.

These are the largest British dragonflies, over 3 inches long. Today there were several hunting over the ponds in the Italian Garden, and more on the lake below.

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