Sunday, 3 June 2012
Only a brief visit to the park today, because my girlfriend and I went to the Embankment to see the Queen go by in her boat, and we loyally waved Union Jacks hastily made out of paper napkins. Hyde Park was noisy too because of the party there, and it was no day for quiet observation. However, the Starlings were busily foraging for scaps discarded by humans, and indeed for food that the humans had intended to eat themselves. Here a party masses on the clock tower of the Lido before making another raid.
There were still a large number of Swifts over both lakes, equally undisturbed by the doings of earthbound creatures. They were mostly at an altitude of 30 to 50 feet, clearly the height chosen today by the insects they feed on. On other days they mostly have been very low over the water, and sometimes at a height of several hundred feet. It would be interesting to know which insects are found at what height. I think that their highest forays catch mainly small spiders floating downwind on strands of silk, which apparently make up a large part of their diet.
The first young Chaffinches are appearing, hard to see in the bushes and harder to photograph on this dark drizzly day, but I hope for a decent picture when the weather clears up again. Young Moorhens are also beginning to appear, tiny balls of black fluff on amazingly long legs and big feet. It is hard to see how these fold up when they are inside the egg.