Tuesday 23 February 2016

The Great Crested Grebes at the east end of the island were building up their nest. More material was badly needed. The one on the right is sitting on the nest, causing it to sink below the surface. Grebes like their nests flat and don't mind if they're a bit soggy, but the eggs have to be out of the water to avoid getting chilled.

The Black Swan had switched girlfriends again today and was back with number one.

Number two, who had been shown great attention yesterday, was with a group of other teenagers, and was perhaps looking a bit depressed at being dumped yet again.

The white Mallard was preening his shining feathers under the terrace of the Dell restaurant.

Above him, some Common Gulls were chasing another one which had won a piece of bread. The second gull from the left is a Black-Headed Gull and smaller than the others, but looks large here because it is nearer the camera. It is still less than a year old, as you can see from its black-tipped tail, which will be all white the next time it moults.

A Herring Gull was probing one of the buoys at the Lido, looking for insects.

Gulls perch on these buoys the whole time, though the larger gulls have to balance carefully or they tip over. Their droppings on the buoys attract insects. Wagtails, both Pied and Grey, also find this place a good hunting ground.

A Wren was also looking for insects near the Italian Garden.

A Carrion Crow stared at me imperiously from one of the handrails that help swimmers to get out of the water on the slippery edge of the Lido. It was expecting a peanut, and got one.

A gang of Starlings were squabbling around a feeder in the Dell.

The Dell is full of blossoming trees and bushes. A Wood Pigeon sat stolidly in a magnolia. Their interest in blossom is limited to the kinds they can eat.

The Little Owls in the oak tree are still holding their own against the Stock Doves, but the price of a nest hole is eternal vigilance.


  1. Your little owl simply scowled at me today. But at least we made eye contact.

    1. Glad you found it. I like to think that the Little Owls look at me with weary tolerance.

    2. It gave me the weary treatment today so perhaps I have already graduated in its affections. It certainly scowled at the passing hounds.

    3. It's odd how they are bothered by dogs when safely up a tree. Maybe it's because they hunt on the ground.

  2. Beautiful pictures and blog.You really do know a lot about birds.I am a journalism student and I'd like to contact you regarding my current project.Where can I find your email address?

  3. Ralph,

    Can you still see Feldfares and if so where is the best place in the park to try?

    1. There are seldom many Fieldfares, and they have been fewer than usual this year. There may be some on the fenced-off bit of the Parade Ground where the turf has been relaid, especially in the small tress at the bottom of the hill. Or on the archery field in the early morning. I saw a few in the autumn on the rowan trees on Buck Hill, but the berries are long gone.