Wednesday, 5 March 2014

The Great Crested Grebes on the Long Water opposite Peter Pan have started building a nest.

One pair of the Grey Herons on the Serpentine island have restarted work on their nest. This one is biting off nearby twigs to add to the messy heap.

Both of these are uncertain events. Grebes play at nest building for some time before they get serious. Also on this lake, early nests are less likely to succeed than those built in summer when there are plenty of small fish. As for the herons, nest building has been a stop-start affair that has been going on since January.

The Mute Swans on the Long Water have also returned to a nest site they had abandoned earlier, in the reeds under the parapet of the Italian Garden. Here the male guards the site while his mate goes off to eat fresh green willow shoots, a favourite food. Soon the foliage on all the weeping willow trees around the lake will end in a sharply defined fringe at the maximum height a swan can reach.

This was not a good site last year, when a fox killed three of their cygnets. Two foxes have been seen on the west side of the Long Water several times in the past few days. But they have no safe choice, since foxes can reach anywhere on the shore of the Long Water, and there is no island.

The pair of Mistle Thrushes near the Serpentine Gallery also seem to have a nest, since they are always seen in much the same spot and are attacking any Carrion Crows, Jays or Magpies that come near.

In fact I didn't see this one on the grass, because they are so well camouflaged. Secure in the knowledge that it was invisible, the bird stayed in place until I had almost trodden on it before flying up into a lime tree where I photographed it.

There were five Mandarins at Peter Pan. This is not news, but it is impossible not to photograph these wonderful creatures.

The male Tawny Owl came out early today, and stayed on his balcony all day. This is good for people who want to see him, but of course it also means that he was asleep and you couldn't see his mysterious dark eyes staring at you.

1 comment:

  1. The Mistle Thrushes that visit our little garden must also be starting to nest. First I saw one in a tree with somethng in its mouth, standing unhappily waiting for what ever had scared it to move away. The there was an almightty racket as the pair of them mobbed a couple of Magpies who came to the garden. I don't hink they will succeed in keeping the Magpies away. They are regular visitors and even made two nests in one of the tall London Planes a couple of years ago.