Sunday 8 April 2012

Not an owl to be seen. Well, one day there are seven, the next none; so it goes. The lack was partly made up by splendid song in the bushes around the Long Water, including six Blackcaps, two Chiffchaffs, three Song Thrushes, a Mistle Thrush and a Goldcrest. Farther from the water there were several Green Woodpeckers, maybe as many as four, yaffling and drumming. All three Grey Wagtails were hunting around the bridge.

The prolific but clueless pair of Egyptian Geese at the Vista have lost the last survivor of their second brood this year. They are inattentive parents and let their young swim around on the lake to be picked off by Lesser Black-Backed Gulls, of which there are at least twenty, many of them first year, as well as several Herring Gulls. However, the two broods of three Egyptians on the Serpentine are still there, now maybe large enough to be out of danger of being snatched.

There were two lively Great Crested Grebe fights, each two on two, on the Long Water and the Serpentine. An unattached bird was keeping in practice by menacing a Coot.

On the path near Peter Pan, a Grey Heron was watching a rat moving around in the shrubbery waiting for a chance to grab it. But the rat, perhaps sensing that it was on the menu, moved off. I have seen a heron seize a rat by the tail and toss it in the air to catch it head-first and swallow it. It is remarkable what herons will try to swallow: here is a picture of one in the Dell trying to eat an adult Moorhen. After a good deal of gulping it flew away with its victim stil clamped in its beak, so I don't know whether it succeeded.

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