Tuesday 4 July 2023

Little Owl shelters from the rain

None of the Little Owls were visible on a grey morning, and then it started to drizzle and finally to rain hard, so I thought we wouldn't see one. But surprisingly the male adult at the Serpentine Gallery was out near the nest hole, sheltering under an overhanging branch.

A pair of Carrion Crows at the Diana fountain looked soulfully into each other's eyes, or maybe they were just planning some ghastly exploit.

The male Peregrine on the tower was getting wet, and shifted about uncomfortably.

A young Blackbird in the Dell found a grub in a flower bed.

Also in the Dell, a young Grey Heron looked out from the top of a deodar tree.

Mark Williams photographed a young Robin in St James's Park, still with hardly any red feathers but singing loudly like an adult. It seems very early for it to start singing.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull had moved away from his usual hunting ground and claimed a victim next to the Serpentine island. Note how, not having suitable feet to hold it,  he uses the kerb to anchor it so that can can rip pieces out.

The Great Crested Grebe nest below the Diana fountain has survived yesterday's strong wind.

The nest opposite Peter Pan is the only other active one as far as I know.

The Coots with four chicks in the Italian Garden can't stop making nests, and have just built a third one.

The pair in the next pool with seven have never bothered to make any more nests, but the chicks are thriving and growing fast.

There is a new nest in the middle of the Long Water, supported on a fallen poplar tree that is now completely submerged.

A Moorhen in the Dell was on the pair's favourite rock. They made a brief attempt to nest earlier in the year but now seem to have lost enthusiasm.

The Mute Swans on the Long Water had hopefully brought their cygnets to Peter Pan to beg, but I was the only person there and I don't feed swans.

The Egyptian Geese at the boat hire platform brought their seven teenagers round the pedalos. I feel a bit unkind not feeding them, but grass and algae are much better for them.

To brighten up a grey scene, here are three bee pictures from Duncan Campbell, taken yesterday. He is pretty sure that this is a Patchwork Leafcutter Bee, Megachile centuncularis,  and I think the beetle is Oedemera lurida, one of the False Blister Beetles but without a specific common name. They were near the tennis courts.

This one in the Rose Garden is probably a Yellow-Legged Mining Bee, Andrena flavipes.

And this could be a Grey-Patched Mining Bee, Andrena nitida, but he is far from sure.


  1. You can tell Pigeon Killer Gull has done that kerb manoeuvre more than once.

  2. Just for accuracy, the singing robin does have a little red to his plumage, but this is obscured by shadow in the photo: will send you one of him in all his glory later in the week.

    Ps seeing two or more crows together always gets me wondering, too: hopefully, they are plotting to overthrow the government ;)

    1. Corrected, thanks.

      If those crows really plan to overthrow the government, wish they'd hurry up before it does any more harm.

    2. I for one would welcome our Crow overlords. They'd be immensely less harmful.

      Now I understand the meaning of "mad as a Coot". Their nest-building mania has much to answer for.

    3. And their furious attacks on anything that annoys them, up to and including swans.

    4. I wonder if nest-building by Coots at this stage is partly about creating decoys, variously occupied by one partner at night while the chicks are being guarded elsewhere. Jim

    5. This family moved to a different pool so one new nest would have been expected. Another so soon seems odd. And, as I said, the very successful older family here are still using their first nest. I think it may be an out-of-control building urge more evident in some Coots than others.

    6. I should imagine swans quickly rise to the occasion and will correct any fit of madness on the part of their inferiors. But who knows, where coots are involved.

    7. I've seen swans retreating and not coming back when the Coots go berserk. Imagine yourself being attacked by a Jack Russell: you wouldn't be eager to go back.