Saturday, 14 July 2012

The Great Black-Backed Gull was on the Long Water again, in its usual place on the posts opposite the Peter Pan statue. Here it was joined by the Odd Couple, a pair of a Canada-Greylag hybrid and a Greylag. They have been together for several years. Presumably the hybrid is sterile, so we can't expect any three-quarter Greylag goslings.

The Greylags with new goslings were near the Bluebird boat hire cabin, where some people were feeding and photographing them. The Mute Swans with four cygnets were there too, but their young are no longer tiny and fluffy and cute, and were being ignored. The male swan tried to muscle his way in, but was seen off with furious hissing.

On the edge of the Serpentine, a brood of five Mallard ducklings were sheltering in a clump of plants while their mother preened herself. These too proved irresistible to the photographers, including me.

The Willow Warbler showed itself briefly at the Lido, dashing between two flower beds. I just had time to notice its pale yellow sides. Overhead, half a dozen House Martins were catching the copious insects, with a Pied Wagtail hunting at a lower altitude.

I went to the Round Pond: another four House Martins and a solitary Swift. Two Lesser Black-Backed Gulls were chasing pigeons, but didn't manage to catch any while I was there. Some of the Greylag Geese, now able to fly again after their moult, had moved up here from the Serpentine, which is increasingly disturbed by the Olympic building site and the hideous thumping and mooing of amplified pop music from the concert enclosure.

But in the areas where the park is not being desecrated by buildings, the persistent rain has made it amazingly green. Here the beautiful mixture of grasses in front of the Queen's Temple takes a purple tint from the flower heads of the picturesquely named Yorkshire Fog grass.

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