Thursday 3 September 2020

A young Herring Gull came ashore with a crayfish it had caught ...

... and somehow managed to swallow it whole.

There was a Peregrine on the barracks tower, and this time it really was a Peregrine and not one of the Hobbies (which I didn't see today). This is the male of the pair, who has a very dark face. He almost always stands with his back to the view, and has to be photographed from an oblique angle.

A tatty and bedraggled Magpie dried itself after bathing in the lake.

A family in the Diana fountain enclosure bickered over some bits of bread that had grabbed from someone feeding the ducks.

A Carrion Crow stood at the top of the Dell waterfall. Often you find birds just standing here, enjoying the sensation of water running over their feet.

A Wood Pigeon lurched heavily around in a cotoneaster bush reaching for clumps of berries.

There was a young Stock Dove in the shrubbery below the Triangle car park, looking a bit bewildered. But it looked large enough to be able to fly.

A few days ago I gave the Mallard family on the Serpentine some birdseed, just to get them into a group so I could photograph them. Now they expect to be fed and come trotting up to my feet every time they see me.

One of the Bar-Headed x Greylag Goose hybrids is back on the Serpentine, and was cruising around with a Greylag companion. This bird, with a dark 'nail' on the tip of its bill, is the one that visits the park most often, and was here for all of June to moult and regrow its flight feathers.

Conehead 54 told me that I might find an Ivy Bee in the flowering ivy at the back of the Lido. I went there and pointed the video camera at a patch of flowers for several minutes, but there was nothing but a mob of wasps. Perhaps their sheer numbers have driven the bees out.

This ivy patch is above the rather unsuccessful wildflower patch, and I found just one bee there, a Common Carder on a knapweed flower.

But there were plenty of hoverflies. I think this one at the bottom of the ivy is Eristalis horticola, but I am far from certain.

Conehead 54 thinks that this is probably Eristalis nemorum, the Striped-Faced Dronefly, but wasn't certain without seeing the face. I only got one picture of it facing the camera, badly out of focus, but this does show a dark stripe down the middle of its face.

This one is easier: Myathropa florea, sometimes called the Batman Hoverfly from the pattern on its thorax.

A Little Japanese Umbrella mushroom on Buck Hill, a complex and delicate thing.


  1. Some lovely hoverfly & fungus images, Ralph. Did the top hoverfly have a wing cloud-that is typical for E. horticola, but the angle of the photo makes it difficult for me to tell. The one below is definitely not E. pertinax. I suspect E. nemorum but without seeing the face can't totally eliminate E. arbustorum. Agree with Myathropa which is a very distinctive species.

    1. Thanks. The first hoverfly stayed still for the whole time I was photographing it, and then suddenly flew off, so this is the only angle I have, But there was definitely dark shading on the wings, clearly visible in the large original pictures.

      Will amend the text of the second picture when I get back to my computer -- it's tricky to do on a mobile.

  2. Come to think of it, gulls are terrifying.

    That poor Magpie. Is it the effort of raising young, or is it ill, or underfed?

    Am I evil if I confess that I eagerly await videos to check if wood pigeons topple and fall off the branch?

    1. Mostly the effect of raising young, I think. They stick their heads down the gaping beaks of the young and their feathers get worn off. Probably moulting too.