Friday, 10 June 2022

Pigeon Eater is back

The original pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull, not seen in his usual place for several weeks, returned today. He circled a few times and landed in his favourite place on the restaurant roof.

You can tell it's him from the ring of black dots on the yellow iris of his eyes.

But when I went past the restaurant again an hour later, there was no sign of him and the Herring Gull was standing on the shore in his usual hunting ground. There is probably a war going on here. Normally the Lesser Black-Back chases all Herring Gulls away when he's in residence.

The male Blackcap from the family near the Henry Moore sculpture sang on a hawthorn branch.

Two young Great Tits in the Flower Walk have started coming to my hand instead of waiting for their parents to bring them the pine nuts I offer.

Neil photographed a young Carrion Crow here.

Ahmet Amerikali got a dramatic shot of a Grey Heron catching a carp near the Italian Garden.

A Great Crested Grebe at the bridge wasn't doing anything but was too elegant not to photograph.

The Coots who built their nest in deep water next to the Dell restaurant can't stop building, and the nest is getting higher and higher.

They must be moving their eggs up as the nest rises.

A Moorhen washed in the full flow of the small waterfall in the Dell. With their long prehensile toes they can cling on to just about anything.

The single cygnet from the Mute Swan's nest at the boathouse keeps very close to its mother. Its short life has already been eventful, as it has a peck mark on its head.

A Red Admiral butterfly perched on a notice near the bridge. As the sun warmed it, it became more and more restless and flew away.

An Emperor dragonfly was hunting by the reed beds near the Italian Garden.

Duncan Campbell photographed this female Blue-Tailed Damselfly. Females are much more variable than males and come in five colours. The full name of this variety is Ischnura elegans rufescens -- 'slim-tailed, elegant, blushing'.

He also had a puzzle picture, a mysterious red weevil. Update: he has now identified this with reasonable certainty as Tatianaerhynchites aequatus.

I also found an unidentified flying object, a very small stripy bee on an oxeye daisy beside the Long Water. Update: Conehead 54 thinks it may be a Colletes species. There are a lot of species in this genus, including nine found in Britain, in many cases very hard to tell apart.

This year's Serpentine Pavilion has been opened after a very long building session because it's enormous. It was designed by Theaster Gates. It resembles a gasholder but is grim black throughout apart from some grubby dented silverish metal panels on the inside wall. The inside is made slightly less stygian by a hole in the roof, though this gravely reduces its usefulness as a building. The church bell is old, real and, when rung, very loud.


  1. I'll never understand modern archictecture. Such as it is.

    Who would have pecked the poor thing on the head? Other swan?

    Welcome back to Pigeon Eater. But I fear he is getting on in years and the Herring Gull, being stronger and younger, will evict him from the territory.

    We all need more elegance and polish in today's world, and the Grebe is the very thing.


    1. Theaster Gates isn't actually an architect, as it happens. Look up his web page and you'll see why he needs a gasholder.

      I think the cygnet may have been pecked by a Coot, but it might have been a failed gull snatch. The injury is quite narrow, as if from a sharp beak.

      We don't know how old Pigeon Eater is, but at least 15. However, he can comfortably live to over 30.

      We need more ceremony too, and grebes can deliver that perfectly.

  2. Lovely to see the patrolling Emperor- a sure sign summer has arrived.

    I think maybe your bee is a Colletes sp.

    1. Male Emperors are dreadfully hard to photograph as they seldom land, but I will keep trying to get a better shot.

      Thanks for the identification. I see that there are 373 Colletes species, and that's just for one genus in the Colletidae.

    2. That figure for Colletes maybe a global number? There's only about 240 bee species in total for the UK. Apparently 9 species in UK & some species can be eliminated by time of year /habitat. I think most likely candidate is Colletes daviesanus, but can't be 100% certain.

    3. Global. It's the number of species listed in the Wikipedia article on Colletes.

  3. I noticed that the visitors to the gasholder don’t linger long. They sit down to check their smart phones then leave for pleasanter spots. The pervading smell of tar doesn’t help.

    1. I quite like the smell of tar. But possibly it's out of place when you are trying to enjoy an overpriced espresso and a cripplingly expensive macaroon in semi-darkness.