Friday, 21 May 2021

Foul weather brings insects down low over the water, and the Swifts follow them down.

There were also plenty of House Martins at the east end of the Serpentine, as well as a few Swallows though I didn't get a picture of one.

In spite of the wind there must have been plenty of insects at altitude, as Swifts were flying high and low over Buck Hill. Swifts also eat quantities of young spiders parachuting on strands of silk, which can reach a considerable height as they travel on the wind.

There was a family of Long-Tailed Tits in the bushes at the northwest corner of the bridge. Here is one of the young ones, its yellow eyelids blushing red in excited anticipation of being fed ...

... while the parents flitted about in search of insects for them.

A young Starling at the Lido restaurant was looking a bit bedraggled in the drizzle.

A young Grey Wagtail hunted along the water's edge.

This is the Robin beside the Long Water that had a broken toe. It's healed well and the bird can perch, but it will never be straight.

Neil photographed an interesting-coloured Feral Pigeon. I think the official name for this colour is Red Chequer, but it's not a typical example.

A Great Spotted Woodpecker called from a tree near the Henry Moore sculpture, but not its usual tree. This was blown down by last night's gale, breaking another tree as if fell.

The Coot on the nest in a silly place had a faceoff with a Herring Gull that wanted to perch there. The Coot won.

It's unusual for Mute Swans with cygnets to mix with the rest of the swans, and this pair were looking defensive.

Later Virginia found apparently the same cygnets alone on the lake with no parent in sight. I don't know what had happened.

Tufted Ducks mated on the Long Water.

Mandarins drank from a puddle on the horse ride beside the Serpentine.

An insect which I didn't recognise landed on Tom's iPhone. The learned Conehead 54 came to the rescue and told me that it's a bug, Dryophilocoris flavoquadrimaculatus -- that is to say an oak-loving bug with four yellow spots -- and is common on oak trees at this time of year.

15 comments:

  1. I had a casual look for the older black swan today but did not spot her. Any idea if she is still around or has she taken off with her mate for pastures anew? Thanks, Ralph. really appreciate your blog.

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    1. I haven't seen her for several days. I went to the Round Pond to see if she was there. No.

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    2. Wonder if her disapperance is linked the the apparent counter insurgent action taken by the dominant mle on the Long Water that seems that have resotored his superiority at least by virtue of the fact that most of the other swans seem to have returned to the Serpentine. Only basing this idea on a single visit to the park so may be wide of the mark. Will miss the older black swan if she has gone as she was quite intriguing to me.

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    3. Amazing pictures! Shame that the black swan has left, I saw her every day for the last months.

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    4. She might yet come back. The original Black Swan left and returned once, though now she's the third member of the strange trio in St James's Park.

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    5. "The original Black Swan left and returned once, though now she's the third member of the strange trio in St James's Park." It's just occurred to me that her solicitude for the mute swan cygnets in St James's is not the unprecedented. You observed her adoptng a young mute swan when she was here, though that was an orphan unlike the current brood..

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    6. Yes. The emotions of Black Swans seem to be quite complicated.

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  2. I'm worried about the cygnets. It is strange that they should be on their own and away from their parents. I hope everything is fine.

    Of course the Coot won. They'd outstare even a swan.

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    1. I am guessing that their father was off on a territorial dispute and their mother had gone along to watch, which she should absolutely not have done according to swan rules. That's the kind of thing silly Egyptian Geese do.

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  3. Agree it was a miserable day but managed to get out for a few hours.

    I'm afraid the insect ID couldn't be more out as it's not even a beetle! A close look shows it's one of the true bugs rather than a beetle. I'm afraid it's not one I'm familiar with though.

    Love the unusual environment for the Mandarins- I do like this shot. Have never seen a Feral Pigeon that looks like this.

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    1. Thanks. Will sort out the mysterious bug later, when I am back on the computer.

      That pair of Mandarins has been showing up in odd places for several days. They are quite terrestrial as ducks go.

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  4. Hi Ralph- had a bit of time & as I knew it was a Miridae- checked out Tristan's excellent UK Bugs site & one I should have remembered- it's Dryophilocoris flavoquadrimaculatus (quite a mouthful, though the specific name is useful!), a common spring species on oak according to the site.

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