Monday 28 May 2012

Today I did the routine monthly bird count. Results were much as expected: the number of Great Crested Grebes down to 10 after peaking at 19 earlier in the spring, and the number of Greylag Geese rising as they come in to moult their wing feathers during most of the month of June. The lake provides a refuge for them when they are flightless, the only danger being from the dogs of irresponsible park visitors, and possibly a few foxes at night -- but there are few foxes in the park since the rabbits were nearly wiped out by an outbreak of myxomatosis.

There were two pairs of Coal Tits behind the Albert Memorial, with the males loudly singing their iambic song.

The Coots in the Italian Garden have chosen a most eccentric ornament for their nest. While they collect all kinds of objects, usually they prefer red things and shiny metal foil. The bird sitting on the nest stood up for a moment and I saw at least five eggs, maybe six.

The Moorhens' nest at the Italian Garden also has eggs in it, but it is hard to count them through the reeds. This rather obscured photograph gives an idea of the problem.

The Egyptian Geese still have all their eight young, and the four pairs of Mute Swans still have 18 cygnets. There was just one Mallard duckling near the bridge.

To add to the pictures of birds sunbathing, here is a female Blackbird looking as if she had crashed. A few seconds after I had taken this picture she got up, shook herself to straighten her feathers, and flew away looking as neat as usual.

Elizabeth has made a small collection of some pictures of Blue Tits at a nestbox in her garden, which you can find here.

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