Sunday 25 August 2013

The Hobby family had moved north of their recent place, and the two youngsters were now in a very tall lime tree about 50 yards west of the Tawny Owls' nest tree and on the edge of the path. This tree is an American lime, I think: a basswood, Tilia americana. It has also been used by the Tawny Owls, and indeed the male has been heard in recent days hooting from that area. However the two species have sorted out their seating arrangements, the dense foliage of this tree makes things hopeless for photographers, so here is a good picture of one of the adults taken earlier by Paul Turner. It is sitting on a dead branch of a European lime, Tilia europaea.

The female Little Owl also put in a very brief appearance in the usual sweet chestnut tree, but ducked back into her hole as soon as she saw that someone was looking at her.

One of the young Great Crested Grebes had wandered a long way from its parents and was in the middle of the lake calling plaintively. It set off in the right direction, so I think they were eventually reunited.

The fountains in the Italian Garden had broken down again, and the Coot family had taken the opportunity to occupy one of them. As you can see, the instinct to build a nest everywhere and constantly had set in already. They will have a rude shock when the water is turned on again.

In the next pool the four teenage Mallards had had a similar idea. Their mother, who has been unusually attentive for a Mallard -- hence the survival of the four young -- had a faceoff with a Coot that came too near, and drove it away.

This is a male Red Crested Pochard in full eclipse, with the red eyes and bill of a male but otherwise in the plain cappuccino-coloured plumage of a female.

Females have brown eyes and brown beaks tinged with pink along the edge. The males will get their fine red, white, brown and black plumage back at the approach of winter.

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