Friday, 14 July 2017

The Great Crested Grebes nesting in the fallen poplar tree near the Vista have hatched the first chick of their second brood. Here the father is sitting on the nest, and the mother brings a small fish for the chick. The fish may have been a bit large -- not sure whether the chick managed to swallow it.

A Great Crested Grebe fishing in the shallow water at the edge of the Serpentine. This requires a different technique from the usual dive: paddling along withe head submerged to see the fish, and then a splashy shallow dive. As you can see, it works well.

The grebes from the island nest were out on the Serpentine with their three chicks.

But, as I suspected, their nest has been occupied by another pair of grebes -- not, I think, the ones from the east end of the lake. The sitting bird was rather shy, unlike the previous occupants, and got off the nest when we approached and lurked in the bushes waiting for us to go away, which we did quickly to avoid the eggs getting cold.

There is one egg in the nest so far, originally white but stained brown by soggy weed. Thanks again to Bluebird Boats for taking me out to see the nest.

The Coot on the nest on the basket near the bridge can't stop messing about with twigs even when she has a chick under her wing.

After yesterday's video of the Black Swan being repeatedly chased away, here is a picture of him shooing off a couple of Mute Swans.

There are two broods of Egyptian Geese at the Round Pond: this one of six half-grown goslings and another of two slightly younger ones.

There was also this pale Greylag Goose. At first I thought it was the blue-eyed one from the Serpentine, but it isn't -- it has normal brown eyes. Normally leucistic birds have normal-coloured eyes, so it's the other one that's more unusual.

Young Starlings chased a parent all round the terrace of the Dell restaurant and were fed bits of what was probably pitta bread.

The female Little Owl at the leaf yard was on her usual branch, though she went in later when the wind got up.

A Jay fed one of its two young with a peanut in the leaf yard.

This Jay was on the house opposite my flat, the first time I have ever seen a Jay in my street.  It was looking down hungrily at a young Goldfinch inside a potted bush on a balcony. Sensibly the Goldfinch and its parent flew away.

A Speckled Wood butterfly perched on a stem beside the Long Water.

A Honeybee collected nectar from a cornflower behind the Lido.


  1. I don't think I have ever seen an urban (that is, not park-dwelling) Jay before. It must have been startling. It behaves rather like a magpie in this case, doesn't it? Perching on balconies and looking down for easy food. Azure-winged magpies do the same in the buildings in front of my window.

    I have watched the Grebes video a couple of times and still can't tell if the chick ate the fish or not. The mother looked very fidgety.

    Great to see the Black Swan back to its usual vandal self!

    1. On closer study, the Vandals turn out not to be too bad, and the Visigoths are quite sweet. But if there are Huns about, you should ensure that there is at least one mountain range, preferably two, between you and them. To paraphrase Ammianus,

      Aye, they are more like beasts than human folk,
      Squat and thickset, their cheeks all scarred with gashes;
      They do eat naught but th’ roots o’ some wild plants
      And meat from any creature they can kill,
      Which they set underneath their horses’ saddles
      Till it be warm; they know not th’ art of cooking.
      Their garments are made out o’ th’ skins of fieldmice,
      And houses have they none, not e’en a shelter,
      But travel constantly, sleeping i’ their carts
      Amid the northern winter’s killing frosts.
      They are the filthiest of any folk
      That I have seen, surpassing e’en the Goths,
      And the most violent, for one golden piece
      Or a hot word will start a fight t’ th’ death.

  2. Is that paraphrasis your own composition? Every reader should be aware of your talents for poetic composition (I was going to say 'versification', but I'm not sure if it carries the same negative nuance as in Spanish versificador vs. poeta), of which we have sadly only occasional proof.

    Funnily enough, Tolkien modelled the physical appearance of his orcs on the Huns. He even said as much in his letters.

    Vandals actually gave their name to Andalucía!

    1. Yes, the lines are from a silly mock-Elizabethan play I wrote. It's here. And yes, the words 'versifier' and 'versification' have the same belittling sense in English as they do in Spanish. But I wouldn't set myself above that level.

    2. This is one of the few times in which I cannot agree with you. You are a delightful writer in all venues, and from what I have read of Tilda you have an excellent ear for rhythm and sound (as far a as foreigner can tell). Besides a killer instinct for parody!

      Loved to see Spanish heroine Agustina de Aragón on p. 112.

    3. Thank you. I had to steal Agustina's picture, because images of a woman firing a cannon are few and far between.