Friday 30 July 2021

It was a day of rain and wind and I didn't think the Little Owls would be out, but the female came out of the hole between showers. She wasn't in a place for a good picture, though.

The usual Jays followed me round the lake. They were looking a bit bedraggled from the rain.

The Lesser Black-Backed Gulls near the Triangle car park have four young, not just the two I saw earlier. These were chasing their parent begging, playing and looking for food in a puddle, probably snails.

Sad to say, the Great Crested Grebes from the west end of the Serpentine island have lost three of their four chicks -- reasons unknown, but there are a lot of large gulls on the lake and although the chicks can dive very fast they may not be fast enough. The surviving chick was with a parent, both poking around and I think eating small aquatic creatures.

The widowed grebe was resting near the Bluebird Boats platform during a brief sunny spell. Perhaps it will find a new mate when the grebes move to the river in the winter. It is not good for a grebe to be alone.

The Coots in the Italian Garden fountain fed their three chicks. Two followed their parents around, but one preferred to stay in the comfort of the nest.

Caroline Moss was swimming at the Lido when she photographed the Black Swan looking disapprovingly at some Egyptian Geese.

I think this is the old and arthritic Canada x Greylag Goose hybrid. I thought it was long gone. It walked stiffly down to the water to drink.

A Grey Squirrel ate a piece of bread it had found on a table at the Lido restaurant. Some Carrion Crows wanted the bread, but they were afraid to go too near the squirrel, and despite their harassment the squirrel finished the bread.

Duncan Campbell shot this video of a Carrion Crow jumping around pulling seed heads off the grass. I think it's eating the seeds it gets, but it might just be playing.

He also rescued a very wet bumblebee, and here is his story.

'Yesterday we came across a bumblebee that was absolutely soaked -- it must have been caught out in one of the sharp showers we have been having. I was interested because it seemed to be a different shape to any of the bees I had seen.

'It was staggering around on the top of the small compact flowers you can see in the picture -- it was never going to dry out because, as you can see in the picture, large water droplets were on the top of the flowers as well so it was wandering around soaking up as much as it was losing.

'We picked it up with a stick and it was amazing to see how much moisture was coming off as it crawled up the stick but its wings were still plastered to its back. We then took some tissue paper and picked the bee up and sort of blotted it as best we could -- I could feel its wings buzz in the tissue paper -- lots of water came off. I reckon it must have been carrying close to its own bodyweight in water.

'We then put the bee on Annette's shirt so that it could dry out a bit more. It stayed there for about five minutes and you can see the hairs on its thorax drying out but was still pretty soggy when it flew off. We were well pleased we had helped the bee survive another day.

'The different shape of the bee was of course because the hairs were plastered down by the water. Not sure what species it is but thought it might be a male Red-Tailed Bumblebee.'

Tom was at Rainham Marshes, and got good shots of a Reed Warbler ...

... a female Migrant Hawker dragonfly ...

... and a Gatekeeper butterfly in better condition than the tatty one I photographed yesterday.


  1. Well done Duncan! There has to be a reward for looking out for God's beloved creatures.

    Very sad about the widowed Grebe. What are the chances that he will choose to fly somewhere else to find a mate?

    1. At the first sign of severe frost all the grebes leave for the river, which never freezes. That is the time for him to find an unattached female.