Monday, 21 April 2014

The male Mute Swan from the nest near the Italian Garden was standing guard over the eggs, looking peevish and impatient at being left in charge while his mate was away feeding. He doesn't usually sit down on the eggs, which his mate covers with reeds before she leaves. Today, though, she hadn't done this and you can see that there are seven of them.

When he saw her coming up the lake to relieve him, he immediately sat down, as if he wanted to avoid a scolding for not doing his job properly. After she had climbed ashore, inspected the nest, and preened herself, she graciously allowed him to leave before taking over.

A few feet away from them is a Coots' nest, now containing four eggs.

The Coots hang around the edge of the other nest, sneaking in and stealing shed swans' feathers to line their own nest. They are not welcome visitors, and get pecked if they are noticed.

Although the Coots' nest in the small boathouse has been destroyed, the boathouse still contains a pair of Feral Pigeons which are nesting in the rafters.

While Feral Pigeons are excessively common, their nests, usually in abandoned buildings, are seldom seen; nor are young pigeons. Their whole breeding cycle is mysterious. There may be a chance to observe their private life here.

The grass under the Henry Moore sculpture was thronged with the ever increasing tribe of rabbits. They seem to coexist quite peacefully with the Canada Geese grazing the same area. There is enough grass for all of them.

A Treecreeper unexpectedly appeared in full view on a tree near the northwest corner of the bridge. I just had time to grab one shot of it before it scuttled out of sight.

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