Sunday 11 August 2013

Another sign of the approach of autumn: a Wood Pigeon was eating elderberries, hanging recklessly upside down from a thin twig.

The rowan berries are almost ripe, and I visited the trees at the top of Buck Hill to see if they had attracted any Mistle Thrushes, but there was no sign of these yet. Rowan berries are also a favourite food of Waxwings, but the trees in the park seem to fruit too early for any to be left when these winter visitors arrive. Perhaps this explains the relative rarity of these birds in the park -- though we had some late arrivals on 8 April this year, when they were already on their migration to Scandinavia.

The number of Herring Gulls and Lesser Black-Backed Gulls is rising, with the arrival of more juveniles of (I think) both species on the Serpentine. Some of the Mallard ducklings are now large enough to be out of danger from them. The Mandarin still has her brood of four: here they are resting on the edge of the Long Water near the bridge.

Although she takes her ducklings on to the exposed open water of the Serpentine, she does seem to be aware of danger. I watched her crossing the lake near the bridge, going along the line of wooden posts. A Herring Gull landed on a post in front of her, and she quickly turned sharp right and took her family under the bridge.

The two Great Crested Grebe chicks were in their usual place at the northwest corner of the island. The nest at the northeast corner is still occupied, with no sign of hatching yet.

So is the nest in the fallen poplar on the Long Water. The pair opposite Peter Pan have reoccupied one of their old nest sites, but these birds have had so many failed attempts that I very much doubt whether anything will come of this one.

However, there are still plenty of fish for them. Here a grebe has caught one of last year's perch, about 4 inches long, and there are small fish for the chicks too.

Last year's fish are now large enough to be interesting, but not irresistible, to Cormorants, and the number of these is increasing only slowly -- there were just four today.

No futher sight of the Little Owl despite several visits to his tree and the adjacent ones.

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