Thursday 20 September 2018

The pigeon-killing Lesser Black-Backed Gull is constantly pursued by his offspring, which he has no intention of feeding any more.

More and more Cormorants are arriving for their autumn fishing season, which starts when this year's young fish are large enough to be interesting and ends when there are so few left it's not worth the trouble of chasing them.

One thinks of Grey Herons as living on fish, but the ones in the park seem to hunt rats as much as fish. Here a young one in the Dell stands in the water but looks ashore for a rat in a clump of plants.

They are also scavengers, and this one on the Lido restaurant roof is looking out hopefully at the tables on the terrace.

But no heron in the park at present has become as bold as the one that used to land on occupied tables at the Dell restaurant and steal food off people's plates. This picture was taken on 25 April 2015.

A fourth Moorhen teenager has unexpectedly appeared in the Dell. Moorhens creep around in the undergrowth and it's easy to miss one.

There are also two extra teenage Moorhens in the Italian Garden which I'm sure weren't there before, in addition to the two belonging to the pair of adults which have just hatched some new chicks. Here is the new family in one of the enclosures for water plants.

The female Great Crested Grebe from the east end of the island fed one of the chicks.

There were a few Sand Martins over the Long Water.

As I was crossing Buck Hill, one of them whizzed past my ankle at zero feet. It was heading into the strong wind, and was hugging the ground where the wind speed was lower.

Both the Nuthatches in the leaf yard came out to be fed.

A Rose-Ringed Parakeet perched on the swamp cypress near the Italian Garden, eating the beans from a pod it had taken from the neighbouring catalpa tree.

A holly tree at the southwest corner of the bridge has a particularly fine crop of berries, and I've been trying to get a good picture of a tit next to a cluster. But the Coal Tits insist on perching on bare twigs ...

... and this Great Tit perched behind a bunch instead of beside. Will keep trying.

I thought this bee was a Black-Headed Leaf-Cutter, but Conehead54, the insect expert on this blog, says that it's most likely a very faded Common Carder. It was on one of the peculiar two-tone flowers of the Harlequin Glorybower bush, whose strangeness is exceeded only by the berries, which are blue with red sepals.

There is a group of several Giant Polypore fungi on the west side of the Ranger's Lodge garden.


  1. Looking very forward to that picture of the Tits next to the cluster of berries! Let's hope they will behave.

    There is something comical in such a fearsome beast as Pigeon Killer's all but fleeing its own harassing offspring.

    I wish I could have seen a Martin buzzying past my ankle. It must have been a startling experience.

    1. Quite often in wet weather, when the insects, and therefore the hirundines, are low over the water, you get birds whizzing past your feet as you walk along the shore. But on grassland it was a surprise.

  2. The bee looks like a very faded Common Carder Bee, Bombus pascuorum, to me.

    1. Thanks for the identification. It's certainly a rather tatty old bee, with broken wingtips.