Monday 29 April 2013

The Tawny owlets are very hard to photograph when they are stuck in the middle of an evergreen tree. But yesterday Paul Sawford found one that had ventured out on to a horse chestnut just coming into leaf, and got this superb shot.

This is one of the three younger owlets. The eldest is already well on the way to turning an adult brown. Today I found two owlets and their mother in the tall holm oak just to the east of the California bay.

Coots fight constantly, but at this time of the year they fight even more.

The male of the pair nesting beside the post offshore from Peter Pan has been ferociously chasing off any other Coot that comes near the nest. This is hard news for the many Coots that usually gather here to be fed.

The pair of Mute Swans nesting at the Italian Gardens have let things slide on the Long Water, and today there were 14 other swans on it. The male will chase them all away in due course.

The female Great Crested Grebe on the right of this picture is adopting an alluring pose, clearly tempting the male. But grebes only mate when they have built a nest, so in effect she is saying 'Build a nest with me and you can have your way.'

These birds were on the Serpentine between the Lido and the bridge, where the newly arrived grebes always go because they have not yet claimed territories, and it is a wide open area. I think that they are only beginning to be a couple, since an existing pair would not bother with such tactics: they would display and dance and go and build a nest at the first opportunity. However, this area of water is not a peaceful as it might be, because shortly after I took this picture one of the grebes from the nest on the other side of the bridge came out and chased them farther down the lake.

Song Thrushes have been rather silent during the recent cold weather, and are taking their time before they start singing again. This one was in the shrubbery at the northeast corner of the bridge. He sang a couple of phrases but no more.

There was a fair number of Swifts over the Serpentine, all at considerable altitude although there are plenty of small flies just above the water. But they know where the most insects are.

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