Thursday 25 February 2016

Better news from the Round Pond: the Egyptian Geese still have five of their young, and have lost only one in the past few days.

Virginia, who watches the Egyptians carefully, was sure that the pair I saw with just one chick yesterday was a different family, and so it was. But I could find no sign of these today, and they may have lost the sole survivor already.

Another Egyptian was examining the hole in the old Tawny Owl tree where the branch broke off.

This is probably not a suitable nest hole. The tree is completely hollow from top to bottom and it's unlikely that there's a ledge inside for a nest. However, the Stock Doves still have their hole lower down in the remains of the tree, and the small hole near the bottom is good for whichever species, Rose-Ringed Parakeets or Starlings, eventually wins it.

Just when you though the Black Swan had settled down with girlfriend number one, he was off with another teenager.

I wondered whether that this was girlfriend number two having grown more white feathers, but eventually decided it wasn't. However, Jorgen Schiott, who has been watching these swans attentively, assures me that it is. She was enjoying the attention, and cruised around happily beside him.

He tried to impress her by climbing on to a raft and chasing off a Canada Goose.

On the other side of the raft, the resident pair of Great Crested Grebes were displaying next to their incomplete nest.

They showed signs of wanting to resume building it, but it is a very awkward place and they will need plenty of twigs to attach the nest to the side of the basket.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gulls were on the roof of the Dell restaurant. The male of the pair seemed bored.

Soon afterwards, he flew down to the shore and chased a few pigeons without catching any.

The bank under the trees  on the east side of the Long Water near the bridge is a favourite gathering place for Mute Swans.

But now that the dominant pair have claimed the whole Long Water as their territory, other swans never get time to relax there, because the male swan sees them and charges over to chase them back under the bridge.

One of the Little Owls was guarding the hole in the oak tree, keeping well inside on a chilly morning.

The white-faced Blackbird was foraging on the edge of the bramble patch near the Italian Garden.

Tom Bell took this fine picture of Wood Pigeons mating on a tree in the leaf yard.


  1. I've yet to witness the famous great crested courtship display. Do they give it the full works?

    1. If they do the initial display for about two minutes, they may be revved up enough to do the full dance with bits of weed. It's likely to happen at this time of year. Keep watching.

    2. Even the head-shaking bonding ritual (without weed adornments) is very touching - seeing a pair separated for a few minutes rush back to declare their love - it's a lovely sight.

    3. And it shows the importance of ceremony. Things have to be done properly.