Sunday 15 March 2015

It was a nasty cold dark drizzly day, but the progress of spring is unstoppable and there was a blossoming tree near the Orangery for a Blackbird to sing in.

The Great Crested Grebes nesting near the bridge were fishing together, breaking off occasionally for an affectionate display.

On the Serpentine, Blondie the Egyptian Goose is getting a bit more enthusiastic about her new mate.

At the island four Coots were celebrating spring in their own way, by fighting.

The Scaup was again on the north shore of the Serpentine near the bridge, in a group of Tufted Ducks. If he wants a mate he will have to remember where he was going when he strayed into the park.

This pale Mallard drake has been on the Round Pond for some time. He has a normal amount of the brown pigment phaeomelanin, but is lacking the black pigment eumelanin, so he looks like a sepia photograph. The imbalance has had an odd effect on his head, which is hardly iridescent at all and looks brown from most angles. The colour on a Mallard's head is caused not by a pigment but by an interference effect from the structure of its feathers, which must have altered here.

On the south side of the Serpentine, a Lesser Black-Backed Gull had picked up the carcase of a Feral Pigeon killed by the well known pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Back and was finishing off the scraps, watched enviously by a Carrion Crow.

The Little Owls at the Leaf Yard were staying inside their tree, understandably in this weather. But the male Tawny Owl was back in his usual spot guarding his mate in her nest.

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