Wednesday 21 August 2013

As the Cormorants return to the lake, there were eight in a row on the posts offshore from Peter Pan -- a fair number but I have seen 24 on these posts. One of them seemed to be feeling hot, although it was a mild day. It held its beak open and panted for several minutes. Interesting to see that the inside of the beak is yellow as well as the outside.

The row of posts also held the usual two Lesser Black-Backed Gulls who hang around the Long Water over the winter, but there is now a fair number of Mallard ducklings  that are large enough not to be in great danger, unless the gulls were feeling particularly ravenous -- remember that they can kill pigeons, and even fly carrying them.

At the Serpentine island one of the Great Crested Grebe chicks was being fed by its father.

The other one had just been fed by its mother. Even when not directly supervised, the young birds are still reluctant to venture out of the shadow of the trees, but they will be running around all over the place soon, protected by their ability to crash-dive in an instant if danger threatens.

The first brood of young Moorhens on the Italian Garden pond were attempting to fly, without much success so far. Since they were only in the air for a moment, the only pictures I got were of them crashing ignominiously into the water plants. But they will be better at it soon enough.

I saw several flocks on Long-Tailed Tits -- or the same flock several times.

It is really impossible to estimate how many Long-Tailed Tits there are in the park, because you can never know whether you are seeing the same lot again and again as they range around the whole area.

I went up to see whether the rowan trees on Buck Hill had attracted any birds, but there was just one Wood Pigeon. I think that the flocks of Mistle Thrushes that favour these trees are winter migrants and have not arrived yet. The berries are ripe now, but they are long lasting -- or at least they last till they have all been eaten, usually by late autumn.

The long grass on the hill is alive with grasshoppers and crickets. I think this one is a Meadow Grasshopper, Chorthippus parallelus.

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