Saturday 5 January 2013

The female Tawny Owl was back on her usual balcony today, after an absence of several days, so she has not yet retired to her nest.

There were two interesting rings on gulls. In Kensington Gardens at the Vista there was a first-winter Black-Headed Gull with a metal ring on its left leg (British gulls have a ring on their right leg)
And on the north side of the Serpentine, an adult Common Gull with a colour ring on its left leg, white on red
and a metal ring on its right leg
There is a large and long established bird recording station on the island of Helgoland in the North Sea.

The two young Mute Swans in the Italian Garden were chasing each other furiously in the small pond.

A swan's tactic is to pen its rival into a corner, but these ponds are octagonal so this is impossible, and round and round they went, occasionally breaking off for a spell of irritable preening. If one of the swans is actually chased out, it can't go back to the Long Water because the ferocious adult male will beat it up. So it will have to go to the Serpentine, or to the Round Pond, which is the home of the low status swans that are not trying to assert themselves on the main lake.

The pair of Great Crested Grebes that are the parents of the youngest one hatched in September were re-examining last year's nest site. They broke off for a dance.

The site, on the outside of the net enclosing the reed bed near the outflow of the lake, is not a good one, but they will be encouraged by the fact that they managed to rear one chick on it last year. Of course, it is too early for them to nest yet.

A Carrion Crow on the parapet of the Italian Garden, given a digestive biscuit that broke in half, managed to pick up both pieces neatly before flying away to eat them in a sheltered spot away from marauding gulls.

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