Wednesday, 24 July 2013

The pair of Great Crested Grebes who had one chick, and have just kicked it out to fend for itself, are, as I suspected, nesting again, almost in the same place as before on the northeast corner of the island. You can get occasional glimpses of the nest through a gap between two wire baskets.

So there are two grebes' nests now. The one opposite Peter Pan is still going strong, and I saw the pair mating, almost hidden by the leaves of the weeping willow in which they nested.

The first juvenile Black-Headed Gull of the year has turned up at Peter Pan.

These small gulls mature much faster than larger ones such as Herring Gulls, and get fully adult plumage in their second year. Only the colour of their legs and feet gives away their age, as it gradually changes over several years from marmalade to beetroot. Herring Gulls and Lesser Black-Backed Gulls take four years to attain a fully adult appearance.

A Little Owl was again in the first sweet chestnut tree to the west of the nest tree. It must have been the female, as she is much shyer than her mate and vanishes if you look at her. This time, as soon as she saw people near her tree, she flew fifty yards farther west into the next chestnut tree in the line -- there is a gap in the line here where two of the old trees have died. This is the longest flight I have seen her take. Earlier this morning, one of the Little Owls was heard calling incessantly as if something was annoying it.

The three young Moorhens are still doing well in the Italian Garden pond. Here they have all decided to cry out at once.

The sunlight caught this Egyptian Goose at just the right angle to light up the brilliant iridescent green of its secondary wing feathers.

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