Tuesday 15 January 2013

A male Kestrel was on the ground near the Serpentine Gallery, looking for worms -- their diet is more humble than those of the larger falcons. As soon as I saw him he flew into a tree and regarded me with annoyance.

There was a report yesterday of the pair of Little Owls  in this area, a couple of hundred yards from their base on the southern edge of the leaf yard, but I didn't see them. Nor did I see a Tawny Owl. The female is in their nest, and the male, who often sits on the broken trunk of the nest tree at this time, has not been seen for three days.  Other absences included yesterday's female Goldeneye on the Long Water; it was probably a one-day visit, as often with the rarer ducks on this lake.

The Bearded Tits were in the reed bed as usual. They are probably sisters, since they have consecutive ring numbers.

While the row of photographers was standing in front of the reed bed, a Robin came out and perched on the fence to stare curiously at the odd behaviour of the humans.

All the Mute Swans on the Serpentine were in a vile temper, chasing each other and everything that moved. Here a harmless Tufted Duck gets the treatment.

I don't know why they have become more obstreperous lately. There are probably several reasons. They had got into the habit of coming down from the Round Pond to beg food from the visitors at the funfair, and now that the funfair is closed they can't do it any more; but the arrival of many swans has made the lake overcrowded, as they see it. The young swans hatched last year have grown up and, although they are still grey, are behaving like adults -- that is, violently. And maybe the distant prospect of spring has set their hormones going.

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