Tuesday, 28 July 2020

A female Blackbird in the Rose Garden shrubbery collected sultanas that I gave her and took them to her fledgling, which was loudly calling for food.

A Robin waited for me to fill up the feeder ...

... and then flew boldly in, although there was a hulking great Rose-Ringed Parakeet on the other side.

Until today I'd been unsuccessful in filming Wood Pigeons eating blackberries. The birds had just pecked at them, which seemed odd for such big greedy creatures. But today two Wood Pigeons were balancing precariously in the brambles and fairly hoovering up the berries.

The young Little Owl was in the usual place in the lime tree on Buck Hill despite a gusty wind. I didn't see the mother.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull shared his latest kill amicably with his mate. A Carrion Crow tried to butt in, but one look from this fearsome couple sent it off.

This Black-Headed Gull is a regular visitor from Poland.

The Great Crested Grebe family from the east end of the island decided to expand their territory along the shore. The female of the family from the other end of the island saw them coming but she was alone and would lose any confrontation, so she prudently dived. Probably, as in previous years, they will settle for a frontier halfway along the island.

The family from the bridge were also staging an advance, and had parked their two chicks right in the territory of the other pair.

The Moorhens that nest every year under the boat platform seem to have produced only one chick. I gave the mother a peanut for it, but the Moorhen decided that it was too large for the chick and ate it herself.

Later I gave her some sunflower hearts and she decided that these were OK for the chick, so it wasn't disappointed for long.

At Peter Pan, the three Mute Swan cygnets and the Coot family with four chicks were touting for food.

On the Serpentine, the Black Swan gave me an intense red stare.

A pair of Greylags were mating near Bluebird Boats. So far this year no Greylags have managed to breed on the lake, though several teenagers have arrived from elsewhere.

The female was ruffled by this disagreeable experience and had a good wash to calm herself down.

Just along the shore, the Mallard still has four ducklings.

The young carp in the Italian Garden pools are now about 3 inches long.

Now I am going to blow my own trumpet. I've written a book, and it isn't about birds. It's a historical novel about the bear that Lord Byron kept in his rooms when he was an undergraduate at Cambridge -- yes, he really did, but the rest of the book is fictional. It's called A Bear's Diary, and that's exactly what it is.

You can buy it in hardback from the publishers, Troubador Books, here. There are also ebook versions in various formats -- see the links on the page.

The book is illustrated with old engravings.

It's supposed to be available on Amazon, but they have made a mess of setting up sales of the hardback and it may not be available from there for several days. However, if you go to the Amazon page for the Kindle edition and click on the image of the book cover, you will be able to read the first three chapters.


  1. Raisins and seeds for the birds...
    And a bear's diary..wow.. can't wait to read the fictional book and it's illustration...
    Lovely to see the carps growing...

    1. Blackbirds are absolutely crazy about sultanas. If you start feeding them they come rushing out of the bushes when they see you.

      Hope you enjoy the book.

    2. I have some sultanas at home and I find them too sweet...so shall give to the blackbirds,.
      Congratulations on your book, Ralph..delayed reaction..ought to have showed some interest...but ...better late than never.mm

    3. You already did, and thank you.

  2. Do you think the greylags could breed now, or is it too late in the year?

    1. I don't see why they shouldn't. They are not really dependent on the seasons. The real problem is that they usually nest on the ground, and the park is full of foxes.

  3. Congratulations, on writing the book, any chance, you could put it on the Kobo, it is very easy to do.

    1. You can read EPUB files from the Google Play store on a Kobo reader. You have to download them on to a computer on which you have installed Adobe Digital Editions, and transfer them from there. Please see this page. The section you need is Case 4.

    2. True but it is much easier for readers if it is available on the Kobo (and more of them can find it).
      It took me 25 minutes to put a book there for a friend. The hardest part was finding her IBAN!

  4. May I be allowed a moment of fangirling? Ralph's A Bear's Diary is one of the most enjoyable books I have ever read! If someone reads it and doesn't instantly fall in love with the bear characters I'll eat my hat!

  5. Well done, that man! I'd heard about the bear, but that's about it. Looking forward to reading your bear's tale.