Thursday, 9 June 2022

Young birds becoming independent

There's a Robin family in the bushes at the southeast corner of the bridge. A parent was collecting insects for the young under a bench.

The Robins near the Henry Moore sculpture are no longer feeding their young, so with luck we should see these out and about soon.

But the young Great Tits on the other side of the sculpture are still dependent on their parents. One was up in an oak tree making scratchy begging calls.

The male Blackbird in the Dell has also stopped collecting worms for the young. He gave me a challenging stare.

Wood Pigeons can eat very unripe fruit, and I thought that this one was eating the half-developed berries on an elder bush. But in fact they were too small and tough even for a Wood Pigeon, and it was eating the leaves.

The Tawny Owl came out in the afternoon, a welcome sight.

A young Magpie in the Diana fountain enclosure begged to be fed, but its parent thought it was quite old enough to find its own food.

A bunch of Carrion Crows were digging for something in the wood chips under an ancient chestnut tree. Whatever it was, it seemed valuable enough for them to fight over it.

Now that the original pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull has moved to somewhere the Feral Pigeons aren't wise to him, his pitch by the Dell restaurant has been taken over by a Herring Gull which is already quite successful. But the crows are giving it a hard time.

The Coots' nest built in deep water near the Serpentine outflow has survived yesterday's strong wind, but the Coots are going to need a lot of luck over the coming weeks.

Two of the four Coot chicks at Peter Pan stood on the family's favourite fallen branch. Its remaining twigs arch over the chicks' heads, providing protection from swooping gulls.

Two Greylag goslings, single survivors from broods badly predated by gulls, had six adults to protect them.

The five Canada goslings are now too large to get through the railings of the Diana fountain, but they can reach their heads through to graze on the lush grass, which was bought from a sports turf company is is much more delicious than the scrubby stuff in the rest of the park.

A female Mandarin preened at the Vista. She has a broken primary in her left wing and her tail is frayed, but she will soon be moulting and will get a new set of flight feathers.

An Early Bumblebee visited the lavender in the Rose Garden.

I suppose this damselfly on a grass seed head near the Queen's Temple is a female Common Blue, but she seems to have a lot of black on her. However, the British Dragonfly Society's web site is down, so I can't check.

Anyway, I am reasonably sure that this hoverfly on a buttercup is Eupeodes latifasciatus, which has the clumsy common name of Meadow Field Syrph.

Some hoverflies have plain memorable common names -- Marmalade, Hornet, Batman -- but too many of them have common names that are so feeble that it's easier to use the scientific one, and some have no common names at all.


  1. There has been times when I have looked for the Spanish names of some insects mentioned in the blog and have come up empty - either there isn't a common name, or only the scientific name is used. It must happen across languages, I guess.

    Does the Herring Gull have the same technique that Pigeon Killer did? I wonder if pigeons were able to recognize him, by the way. I guess they did, not only for his distinctive colouring but also because they had alll the skin in the game.

    1. The sheer number of insect species is hard to take in. I have heard that when entomologists survey a small area in one of the more productive regions, such as the South American rainforest or New Guinea, they invariably find species of beetle previously unknown to science.

      I haven't yet managed to see the Herring Gull in action. I think, though, that he is still fairly unskilled at his task and only succeeds occasionally. It took the original pigeon killer years to perfect his technique. Also, the Herring Gull is quite likely to develop a completely different method of getting his lunch.

  2. Been away to North Wales for a few days but now back your damselfly is a female Common Blue Damselfly.

    1. Thanks for the confirmation. I'm lost without the British Dragonfly Society's web site -- hope they get it back up before the serious dragonflies arrive. So far in the park I have only seen two Black-Tailed Skimmers (f and m) and one Emperor (m) that I didn't get a picture of.

      Hope you had a good time in North Wales.

  3. Yes thanks. Even managed to see Variable Damselflies at a reserve. Lots of good birds at places like South Stack & Cemlyn Bay amongst others.