Sunday 7 June 2020

The Little Owl in the alder tree on Buck Hill puts up with me taking still photographs with my big camera, which has a very conspicuous white lens.

But as soon as I point the little black video camera at her she starts shifting around nervously, and here she flies away after a few seconds. I ought to stop filming her. We've known each other for eight years and I don't like upsetting her.

A family of Great Tits were busy near the bridge, flying from the dead tree where they nested ...

... coming to take food from my hand (thanks to Jon Spoard for this picture) ...

... and taking it to their young.

The singing Reed Warbler here, usually invisible, came into view for a few seconds.

A Wren sang from the top of a dead tree near the Italian Garden.

A young Pied Wagtail enjoyed the privacy of the swimming area at the Lido, which is now closed, and took the chance of having a good long preen.  It went on for at least 10 minutes but I'm only showing 30 seconds.

The Black Swan ventured on to the Long Water again with a company of Mute Swans ...

... which were all chased off within five minutes by the dominant male, who came charging up the lake in his most intimidating manner.

The bend in the bridge is not an illusion. Since it was built 200 years ago it has sagged in the middle and tilted slightly towards the camera. It's impossible to make completely stable foundations in the London clay. But it was very well built and is not in the least danger of collapse.

The swan with two cygnets preened beside the Serpentine, and the cygnets copied her.

But the other family have lost another cygnet and are down to four.

Another regular visitor: this Greylag x Canada hybrid goose has flown in to moult on the Serpentine. It's the only one of the hybrids with pink feet.

A pair of Coots have built a large nest on the semicircular wall of the old water filter under the marble fountain on the edge of the Italian Garden. It is most unlikely to succeed, as a Grey Heron can simply stroll along the wall and help itself to any chicks.

This Coot on the platform at Bluebird Boats may be luckier. Mateusz, who has been cleaning the platform for the reopening in a few days' time, plans to move the nest to somewhere safer at the last possible moment.

A Buff-Tailed Bumblebee browsed on curiously shaped phlomis flowers beside the path to the north of the Italian Garden.

A little way off there is a fine stand of acanthus ...

... whose beautiful leaves are reproduced in stone in the Composite capitals of Queen Anne's Alcove a few feet away.

Another picture by Jon Spoard: penny farthing polo in the Mall, in front of the Victoria Memorial with Buckingham Palace in the background. Why not?


  1. I really hope the Black Swan doesn’t get into a confrontation with the dominant male

    1. So do I. That was what caused our last Black Swan to leave.

  2. Much as we enjoy videos of the lovely Little Owl, if she is uncomfortable we'll have to learn to make do without her. She is a star, and stars need their privacy.

    Real acanthus leaves are much lovelier than they are in their scultptural version.

    I'm almost afraid to ask: how many cygnets are expected to survive?

    1. I have no idea how many cygnets will survive. The Serpentine is more dangerous every year as the Herring Gulls multiply. And, of course, these are a protected species and nothing can be done about them.