Monday 18 June 2012

The indomitable Coots in the Italian Garden, after a couple of days mourning for their lost chicks, have reoccupied their nest and got their gonads back in gear and are hard at work making more chicks. They are not glamorous birds, but you have to admire them.

The geese on the lake are now well into regrowing their wing feathers. Here is the wing of a Greylag. The packaging on the feathers is drying up and splitting, and the new feathers are spreading out.

The branch that fell off the willow tree near the bridge is, improbably, still alive in spite of being snapped almost all the way through. It is the cambium layer under the bark that carries the sap to nourish the branch; the wood in the middle is just a mechanical support. Evidently enough of the outer layers of the branch has remained unbroken to allow sap to get through and keep the leaves green. This is excellent news for water birds, since the branches in the water will provide nest sites and good cover. For years the tree was a reliable nesting place for Great Crested Grebes, but after the branch they used was broken when the bridge was being repaired, they lost their site and had to make do with very insecure places. Now -- if only the quantity of fish in the lake would increase -- they can return in comfort.

One of the workmen re-erecting the Henry Moore statue is a birdwatcher. I saw him standing on the scaffolding surveying the lake through binoculars.

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