Saturday 27 April 2013

The whole Tawny Owl family could be seen in the Flower Walk today. The owlets were in the California bay tree, mostly hidden by leaves, but I could see bits of the eldest and a confused mass of grey fluff which was probably all the other three. Their mother was looking very fine in her usual place in the holm oak.

But their father was also in the California bay -- this is not a very good view of him, but I include the picture because it is the first time I have seen him since the owlets came out. As usual, he was fast asleep and took no notice of me crashing about in the bushes to find the best angle.

The Great Crested Grebes nesting under the willow tree near the Serpentine bridge now have five eggs, which I managed to see as the female was turning them.

Four grebe nests are now visible on the Long Water, all on the east side; and two on the Serpentine, one at the northeast corner of the island and the other in the reeds at the east end of the lake. There may well be others out of sight.

There is no problem with seeing the nest of these Coots, since it is built on the chain connecting the posts just offshore from the statue of Peter Pan. Here the pair work together to lay a large twig in the best place.

This spiky nest looks extremely uncomfortable, but when they have finished it they will line it with leaves, and may decorate it with any bright coloured objects they find -- they prefer red and shiny silver.

A pair of Pied Wagtails were flirting on the net enclosing the reeds to the east of the Lido. The chase each other along the edge of the net and through the air. The female doesn't like the male to come closer than 6 ft away, and rushes off as soon as she gets nearer.

There are now three Mute Swan nests: one west of the Lido and one next to the Italian Gardens, both or which have eggs; and one on the fenced area at the southeast corner of the lake, which is fairly new. The Egyptian Goose family with four young were also in this area, peacefully cropping grass and not bothering the sitting swan. However, at the Italian Garden there are two Coots who don't like the swan at all, and constantly wander around the edge of the nest in menacing attitudes until the swan takes a swipe at them to scare them away.

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