Sunday 7 July 2019

The Pochard on the Long Water has managed to keep her two ducklings safe, though their impressive diving performance has also helped to protect them from the gulls. She chased away a Mallard that had got too close.

When the Greylag and Canada Geese are moulting their flight feathers, they tend to rush around and dive frantically. Perhaps their emerging feathers cause an itch which they are trying to relieve.

The six Greylag goslings sprawled on the shore.

The Great Crested Grebes at the island were looking after their chick. At this stage the parent carrying the chick never moves very far, while the other one ranges far and wide to find small fish.

The Grey Heron in the new nest raised its hackles to defy another heron that had landed in the top of the next tree.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull was enjoying his lunch. A Carrion Crow would have liked a share and edged up, but it knew that the attempt was hopeless, and the merest gesture from the gull was enough to make it back off.

It was quite warm, and a Carrion Crow was panting to cool down.

The female Little Owl near the Albert Memorial was out in her oak tree all today. In the afternoon she moved into clear view.

A family of Long-Tailed Tits worked their way along the edge of the Long Water.

Rose-Ringed Parakeets and Wood Pigeons share the ability to eat fruit when it's very unripe and hard. If they waited for it to ripen there might not be any left.

Two kinds of willowherb are growing side by side on one of the rafts surrounding the island. The one with flower spikes is Rose Bay Willowherb, which older readers will remember as the typical flower of bomb sites all over London. The one with larger flowers is Greater Willowherb.

A species of dragonfly that hasn't appeared on the blog before: a Norfolk Hawker. David Element took this fine picture at the Barnes Wetland Centre.

Mark Williams was in St James's Park, from which he sent me a remarkable picture of a Crab Spider eating a Honeybee.

The young Great Tits there have been coming to his hand for a couple of weeks now. Ours must have hatched later, because they are still hanging back.


  1. Why did the Rose Bay Willowherb grow in bomb sites, I wonder?

    The geese look quite frantic. They look indeed like someone with an itch they cannot scratch.

    Lovely picture of the Grebes. Would never tire of them.

    1. Many plants grow well in recently disturbed soil -- think of the poppies on WWI battlefields. It would also have been alkaline because of the lime mortar from demolished buildings, and that may have helped.

  2. My favourite of such plants is 'leadwort' (Minutia verna), a small, pretty, white flower which has a very high tolerance for lead in the soil, and grows – as almost nothing else bar moorland grasses will – on the spoil-heaps of lead mines in the White Peak of Derbyshire. The mines there were often very small, literally family businesses, and the heaps often only a few feet high and a few yards wide. You can only tell them from bits of random geology by the sudden flurry of white blossoms.

    1. Wonder whether the plant can eventually clean up the soil by extracting the lead. I've heard of sunflowers being use to remove caesium at Fukushima.