Wednesday 31 May 2023

Young Coal Tits

Two young Coal Tits came out in the Flower Walk. Their parents fed them with pine nuts provided with a liberal hand.

But a Great Tit chick near the Rose Garden was unlucky and was taken by a Jay. Thanks to Tom for this gruesome picture.

A young Magpie begged a parent to feed it. Duncan Campbell took this shot on the edge of the lake below the Triangle car park.

A small muddy stream runs down the side of the Vista where a drain is broken. Carrion Crows and a Magpie used it to drink and bathe.

This Robin is usually seen in the corkscrew hazel in the Flower Walk, and I've photographed it several times before. Now the leaves are out on this peculiar bush you can see that they are as distorted as the twigs.

Another good picture from Duncan, a Coot on the nest at the bridge giving a chick a rough going-over to remove parasites.

A Coot nesting on a post at Peter Pan has hatched two chicks.

Coot chicks on the Serpentine begged plaintively as they chased their parents.

The Coot that built a nest in a silly place on the open edge of the lake is still stubbornly occupying it.

Moorhens nesting on the island have hatched five chicks.

A Great Crested Grebe fished nearby ...

... and the Mute Swan cruised serenely with four cygnets.

The swan with six older cygnets was industriously pulling up algae for them.

Two goslings browsed on grass and weeds under the willows beside the Serpentine. They are being looked after by Greylag Geese, but the one on the left is a Canada gosling adopted by accident.

The Egyptians at the Triangle have a sixth gosling which I didn't see yesterday.

A squirrel ate the unripe fruit of a cherry laurel in the Flower Walk. This is full of cyanide, but it seemed to have no effect on the squirrel.

A female Black-Tailed Skimmer dragonfly perched on a blade of grass.

A closer look at one of the Backswimmers in the Italian Garden, showing the little dents its feet and the tip of its abdomen make in the water as it floats just under the surface.

I couldn't identify this caterpillar on a daisy in the Rose Garden. My best guess is a Cabbage Moth.

Tuesday 30 May 2023

Another insect supplement

I have a lot of pictures of insects, so it's time for another supplement.

First two familiar Buff-Tailed Bees, but it's worth noting the different flowers in the Rose Garden that they browse on. This one is on Comfrey ...

... and this one on the little mauve flowers of Lamb's Ears, Stachys byzantina, one of their favourites which is just coming into flower.

Duncan Campbell found two more bees. This may be a Grey-Banded Mining Bee, Andrena denticulata.

We have no idea about this one.  It looks quite like a male Hairy-Footed Flower Bee but doesn't have hairy enough feet.

This hoverfly is a Large Narcissus Fly, Merodon equestris.

Duncan also found two damselflies in the Italian Garden fountains, Blue-Tailed ...

... and Red-Eyed.

He alerted me to some peculiar insects upside down just below the water surface, rowing with their hind legs and moving in formation. They are Backswimmers, Notonecta glauca, and I shot a video of them.

It's worth noting that the main scene of action in the fountains, which in previous years has been the southeast pool, is now the northeast one. For some reason the usual algae haven't come up in the southeast pool to attract insects.

Tom was at Hutchinson's Bank in Croydon, famous for its butterflies. He found a Glanville Fritillary ...

... a Grizzled Skipper ...

... and three Small Blues.

Young Great Tits

The Great Tits have brought out their fledglings, and you can hear them making scratchy begging calls in the trees. This one was in a lime near Mount Gate.

The young Long-Tailed Tits have been out for some time. Here is one in a red-leafed cherry in the Rose Garden.

So have the young Starlings. Families jumped around noisily in a hawthorn while looking for a chance to raid tables on the Dell restaurant terrace.

The pair of Coal Tits at Mount Gate came to my hand. They're looking tatty from feeding chicks, but these aren't out of the nest yet.

A Wren scolded a Magpie beside the Long Water.

The male Little Owl at the Round Pond stared down from a horse chestnut.

The hens at the allotment have been allowed out again after the bird flu has abated, but sadly only three are left. I think the losses are due to natural accidents.

The young Grey Heron in the Dell has taken to standing next to the railings. Evidently people have been feeding it.

The arrival of more Great Crested Grebes on the Serpentine has upset the territorial balance and there was a fight at the east end of the island. This is a prized spot, as there is an overhanging bush behind the line of baskets where a nest can be built.

The Coots on the nest in deep water at the Serpentine outflow now have a well furnished nest, but it remains in danger of being washed away by waves raised in a strong west wind.

The pair in the Italian Garden have hatched five chicks.

But there is no progress on the nest by the bridge, and I think all the remaining eggs must be duds. Such a high failure rate is most unusual, but so is the whole setup here with two females.

The Mute Swan from the island gathered algae for her cygnets.

The brood of six is in good order and there have been no further losses on the Long Water.

Five new Egyptian goslings came out on the water below the Triangle car park.

The eleven were in a heap, keeping warm in the chilly east wind.

A pair of Pochards rested at the water's edge near the island.

Tom has just returned from a holiday on Lesbos, and sent fine pictures of a Crested Lark with some poppies ...

A Bee-Eater ...

... and a Flamingo.

Monday 29 May 2023

A good year for Song Thrushes

A Song Thrush sang cheerfully on a branch near the leaf yard. You can also hear a Blackbird and a Chaffinch in the background.

There were five singing male Song Thrushes within a hundred yards of each other. Here's another one. It's been a very good year for them, but there are very few Mistle Thrushes.

A Greenfinch perched in a dead hawthorn tree near the Henry Moore sculpture.

A Jackdaw stared down from an oak branch, expecting to be fed.

So did a Great Tit clinging to a plane trunk.

A banging noise from a tree near the Speke obelisk turned out to be two Stock Doves fighting.

The Grey Heron with the red bill was back in the nest again. I no longer have much expectation that the pair are serious about nesting.

Four Great Crested Grebes were in a loose formation on the Serpentine, a sign that they are newly arrived and haven't yet started looking for territories.

The Mute Swans' nest on the island is out of sight from the shore, so you don't know what's going to emerge. It turned out to be four new cygnets. Their mother took them for a brief excursion, then back to land.

Sad to say, the swans on the Long Water have lost two of their four cygnets, for no apparent reason. Did their mother hope another egg would hatch and delay too long in taking them on to the water to feed? She's an experienced mother and would be unlikely to make such a mistake.

But the six on the Serpentine were in fine form.

One of them flapped its tiny wings. It's going to be a long time before these will bear it aloft.

The Black Swan was at the east end of the Serpentine cruising with his new girlfriend.

The broods of eleven Egyptian goslings ...

... and seven are miraculously intact and now growing fast.

A Holly Blue butterfly at the bridge stubbornly refused to show off its wings.

Yellow roses in the Rose Garden were full of Honeybees.

Nick Abalov got an excellent picture of a male Broad-Bodied Chaser dragonfly in the allotment.