Monday, 20 July 2009


Last Thursday, the 'promised' rain from 5pm had not materialised, my other half had gone to his more or less monthly dc4420 (aka Defcon London) meetings, so I decided to go to the Wetland Centre, as they open late on Thursdays during the summer.
On the way there, in the Piccadilly tube train about half way between Barons Court and Hammersmith, I noticed a Kestrel hovering around the A4 between the Ark and Linacre Court. Maybe it is one of the ones I saw a while back? No way of knowing, really, and I haven't seen any other since.

It had been quite a while since my last visit, actually my only visit this year when my sister visited in March, and there were a few changes (the recycled sculptures and the Bat house mostly) but on the whole it was pretty much the same. My first port of call was the Observatory and I immediately saw a Common Tern chick fed by one of its parents in one of the rafts on the main lake. A fair few ducks, coots and moorhens, some Cormorants, some Lapwings, including young ones, a family of Swans, the usual at this time of year. What struck me though was that the hirundines did not seem to be quite as numerous as in previous years.
I then made my way to the Peacock Tower, while the Starlings were starting to arrive. Just as I got into one of the hides, I noticed some commotion: a Lesser Black Backed Gull had caught one of the numerous ducklings or moorhen or coot chicks. One second something black was struggling in its beak, the second later it had been swallowed, hence the title of this post. Life and death in action...
At the Peacock Tower. 2 Little Ringed Plovers were spending a lot of energy trying to get a pair of Crows away from one of those wire covers. I'm pretty sure I saw one of them doing the pretending to be injured trick, but those crows were obstinate. Though, the count of LRPs had not changed the next day, so they got away 'empty-handed'.
As the sun set, light was really eerie, the main reason why I like those late opening evenings. I tried to take a few photos, but none of them did any justice to it, but, to be fair, I didn't try that hard :)
The photo above was taken from the Observatory around 8pm. You'll have to take my word for it that the black spot in the middle at the bottom is a Great Crested Grebe with a chick on it back... Difficult to believe from this photo that on my way back about an hour later I would get totally soaked as the heavens opened as I stepped off the bus. Still, I was grinning as I got home, I love summer rain for some reason...

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