Thursday, 26 September 2013

A new but not very welcome addition to the wildlife of the park: there are now terrapins in the Round Pond as well as in the main lake. Marie Gill saw one yesterday on the edge of the pond, basking in the sunshine. It was a Red-Eared Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans), the most popular species kept as a pet. There was another swimming in the water. They must have been dumped by some pet owner who was tired of them, as it seems utterly improbable that they walked up from the main lake, or that they were somehow carried up by gulls when they were smaller.

Marie didn't have her camera handy, and when I went round the pond today there was no sign of them. But here was an entertaining bathing party of Starlings splashing and leaping about.

The newly arrived Shovellers insist on feeding in distant corners where it has hard to see them, let along take pictures. But one of them was relaxing on the fallen horse chestnut tree in the Long Water, alongside a Pochard.

This picture of a Treecreeper is right way up; it was running along the underside of a branch looking for insects in the cracks in the bark. You can see the long curved claws that allow it to ignore gravity.

There are young Great Crested Grebes all over the lakes, ten of them in all, and their loud cries for food can be heard from a hundred yards away.

They have no need to be discreet, as they can crash-dive in an instant when threatened. But their stripy heads are a better camouflage than this sunlit photograph suggests. On a grey day they are really quite hard to see against the pattern of ripples on the water surface.

This rabbit was keeping well away from the fox on the Vista, and was hopping around in the bushes near the martial arts bandstand on Buck Hill. A large hole can be seen near the fence in this area, presumably a rabbit burrow into which it can run if danger threatens.

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