Sunday 31 May 2015

A large party of Swifts were flying over the Round Pond in heavy rain. One of them had strange pale shoulders and wing coverts. I don't know what to make of this. It is not a Pallid Swift, which would be a great rarity but has a different pattern of pale areas.

There were some House Martins among them, as there usually are on the Round Pond at this time. I wonder if they nest in the outbuildings of Kensington Palace. There would be no point in the ones from Hyde Park coming all the way up to the pond when there are plenty of insects near their nests.

A little flight of Tufted Ducks was circling over the pond. They seem to have competitive flights where the drakes show off their speed and agility, so it is not just as case of males chasing a female as it would be with Mallards.

The Barnacle Goose is still on the pond, and was strutting around in the wet grass.

But a Green Woodpecker was looking sadly soggy as it probed for worms on the Archery Field.

This is the first Green Woodpecker I have seen here since the three residents were scared off by the building of a large marquee on the field several months ago.

A pair of Great Crested Grebes have taken over an abandoned Coot nest on the Long Water, in the dead willow tree near the Italian Garden. They already have one egg. Probably this will give them the necessary willpower to repel the persistent Coots if they try to reoccupy it.

Another pair of Coots on the Long Water have rebuilt their nest in a silly place in the middle of the lake, which was washed away in a single day the last time they made it. A pair of Lesser Black-Backed Gulls were bathing in front of it, in a spot they have a habit of using for their ablutions.

This is the Goldcrest nest in the yew tree near the bridge, where I photographed one bird feeding its young yesterday. It is a surprisingly large construction for such a tiny bird, and seems to be durably made of moss stuck together with mud.

The female Little Owl was in a sheltered place in her nest tree, hard to find among the leaves.

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