Tuesday 1 August 2017

The Grey Heron at the Dell is equally at home hunting fish in the little stream and begging for food at the restaurant. Where the Moorhen is standing, there used to be a nest. Maybe the heron has something to do with its disappearance.

At the Dell restaurant, the heron prowled stealthily along the edge of the terrace, equally alert for fish in the murky water and for food from the diners.

The number of Cormorants on the lake is increasing as this year's young fish grow larger. There were three on the posts near Peter Pan, with another two out on the Long Water.

A Mandarin drake perched in a tree at Peter Pan. It's the same one I photographed two days ago, with a couple of red feathers from his breeding plumage still on his neck. He won't get new ones till winter.

The Black Swan was cruising near the bridge, graciously accepting food from passers by. He was quite near the Mute Swans with cygnets, but this time was not chased off.

This Canada Goose with a very speckled head might be taken for a hybrid, but I think it's a pure-bred Canada that just happens to be partly leucistic. Canada--Greylag hybrids are not fertile, so all the hybrids are first-generation crosses.

As we have seen from Coots' very badly sited nests, these birds are not good at forward planning. Nevertheless, this family at the island seemed to be having a conference about something.

We haven't seen much of the notorious Lesser Black-Backed Gull's mate recently, and she may have been nesting. Today she was on the Dell restaurant roof by herself, and had evidently been well fed because she showed no desire to drive away a Carrion Crow ...

... which was finishing off the latest pigeon on the shore below.

One of the pair of Coal Tits in the Rose Garden came down to the feeder.

A male Rose-Ringed Parakeet beside the Long Water held a bramble twig steady with his foot so that he could bite off a blackberry.

The female Little Owl at the leaf yard was in an awkward place in her chestnut tree, and I could only get a distant picture.

There are still some Black-Tailed Skimmer dragonflies near the end of their long season which starts in May. This one has lost much of the dusty blue coat on its abdomen, perhaps washed off the recent heavy rain. (This dust on male dragonflies is called 'pruination'.)

Here is a very symmetrical fairy ring at the Round Pond. The Fairy Ring mushroom (Marasmius oreades) kills the grass under it, but when it rots away it re-fertilises the grass, so as the ring spreads outwards it leaves an inner ring of darker, healthier grass.

Eleanor took this picture of what seemed to be a small safari in the North Flower Walk. They started crashing about in the bushes. Probably they were catching insects for a survey.


  1. The Black Swan is royalty born and bred. He knows how to take things graciously!

    Does the Heron at the Dell flee if diners fling food scraps to it? Or does it come to be fed? I just cannot get over how supernaturally tame Herons are over there.

    Conferencing Coots. Nothing good (or at least sensible) can come out of it. Knowing them as we do, the likeliest possibility is that they are plotting for world domination.

  2. The Dell Grey Heron is used to having food thrown to it. This is the heron that was rescued when it got a bit of plastic mesh stuck on its bill. It was enticed by flinging bits of raw chicken at it until it came close enough to catch in a landing net. However, it hasn't yet reached the confidence of the previous heron at the Dell restaurant, which would land on people's tables and grab food off their plates.

    Perhaps Coots have already achieved world domination. That would explain a lot.

  3. Do you think that the black swan is looking for another cygnet companion?

  4. The immature gull between the Cormorants on the posts near Peter Pan seems to be long-legged, long-winged and slim like a Caspian Gull (juvenile Caspian Gulls arrive in England in July). Do you remember this individual, Ralph?

    1. It's perfectly possible. But that photograph was taken with the bridge camera to get greater depth of focus, so I can't blow it up to see fine detail as I would if I'd been using the SLR. Will keep an eye out and try to get a better picture.