Thursday 17 May 2012

The Mute Swans have already started taking their cygnets around the lake to beg for food, a tactic that  they know is extremely effective, as no one can resist their fluffy babies. When I saw them they were working the waterside tables at the Lido restaurant and getting plenty of contributions.

The Egyptian Geese still have all their brood of eight, despite a dozen Herring Gulls and a couple of Lesser Black-Backs eyeing them from a few yards away. When I passed, the male was noisily seeing off a Coot that had got too close. Clearly he has the right attitude for keeping his offspring alive. Here one of them investigates a swan feather but finds that it is not good to eat.

At the Tawny Owls' nest site, a couple of owlets were still partly visible through the leaves. This distant photograph is not good, but it does show that they now have completely adult plumage and their juvenile grey fluff has disappeared.

The Pied Flycatcher was on the Long Water, and for the first time I saw her sitting still on a branch. But she was on the far side of the Vista, barely recognisable even through binoculars and well beyond the range of my camera.

Nearby, two pairs of Great Crested Grebes were enjoying a territorial dispute, with a lot of threatening and circling and diving and loud territorial calls -- aark-kk, aark-kk. But the grebes have been very slow about setting up nests, with the exception of the pair that have already nested on the Serpentine island and been raided by a Grey Heron. These were looking at the same nest site again. I hope they don't choose it, because it is as vulnerable as it ever was.

There has been no sight or sound of Little Grebes for at least a fortnight. I am beginning to think they have gone away.

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