Thursday 14 March 2013

A shoal of perch under the parapet of the Italian Garden attracted first a Great Crested Grebe and then three Cormorants, always alert to the success of other fishing birds. Here one of them stands on the edge of the peculiar water filter that was part of the Victorian mechanism of the fountains.

One could not say that Cormorants are beautiful birds, but this one is looking quite glossy. It is just coming into breeding plumage. The pale patch below its wing at the top of its leg is the beginning of a white patch that will remain until midsummer. The white feathers around the neck are also more numerous at this time.

The Great Crested Grebes are not in a hurry and can simply take a nap until they get a chance to go fishing again.

The pair of Mandarins on the Long Water noticed someone feeding the ducks in front of Peter Pan, and came over for their share. The females in particular are quite aggressive and will chase a larger Mallard if annoyed.

The mysterious Barnacle Goose and the three Canada-Greylag hybrids with speckled heads, both of which are normally on the Serpentine, came on to the Long Water. All are quite used to park life and were pursuing some French tourists begging for bread. Foreign visitors are astonished by the boldness of the park birds.

There is a very small Greylag Goose on the Serpentine, as you can see from its size in relation to a couple of Black-Headed Gulls.

It has the white line along the lower edge of its folded wings that indicates an adult, so evidently this is as big as it is going to get.

There were five rabbits on the Vista by the Henry Moore sculpture. Is the population finally recovering after the crash a few years ago?

Still no sign of the Tawny Owls, but several people are watching for them daily, and there will be news here as soon as they reappear.

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