Friday 31 July 2015

The Great Crested Grebes' nest on the east side of the Long Water opposite the fallen horse chestnut tree seems to be hatching out. You can see that the sitting bird's wings are slightly raised, which means that there are chicks on its back.

The grebe family on the Serpentine are still at the east end of the island. They remain at least 50 yards from the shore, and this close-up shot comes thanks to the kindness of the people at Bluebird Boats, who treated me to a trip round the island.

The Coots' nest mysteriously sited in the middle of the Long Water has been occupied for a while now, and ought to be hatching.

The first nest attached to this underwater object, perhaps a fallen tree, was blown away by the wind, but this one seems much more securely fastened and has withstood several stormy days.

One of the Moorhen pair with chicks in the Italian Garden was climbing around in a patch of purple loosestrife.

The botanical name of this plant is Lythrum salicaria. However, its English name is a version of the name of another genus, Lysimachia, which means 'loose strife' or 'disperse the conflict' in Greek, and the two genera were not separated until quite recently. It is named in honour of Lysimachus, a king of ancient Sicily, who is said to have calmed a mad ox by feeding it with loosestrife. But clearly two derivations have become conflated here, as tends to happen in all languages.

Three Canada-Greylag hybrid geese have turned up on the Serpentine again. Over the past few years they have flown in from time to time, stayed a few weeks, and left again. There were four of them at their last visit; I haven't seen the fourth this time.

The geese on the lake are quite mobile, and often fly down to the river or up to Regent's Park. The last time I counted them there were 317 Canadas and 216 Greylags, considerably more than usual at this time of year.

The Reed Warbler family were flying all over the reed bed near the bridge.

On the ground underneath, a Blackbird was looking fine in the sunlight as he poked around under dead leaves.

The Little Owls were moving around restlessly. Here is the male adult at the top of last year's nest tree ...

... and here is one of the young ones, in the same tree.

The other owlet could be heard calling from this year's nest tree, which is reassuring as I hadn't seen more than one for some time.

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