Saturday 6 July 2024

Staying indoors

A day of wind, rain and sunny intervals. It was drizzling when I went to see the Little Owls at the Round Pond, and all that could be seen was the female sheltering at the back of the hole.

A Jay was looking windswept in a maple near Temple Gate.

There was little to see in the way of songbirds, so here's a Chiffchaff photographed earlier by Ahmet Amerikali at Russia Dock Woodlands.

The young Peregrines were out on the roof of the deserted hotel, an even grimmer Brutalist building than the Kensington Barracks liked by their parents.

Pigeon Eater is less often seen now in his old place at the Dell restaurant, but he was there today. He had just missed a pigeon and was annoyed.

The Grey Heron chicks were huddled in the drizzle.

A heron flew past the capitals of the Wren Alcove at the Italian Gardens (they are in the Composite order, Ionic on top, Corinthian below). It's notable that the stonework is in much better condition than that of the Italian Garden, although the building is more than 150 years older, having been constructed in 1705.

The alcove designed by Sir Christopher Wren originally stood at the south end of an avenue leading up to the south front of Kensington Palace, designed by Wren's colleague Nicholas Hawksmoor in 1695 as an addition to the fairly modest building of five years earlier. It's in the centre foreground of this print made in the 1720s.

As you can see, its plain brick back faces on to Kensington Road. When the road was first built up in the 1860s residents thought this was unsightly, and it was moved to its present position in 1867. It's now backed by a little brick house whose rooms must be an extraordinary shape with the big apse protruding into them.

The younger Great Crested Grebe chick on the Long Water was on its father's back, prodding him unmercifully.

The nest at the island was being maintained. Grebe nests slump continuously and have to be frequently built up.

The six Mute cygnets on the Long Water were eating algae, accompanied by their mother. Their diet is supplemented by a few small water creatures for extra protein, but even so it's surprising how fast and large they grow on this unpromising stuff. Probably after a few more years of Net Zero enforcement we'll be reduced to eating it ourselves.

One of the cygnets on the Serpentine was resting on the edge with its mother keeping an eye on it.

The other was at the Lido with its mother. It has already learnt how to tout for food by looking sweet.

Egyptian Geese on the edge of the Serpentine nibbled at plane leaves blown down by the strong wind. They can't make much impression on these tough waxy leaves and it's hard to know what they see in them, but other species of geese like them too.  Perhaps they enjoy the challenge.

The foul weather had kept most people away from the park, and Canadas and Greylags had the shore almost to themselves at the Triangle.

In spite of the wind, there was a good number of Common Carder bees in the wildflower patch at the back of the Lido. They favoured viper's bugloss ...

... and red clover.


  1. Now that I think of it, how deep does the hole go? Is she standing, or sitting?
    I am old enough to remember then algae were touted as the superfood of the future. Perhaps there's something to it, considering how well swans thrive on it.

    1. I think she's standing at the back of a slope. But I have no means to hover in front of the hotel to look in.

      There was a suggestion that space travellers should grow Chlorella algae in tanks on board their craft as food. I don't think it was ever tried out.

  2. Could it be aphids or some other insect on the plane leaves that the geese are after? Jim

    1. They seem to have their share of insects pests and other organisms: see this article. Possibly towards the end of the video the bird is after something brown on the lower edge of the leaves. I must look more closely at these trees.