Sunday, 12 July 2020

There is a family of Blackcaps in the brambles on the west side of the Long Water. Here is one of the young birds, of which there seem to be three.

And here is the father, who has been eating blackberries and is stained with purple juice.

There is also a family of Reed Warblers in the Dell, where there are only a few reeds but plenty of other plants for them to feed in. They were dashing around in the bushes, very hard to see and this bad picture is the best I was able to get.

A dramatic shot by Zhou Zichen of a House Martin diving out of its nest in the ornate cornice of the Kuwaiti Embassy. The nest is on top of one of the petals of the big plaster rose.

Coots have a regrettable tendency to nest in silly places. Here are pair sit complacently on the kerb at the edge of the Serpentine.

But the saddest nest is the one on the post at Peter Pan, where the pair produce several broods of chicks every year which are instantly eaten by gulls. I was just photographing a new chick ...

... when the view was obscured by a Lesser Black-Backed Gull diving in. The next two pictures are by Tom's friend Jayanta Bordoloi, whose reflexes were faster than mine and he got two dramatic and gruesome shots.

The gull devoured the chick on the water.

The Coot nest in the Italian Garden fountain now has chicks in it, the pair's third brood this year. I think they lost all the chicks from the second, though there is still a teenager from the first brood. One of the adults tore off a dead reed, with some difficulty, to add to the nest.

A pair of Great Crested Grebes were building a nest on the edge of the reed bed below the Diana memorial fountain. It's not a good site, too exposed to boats.

The grebes from the nest at the bridge fed their chicks. The fish are brought from the other side of the bridge.

The Great Crested Grebes nesting at the east end of the island have finished with their nest and left with their chick -- just one, I think. A Moorhen took its chicks to the nest and picked insects out of it to feed them.

A lump of Lesser Burdock beside the Long Water was alive with bees. Here are a Honeybee and a Common Carder.

A Meadow Brown butterfly extended its long proboscis into a thistle flower and drank the nectar.

A Comma perched on a bramble showed the little white mark on its underwing that gives it its name.

These are common Black Ants, Lasius niger, on the stonework of the Italian Garden. Once a year flying queens and males emerge and mate. The small ants are workers. After this the queens will chew their wings off and set to work laying eggs in the nest. The males, no longer needed, will die after a few days.

At another nest, a Carrion Crow was bathing in ants to get rid of its parasites. It ungratefully ate one.


  1. As Ralph usually says, crows don't do gratitude.

    Always a delight to see grebe chicks' speed to get their fish. They fly straight like little arrows.

    1. Soon the grebe chicks will be old enough to do that frantic squeaking splashy run as a parent comes in sight. Hope to get a chance to film it.

  2. Great blogs of pics and videos of birds bees and butterflies...
    I particularly like the meadow brown butterfly and the black ants videos...I simply don't have a clue about the short lifespan of the male ants..what a revelation...intriguing insect world...

    1. Male insects do tend to be discarded when they've done their job.