Sunday, 9 July 2017

We haven't seen the two Mandarin ducklings for some time, but I think this is one of them -- now almost adult but still with a slightly juvenile look, and with flight feathers not yet quite full length. It was on the Serpentine near the Lido.

The Mallard at Peter Pan still has her two ducklings.

Both families of Great Crested Grebes are in good order. This is the one on the Serpentine. The chicks have now grown to a size where only one of them can ride on its father's back.

Their mother arrived with a fish for one of the chicks.

The homeless pair of grebes on the Serpentine still haven't found a place to nest. They were consoling themselves by displaying near the bridge.

Then one of them had a vigorous wash. Sorry about the low quality of the video. The ripples on the lake took up so much bandwidth that the images have become pixelated.

When you start feeding Canada Geese they won't let you alone, especially if there is a family with hungry growing goslings.

Greylags are much more subtle. They just look at you with their gentle brown eyes until you have to give them some of your sandwich.

The Black Swan was preening the top of his neck, something you can only do if you have more than 22 cervical vertebrae. Apparently swans have 22 to 25 -- I couldn't find more detailed information.

I spoke with Jorgen about the Black Swan's changed behaviour when he returned. We are both certain that he is the same bird we had here before, but he is now much less aggressive and integrates better with the Mute Swans, and is also less interested in humans. Jorgen thinks that when he was up the river he was much more exposed to swan society, and learned the rules. When he first arrived on the lake he was only a year old, in his first set of black feathers -- this could be told because he had black-tipped secondary feathers, and now they are all white.

The park was extremely full on a hot Sunday with a concert coming up, and there were so many people on near the Lido restaurant that the pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull couldn't get ashore. He stared resentfully at the crowd.

A Wood Pigeon cooled off with a drink at the top of the Dell waterfall.

The female Little Owl near the leaf yard was on her favourite branch, preening a large wing.

I heard a Little Owl calling in a big oak tree 40 yards southwest of the tree where the Albert Memorial owls used to be, but couldn't see it in the dense leaves.

This isn't a good photograph, but it's quite an interesting one: a pair of Emperor dragonflies in their whirling nuptial dance. The female is the one with the curled-up abdomen. The picture was taken in the usual place for Emperors, under the parapet of the Italian Garden.

A Small White butterfly drank nectar from a thistle with its long proboscis.


  1. Pigeon killer would no doubt have a go at the concert goers if it only could, given its look.

    Our Black Swan has matured, then. He was in the first flush of vigorous youth, and apparently he has mellowed out. Nothing gold can stay.

    We were attacked by a party of sundry Geese once. There were signs everywhere warning that feeding the waterfowl was on our peril. We of course disregarded the signs and all but had to run for our lives, or at least freedom to take a step unecumbered.

  2. Canada Geese in the wilder places of North America are said to be quite ferocious if they think you have food. Obviously not life-threatening, but one would rather not be incessantly pecked by hundreds of very large birds.