Wednesday 31 August 2016

The female Kestrel sometimes seen on Buck Hill was there today, ranging over the long grass looking for worms and insects ...

... and perching in the trees.

The female Little Owl near the leaf yard also appeared in the afternoon.

The Black Swan and the adopted cygnet were in their usual place on the gravel bank. The Black Swan had found some leaves and sticks and was again building an imaginary nest with them.

This female Mute Swan with pale greyish-pink legs and a pinkish beak is a so-called 'Polish' swan. They are very conspicuous as cygnets because they are white instead of grey.

The deficiency in black pigment is sex-linked, and almost all 'Polish' swans are female. Birds have their sex chromosomes the other way round from ours: females are ZW and males are ZZ. The faulty gene is on the Z chromosome. If a male swan inherits a faulty Z, the other Z is likely to be all right and the swan will be a normal colour. It would have to have two faulty Zs to be pale, and this is very rare.

A Moorhen in the Italian Garden was feeding a tiny creature to a chick. It looks like a Daphnia, a little crustacean that is abundant in the fairly clean water of the lake.

In the same pond, and older sibling was finding its own food among the submerged algae.

One of the Moorhen chicks near the bridge was also foraging by itself. Their parents are still feeding them, but a bit extra is always welcome.

These Great Crested Grebe chicks on the Serpentine are still completely dependent on their parents for food, and were waiting for a fish to be brought.

The young Grey Heron at the Lido restaurant had eaten the last of a pigeon carcase left by the Lesser Black-Backed Gull, and was looking around for scraps left by diners.

The very large brood of Greylags on the Serpentine are now fully grown. The young ones can still be told from the adults by their orange, rather than pink, legs and by the absence of a white stripe down the side below their folded wings.

A Coal Tit was singing in the sunshine near the Italian Garden.

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