Wednesday 22 July 2015

In the Coots' nest at the Serpentine outflow, the second egg is beginning to hatch, several days after the first. The eggshell is pushed in rather than out because the mother has been enlarging the hole after the chick first broke through from inside.

After I took this photograph the mother pushed the egg over so that the hole was at the side, then sat on it, so I couldn't get any pictures of further stages.

There are two Moorhen nests with chicks in the Italian Garden, both well hidden in clumps of plants and unphotographable.

Also in the Italian Garden, a winged ant was walking over the paving stones. I think this is a queen ant. They have wings only for one day of their lives -- and queens live for several years -- which they use on their nuptial flight and discard when they land. She has already shed the right pair and will soon lose the left one.

She was heading for an open gap between the stones, into which she disappeared to try to start a colony. She has mated with several males on her flight and will store the sperm for use in subsequent years. The males die immediately after mating.

This young Jay was in the leaf yard. It is still slightly fluffy and hasn't fully developed its adult black moustache.

The male Little Owl was in the maple tree with his owlets, but was alarmed by a Ring-Necked Parakeet landing next to him and flew over to last year's nest tree, where he disappeared into the hole. However, he soon came out and flew up to his favourite perch.

A Great Spotted Woodpecker landed on the broken top of the same tree.

One of the owlets, still in the maple, came out of cover and climbed around on the branches.

On a cloudy day, the Reed Warblers near the bridge stayed inside their reed bed. But there was a Dunnock hopping around in the grass.

There were several Blackbirds in the small rowan trees on the Vista, eating the unripe berries.

The ground is very hard after the dry weather, and they may be having trouble extracting worms. Rain is expected, so they should be all right soon and can abandon the berries until they are riper.

A mob of Black-Headed Gulls collected around someone feeding the birds on the edge of the Serpentine. They still have the brown heads of their breeding plumage. The one in the middle is a young one, still in its tweedy juvenile plumage.

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