Saturday, 4 October 2014

The Mandarins are out in their new plumage, with the drake looking unbelievably gaudy ...

... and the female in a chic grey outfit.

The Red Crested Pochards are also back in their breeding plumage, the drake with his lofty ginger wig.

They make this change very early, since they will not be breeding until next spring. In contrast, the Great Crested Grebes are going into their plain non-breeding plumage for winter.

On a normal lake the grebes would also be breeding next spring, but the restricted availablility of small fish here means that they don't start until late summer.

There is no shortage of fish of all sizes at the moment. This Grey Heron has just caught a roach under the parapet of the Italian Garden, which is one of the best fishing spots on the lake.

More Shovellers have arrived, all of them on the Long Water. I think these two are immature males, but am not sure as they might be adult drakes just coming out of eclipse. There are no drakes in full breeding plumage on the lake at the moment.

There were Pied Wagtails sprinting all over the Parade Ground, which was almost deserted by humans on this rainy day.

The male Tawny Owl was not out when I went past the nest tree for the first time. Later the rain stopped and I went past again. There was a tremendous noise of Jays and Magpies, so that it was clear that he was visible to them inside the nest hole. Then they gave up and flew away, and a minute later the owl popped up and looked mildly at me as if nothing had happened.

The Little Owls, on the other hand, were nowhere to be seen.

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