Wednesday, 23 July 2014

The Common Tern family were back on the lake. One adult and two young sat on the posts near the bridge ...

... and the other adult, perhaps bored with feeding duty, had gone off to the Long Water and was perched next to a Cormorant.

Cormorants have been scarce recently on the lake, but are beginning to come back -- there were five today. The fish are beginning to be large and numerous enough to interest these ravenous birds. And, of course, it has attracted the terns.

A Blackbird was eating blackberries on the east side of the Long Water.

A young Grey Wagtail was preening its wing in the sunshine on the little plank bridge over the waterfall in the Dell.

It was hatched in a nest under this bridge, which Grey Wagtails have been using for some years. They like to build their nests under some overhanging object near running water, so this spot is ideal for them, made better still by an abundance of insects over the little stream below.

The eldest Greylag gosling -- an only child -- is now looking almost grown up, though it is not quite adult size and there is still a slightly speckled look to its plumage.

The other two Greylag goslings from a later brood were with it beside the Serpentine, but they are still small and much younger looking.

The male Little Owl was sunbathing on his favourite branch.

Today's butterfly is a Red Admiral -- there has been a picture of one already this year, but they are very splendid.

Its scientific name, for some reason, is Vanessa atalanta. Vanessa is a name made up by Jonathan Swift for his pupil Esther Vanhomrigh, and Atalanta is the name of a fierce and athletic Greek girl who hunted the Calydonian boar, and would only agree to marry a man who could beat her at running. She was finally, and unfairly, beaten by Hippomenes, who tricked her into slowing down by throwing golden apples in her path (as one does).


  1. Thank you for a lovely post. That Red Admiral is truly splendid, the explanation of the latin name totally new to me!

    1. Thank you. But the attempt to explain the name makes it even more inexplicable.