Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Several Greenfinches are singing their odd wheezing song around the Long Water.

They are usually hard to see, perched in the leaves at the top of a tree, and much the same colour as the leaves. But this one obligingly came out on a bare branch.

On the Long Water opposite, a pair of Great Crested Grebes have a nest in a reasonable state of completion.

It is hard to tell how serious they are about nesting in spring. Grebes that wait till summer before starting, when the fish have spawned and there is plenty to eat, are much more successful on this lake. In this picture you can just see a Coot hanging around, thinking of seizing the nest for its own use, a move which the grebe foiled simply by sitting down. Grebes always win fights for ownership, but Coots are persistent and constantly sneak back.

Another Coot had seen something red floating on the Long Water. Coots love red things, and often use them as nest ornaments.

I think it was a tomato. The Coot pecked it and removed a piece which it ate, but this caused the object to sink.

Another two Coots were fighting.

The one that is jumping on to the other managed to completely submerge it, giving its its opponent no option but to submit as its head was held under water. These fights are seldom as conclusive, and usually both parties give up and content themselves with hostile displays.

Near the Italian Garden a Cormorant in breeding plumage was fishing. It is a symphony in blue, brown, white, black, orange and grubby yellow, set off by turquoise eyes.

But it was the only Cormorant here, so its strange panoply was displayed in vain.

Near the bridge, several Ring-Necked Parakeets were eating catkins.

There was no sign of any of the owls, despite several visits. As soon as there is any news of Tawny owlets, it will be reported here.

Almost all the Black-Headed Gulls have now flown off to their breeding grounds, which may be as distant as Scandinavia or merely a British rubbish dump.


  1. hi ralph

    facinating report of birdlife activity around the lake. it really gets going this time of year doesn't it. what's your favourite season in the park? btw loved your goldcrest pic yesterday. pin sharp. and i know from experience how elusive & flighty these birds can be. i always seem to se them when least expected.
    Mark W2

  2. I think the best season is early summer, when many of the young birds emerge. But right now it's that magic moment, Tawny owlet time, and we are eagerly waiting for the first sight of them.

  3. much enjoyed your photo of the Greenfinch - who looks like he's deliberately posing. Cormorant seeming really archaic and strange right now

  4. Amazing angle on the Cormorant! I have never seen one looking like that. Thank you.

  5. Thank you all for your kind words.

  6. What a brilliant blog. I have to come down to London for work, and will be staying near Hyde Park so I wondered wha bird life there was, plenty it seems. Looking forward to seeing what I can see, thanks for the inspiration