Saturday 9 May 2015

The House Martins at the two embassies in Knightsbridge were busy refurbishing last year's nests. Thanks to the plaster roses on the bottom of the cornices there is not much building to do, but it is noticeable that they prefer the Kuwaiti embassy, where their old nests have been intact for years, to the French embassy, where the nests were destroyed by builders a few years ago.

Here one of the birds is pushing a lump of mud into place to strengthen the nest. The recent rain has left plenty of wet mud of their preferred consistency.

And here it drops out of the hole, ready to fetch more mud with perhaps an insect snack on the way.

There were at least 50 Swifts over the Round Pond, some of them skimming the surface to catch low-flying insects.

The Mandarin drakes on the Long Water are hanging around while their mates are nesting, and passing the time by bickering. The one in the front has jumped off a post almost on top of the other, which led to a bout of chasing.

The Grey Heron at the Dell restaurant was in the reeds on one of the rafts, and climbed the fence to launch another raid on the outside tables.

At the Lido restaurant, someone had left their cake unattended for a few seconds, and a Starling saw its chance.

The Little Owls are getting quite hard to see among the leaves on their chestnut tree. This is the male.

When the leaves grow some more he should be easy to see again, because he will come out and perch on a branch. Little Owls like places where they can see what's happening on the ground, where there might be a beetle to catch. This means that you can look up and see them.

The ceanothus bush behind the Lido continues to attract bees of many kinds. This is a honeybee.

While I was trying to see the Cetti's Warbler, unsuccessfully as usual, a Peacock butterfly flew past and landed on a bluebell.


  1. Gorgeous colours in that last shot. The violet-indigo of true English bluebells is uniquely lovely.

    I've been to Henley on Thames to see some swans nesting on the slipway right in the middle of town. A protective fence and cones have been thrown up around the nest to protect it from disturbance, and I do hope that the parents manage to hatch the eggs successfully. Usually an ice-cream van parks there - not this year I fancy!

    1. I don't think they will be troubled by people buying ice cream. But come the night, cones don't stop foxes.

    2. Yes. Some Canada Geese I saw had a much better idea. There are some small islands in the Thames at Henley, and they had picked a fenced grassed plot on one of those and built a beautiful feather lined nest there. Unless foxes are determined swimmers, which they might be I suppose, their nest would be completely safe from predators.