Friday, 27 July 2018

The mother of the six Tufted ducklings on the Serpentine attacked a young Herring Gull that had got too close. Thanks to Virginia for this dramatic picture.

Virginia reports that a Grey Heron has eaten a Tufted duckling. By process of elimination it must be the from the first family on the Serpentine, whose five ducklings are now reduced to four. The family of six are all right, and so are the new family of eleven, seen here threading their way through some heavy traffic at the island. It's lucky that the ducklings can dive instantly to avoid being run over.

She also sent this remarkable shot of the Tufted Duck with seven ducklings on the Long Water, which had taken over the Coots' nest under the willow next to the bridge. The Coots were taken by surprise and retreated. I'm sure that if they had offered resistance she would have pulverised them.

The grass in the goose grazing area on the south side of the Serpentine is parched and eaten down right to the soil. A family of Greylags found some better grass and a bit of shade under a bush.

Since I came home there has been a thunderstorm and some rain has fallen, but not the drenching we need.

A Greylag was trying to eat some very stale Arab flatbread.

The Egyptian Geese seem happy to eat duckweed. This is the senior female on the Long Water, who has been here for 15 years -- and, as regular readers will know, has never managed to raise a single gosling during this time. She is instantly recognisable by her very pale white head.

One of the Great Crested Grebes from the net in the fallen poplar on the Long Water can still just get all four rapidly growing chicks on his back.

A fish brought by their mother went down quickly.

One of the Moorhens in the Italian Garden pond was making a second nest for the chicks, something that Moorhens quite often do. The chicks, of which there are six, were still hidden in their original nest in a clump of purple loosestrife.

The Grey Heron chicks in the nest on the island are also growing at a surprising rate.

The white-faced Blackbird near the Italian Garden hadn't been seen for some time, but today she came out to get some sultanas. She will be delighted by the recent rain, which will make earthworms available again.

A Jay waiting in an oak tree to be given a peanut put its crest up, giving it a turbaned look.

At the bottom left of this picture you can see a deformed acorn, the result of infestation by the Knopper Gall wasp, Andricus quercuscalicis.

A view of the male Little Owl in his usual chestnut tree next to the leaf yard.

A Wood Pigeon cooled off by standing at the top of the waterfall in the Dell. It wasn't washing or drinking, just enjoying the sensation of the water running over its feet.

I went to the Leg o' Mutton reservoir to see the young Common Terns. They were both reported safe and sound the day before yesterday. I only saw one today, but they can fly now so the other one was probably away somewhere. They still depend on their parents to feed them. A tern's fishing technique -- flying at a height of 30ft and dropping vertically on to a fish -- has to be learnt.

Also at the reservoir, two juvenile Black-Headed Gulls perched on a raft. We don't see them this young in the park, since they don't come in from their breeding grounds until they're a bit older.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, the Tufted mother is really fearsome, and fearless! The Gull, large as it is, appears to be in surprised pain.

    Very happy to read you've had some rain showers. I would venture to say that the heat wave in England will be over by next Wednesday. Why? Because we are having our first serious one over here from next Wednesday till at least next Sunday (42ºC expected. Any takers?), and it has been my observation, for many years, that when it's very hot in here it's cool in the UK, and viceversa (something to do with variations in the positioning of the Azores High).