Saturday 5 May 2012

The three Red Crested Pochard ducklings have survived the night, and their mother had them well hidden under bushes at the edge of the Long Water. If she could keep them there, they would be safe, but ducks can't remember even the most important things for very long. I didn't see the Greylag family, as the Lido bathing area has now been closed off for paid bathing, and this is where they tend to be.

There were lots of Swifts, at least 100, over the lake, some swooping low over the surface, others at altitude over Knightsbridge. Among them I saw at least a dozen Swallows and the same number of House Martins. No sign of any House Martins taking an interest in the French embassy yet, but there is still time. The nests are built inside the circular recesses containing stucco roses on the soffit (the horizontal downward facing surface) of the ornate Victorian cornice.

The Great Crested Grebe on the nest was still holding up his wings as if there were babies underneath (and I can say 'he' here because the one who was on the nest at this time was almost certainly male, more heavily built than his mate and with a wide V-shaped crest). Here is a picture showing the characteristic position of the wings -- sorry about the poor quality, but it was taken at extreme range in bad light.

Again,no sign of a Tawny Owl. I think they have finally vanished into the leaves, so that even experienced owl watchers can no longer find them. They are still there, of course, and a visitor at dawn or dusk may be lucky enough to hear them calling, or even see them setting out for the night's hunting.

Finally, a picture of a strange encounter on the Long Water.

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