Sunday 2 June 2024

Young wagtails

The young Grey Wagtail on the fenced-off path near the bridge was feeling the heat on a warm afternoon. It panted, preened, and briefly sunned each wing.

The young Pied Wagtail -- again I think there's only one -- was on the edge of the lake at the Lido restaurant terrace.

Its father was also there. The young one wasn't bothering him and seems to be independent now.

The male Little Owl at the Round Pond was in his usual place in the lime tree.

Sad news: one of the young Grey Herons has died. Its sibling was standing sadly next to it at the island. Probably it hadn't picked up enough skill at fishing, and starved. Let's hope the survivor is managing better. Both herons from this year's first brood made it through the transition.

On the latest nest at the east end of the island, an adult was looking down into the nest. It seems likely that some chicks have hatched.

Both the sets of two Mute cygnets on the Serpentine were all right. These are the ones from the nest at the landing stage ...

... and here are the two from the Lido restaurant terrace,

The killer was on the Long Water, safely away from them, with his mate and six cygnets.

The male swan from the failed nest at the boathouse was back in place, though his mate wasn't and there is no sign yet that they mean to have another try.

The miscellaneous Egyptian goslings were on the edge of the lake. The older two are quite large now.

I took the following five pictures and videos standing in exactly the same place in the Italian Garden.

The Moorhens' nest was well hidden in irises and this is the first time I've seen one of the young, already several weeks old. It surveyed the scene and preened.

The oldest carp are twelve years old, hatched from eggs brought in on the feet of birds after the fountain was drained and refilled during the renovations of 2011. In this time they've grown to about 20 inches (50 cm) long. If left undisturbed they'll get a lot bigger.

Backswimmers, Notonecta glauca, dashed around upside down just below the surface of the water. They're carnivorous, preying on small water creatures.

A Blue-Tailed Damselfly rested on an iris leaf.

A spider crossed on a strand of silk and arrived on a twig. I think this is a Wolf Spider but am uncertain of the species.

In the Flower Walk a Copper Chafer Beetle, Protaetia cuprea, walked across an oxeye daisy.

This beetle landed on my arm near the Albert Memorial. I think it's a Lesser Thick-Legged Flower Beetle, Ischnomera cyanea. Its back legs are not nearly as thick as those of its larger relative the Thick-Legged Flower Beetle, Oedemera nobilis, which I photographed near the Long Water on 27 May.


  1. Hi Ralph, an absolutely SUPERB pic of the little owl.....we'll done you !.. what sad news about the heron, I've never heard of a heron chick dying in that way ..good that the Egyptian goslings are growing to a safe size now....I wonder what the species of wolf spider it will turn out to be ? Regards,Stephen....

    1. I hope Conehead 54 is reading this. I may very well have got the beetles wrong too.

  2. Hi again Ralph, COULD it be EITHER a "grey"wolf spider or a "dune" wolf spider, that's as far as my limited knowledge of such things takes me........PS, is that unusual for the heron chick ??..... Regards,Stephen.....

    1. Thanks for confirming that it's a wolf spider at least.

      Most of the young herons in the park have survived independence, but it's a tough time and losses do occur. Dreadfully sad to see the survivor not knowing what's happened to its sibling.

  3. That you should be able to ID all those insects fills me with awe. I would have gone, dragonfly, spider, beetle, another beetle.
    Was the Little Owl calling at you today?
    Very sad about the little Heron. Poor thing. Poor sibling too, looking on bewildered and uncomprehendingly. I don't think they have a notion of someone else's death like corvids do.

    1. Google Lens is pretty good at identifying insects in photographs, often only roughly but you can then narrow the search down by looking at pictures on the web, assessing the likelihood of them being in Britain at this time, and sometimes thinking of what plant thy were on. Even so, as you know I often guess wrong.

      No, the Little Owl was quiet today. It was warm and he was in a good mood.

      I'm sure that herons don't understand death. I think corvids are unique among birds in this respect. Elephants understand too.

  4. Hi again Ralph, actually the narrowing down to a "grey" or "dune" ,was down to an old fashioned textbook , (remember those?).I have not even heard of this Google lens feature until this morning....corvids ARE remarkable birds, I neighbour here volunteers at Chester zoo and has told me some amazing stories of when the elephants lose one of the family, and how they react to it.......(Grieving)...regards,Stephen...

  5. Peregrines: Monday morning and Sunday evening.

    1. Thanks. None at all on the tower here for quite a while.

  6. Theodore - do you have an email address I could reach you on?

    1. You'd better do this both through me. It's not a good idea to put an email address on a public blog. I have to, of course, but I am inured to spam and well protected from viruses.