Sunday, 20 May 2012
Large clouds of flying insects around the lake, and the Swifts had returned in large numbers to take advantage of them. There were also quite a few House Martins, both feeding over the lake and circling the Kuwaiti embassy. I hope that more nests will be built.
On the edge of the Serpentine a Grey Wagtail was also feeding, by suddenly jumping up from the ground to seize a passing insect and then landing to wait for the next one.
The young Pied Wagtail which has been begging for food from its parents also showed that it was learning to hunt by catching a crane fly, a slow-flying insect ideal for beginners.
It was feeding time for the young Starlings too, in this case with a piece of biscuit. The parents patrol the terrace of the Lido restaurant looking for scraps on unoccupied tables. Sometimes they seize food from occpied tables too, to the amusement or horror of the diners. Potato chips are particularly sought after.
In the Leaf Yard, a pair of Song Thrushes was having a loud singing duel. It is easy to think of their song as repetitive, if cheerful. But when challenged by a rival they become quite creative, though they can never challenge a Blackbird for sheer musical invention.
Writing this a bit late, as I have been for a long walk beside the river. I went past St Mary's church on the river bank in Battersea, where there is a colony of Greylag Geese living around a ramp that leads down into the water. As usual, they had produced two broods of goslings, thriving in the uncertain conditions of a tidal river in a heavily built-up area. There is no need for people to mow the grass in the churchyard or the nearby housing estate: the geese keep it down to bowling-green smoothness.