Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Both the Little Owls in the chestnut tree appeared today, taking advantage of the sunny intervals. This is the male.

The female is still very timid, and rushes into her nest hole if you get anywhere near her tree. We could see her leaping around in an agitated manner in the far side of the tree, but it was quite impossible to get a picture. The male is quite calm, and when you stare at him he stares back.

A fair number of Pochards have arrived to spend the winter on the Long Water. Here are seven of them -- the bird preening in the background at far right is a Red-Crested Pochard. By chance, all of them are male.

They always return to the same spot, under the overhanging trees on the east side of the Long Water. The lake has a couple of permanent resident Pochards as well as these migrants.

The northwest pond in the Italian Garden has a few smallish goldfish in it, evidently dumped by a pet owner who tired of them. But here is a surprise: there are also some ordinary carp, a bit larger, maybe 15 of them.

This one is about 6 inches long and seems to be a mirror carp, the variety with well marked scales, also found in the main lake. But how on earth did it get in? Since the fountains were rebuilt and replumbed -- which involved draining the ponds, of course -- their water supply has been a closed circuit. Has some joker dredged them out of the main lake somehow and transferred them?

The two eldest Great Crested Grebe chicks at the Serpentine island were dashing about madly in all directions.

The improved weather brought some people out on to the terrace of the Lido restaurant. Starlings sat hungrily on the weathervane, watching for their chance of grabbing chips and cake.

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