Thursday 9 January 2014

The Mute Swans on the Serpentine, stimulated by a sunny day, were chasing each other vigorously.

Last years' families are still sticking together for the most part, especially the one on the Long Water with their single pampered offspring. Its father is the most violent swan in the park, and the youngster is growing up like him, joing in fights and chasing incautious dogs out of the water (well, they shouldn't be there anyway, but dog owners are deaf to reason).

The Little Grebe was back in the reed bed at the Italian Garden.

It seemed to have eaten its fill already, because it didn't dive the whole time I was there, and simply cruised about and preened itself. I'm sure there is only one at the moment. The Long Water doesn't seem to be a preferred habitat for these charming birds, but why they should prefer Regent's Park, where there are plenty of them, baffles me.

The male Tawny Owl was in his usual place.

The female owl really does seem to have retired to her nest, and if all goes well they are on schedule to bring out their owlets in mid-March as usual. They have nested earlier than this, but not in recent years.

Two Coal Tits were chasing each other in the leaf yard, but a offer of pine nuts stopped them and brought them out to feed.

They take remarkable numbers of nuts, flying off with each one and caching it in a crack in a tree before they return for another a couple of minutes later. In the wild, the pine nuts actually occur in cracks, between the scales of pine cones, and the birds have to prise them out.

A pair of Pied Wagtails were running around the Round Pond. This one gazing into the sunset is the female, as you can tell by her grey back. Males have black backs.

They were finding small pinkish-grey larvae about ⅛ inch (2 mm) long on the edge of the water. But even with a zoom lens, there was no way I could get a recognisable shot of one.

This Black-Headed Gull, washing itself in the Serpentine, is beginning to develop the dark brown head of its breeding plumage. The dark feathers grow under the white ones, and gradually poke through and become visible.

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