Friday, 10 June 2016

The Little Owl in the oak tree near the Albert Memorial made a welcome return after several months. He was sitting on the branch that has his nest hole in it.



The male Little Owl in the chestnut tree was also on view, though I couldn't find the female or the owlets today. He has slightly torn one of the claws on his left foot and it was obviously hurting him, because he kept holding it up. We all wish this splendid bird a quick recovery.


The number of Greylag goslings on the Serpentine now stands at 16, the highest total I can remember. The families appeared in quick succession, with four ...


... three ...


... seven ...


... and two.


The Coots in the nest in the middle of the Long Water have hatched some chicks, but carelessly left their nest and a Herring Gull saw its chance. This dramatic picture was taken by Virginia Grey



The Black Swan was was again wandering around in the undergrowth on the edge of the Long Water near the bridge. I haven't seen him with his girlfriend for some days now.


The Mallard drakes are going into eclipse, and are looking rather tatty. Soon they will look like females, but will retain their yellow bills.


The Grey Herons' nest to the east of the one I have been photographing seemed to be deserted, though it is very hard to see what is going on there as it is a deep nest mostly hidden by leaves. However, it has been active all this time and there are now two chicks in it. In this fine picture by Virginia one of them can be seen behind the open bill of the one in front.


When I looked at the nest today I could see an adult standing on the nest, but the chicks had become as invisible as ever.

Three male Reed Warblers were singing near the Diana fountain.


One of them was not in the reeds, but flying around in the shrubbery between the reed bed and the Lido restaurant, singing from different places.

This ladybird was on the east side of the Long Water. It may be a 13-Spot Ladybird, Hippodamia 13-punctata, but actually it has 17 spots, including the single one at the front of the junction of its wing cases.


What an odd genus name, suggesting that it is a horse-tamer, like the epithet of Hector that is the last word in the Iliad:
ὣς οἵ γ’ ἀμφίεπον τάφον Ἕκτορος ἱπποδάμοιο.
Such were the funeral rites of Hector, tamer of horses.

Update: but Jim n,L. thinks it's one of the many forms of the invasive Harlequin Ladybird, Harmonia axyridis. Oh well, another illusion shattered.

10 comments:

  1. Insects have the weirdest scientific names. Spiders for one tend to have much prettier names than they certainly deserve (like Argiope, Marpissa, Neriene, Pelegrina Galathea and so on).

    Let's hope the Little Owl makes a speedy recovery. Poor thing, it looks in pain.

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    1. The spiders sound like gracious classical heroines of myth and legend. And why not, considering the fate of Arachne.

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  2. I think they should do Springwatch from Hyde Park next year - it's got it all!

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    1. I do hope they don't. I've seen the BBC filming in the park, thumping around with vans and trolleys and huge cameras and vast teams of unnecessary hangers-on, causing the birds to flee.

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  3. That does look like one of the kaleidoscopic variations of Harmonia axyridis, the unstoppable Harlequin ladybird, with the distinctive 'bat out of hell' figure on its pronotum. Hippodamia would also tend to look more elongated. Jim n.L.

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    1. Thanks. Harlequins have a creepy ability to look normal and nice.

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  4. Amazing action shot with the coots and the gull.

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    1. Virginia is very good at these shots.

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  5. My poet-friend Jonathan Williams once remarked that the welsh word for litter, 'Ysbwriel', looked like the name of a heroine out of Tolkien.

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    1. Clearly an elf. Tolkien's elves often have an -el ending to give them a kind of Biblical gravity, though the few snippets of Elvish in the books show that it is clearly a Romance language.

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