Saturday 4 May 2013

The Tawny Owls are getting harder to see every day. They remain in the same area, but the leaves on the horse chestnut trees are now fully out, and both cover and shade the owls, and the sun shining through the leaves turns everything green.

It helps when there is a wind to blow the leaves about, so that gaps open through which you may get a glimpse of brown feathers or the grey fluff of the owlets.

Grey Herons appear to balance effortlessly, often on one leg, but the wind can upset their equilibrium. Here a heron coming in to land on a post meets a sudden gust of headwind, and falls off the post backwards. It came down in the water, looking ruffled and cross.

Thanks to Paul Sawford for this excellent picture. A few minutes earlier I had the same bird trying to balance on one of the cords holding up the nets over the reeds, and also being blown off, in this case forwards. It was clearly not a good day for this heron.

The Herring Gulls and Lesser Black-Backed Gulls are in their element on windy days, and the ones on the lake were whirling about in the gusts. You could see that they were doing it for fun, as they were making quite unnecessary flights and coming back to the same place on the water. Carrion Crows and other corvids also clearly enjoy clowning around in the wind.

There is another Great Crested Grebes' nest on the Serpentine island, this time at the northwest corner, behind the wire baskets. The birds are only partly visible, and only when they hold up their heads, so it is even less of a spectacle than the nest on the northeast corner.

This Long-Tailed Tit is in the middle of building a nest in a bush near Peter Pan.

It is impossible to take a good photograph of a Long-Tailed Tit's nest, at least not without messing around with the foliage to reveal it, which would have been very wrong. Also the bird was working on the back part of it, and all you could see was leaves moving about. So here is the best picture I could manage. The nest is spherical and a bit larger than a grapefruit, and takes up the middle part of the picture.

The outside of the nest is made of moss held together with spider webs, a light, strong and flexible composite. The inside is lined with thousands of little feathers stuck in point first, providing a wonderfully warm and comfortable lining for the nesting bird.

1 comment:

  1. Ralph,
    I am so happy to hear you reminding people that it is bad manners to move branches around in order to see a nest better. We had an appalling situation locally in California where an Asian immigrant photographer won a photocontest with a nest containing eggs that he had clipped off the tree and set against a clear background paper, for a prize winning photo. Needless to say, the eggs and the nest were a dead end for that breeding pair on this occasion.