Sunday, 8 April 2018

The Mute Swans nesting at the Lido restaurant terrace already have two eggs. It's a very exposed spot, only feet from the tables, and it seems unlikely to succeed.

A pair of Canada Geese were making a nest in a reed bed on the Long Water a few yards from the Italian Gardens.

This is also a poor location, with prowling foxes on the land side and the dominant male swan busking around menacingly on the water side.

A pair of Great Crested Grebes were displaying at the Lido, and it looks as if they were worked up enough to do their dance.

Suddenly one fled and dived. When it surfaced, both flew  away and dived again. I couldn't see why this had happened, but a minute later I saw another grebe in the spot they had just left. They must have been on its territory.

The grebes' stolen nest at the island is still going. It looks more like a grebe nest now, with a surface of soggy leaves, but you can see the original strong Coot construction with twigs inserted in the wire basket to hold it firm.

The Moorhens at the bridge were collecting twigs for their nest. I still can't see where it is.

The Grey Heron on the island was back in its nest, but with no sign of a mate anywhere near. I think the nest is just being used as a place to stand now.

Yesterday the Little Owls' nest hole in the lime tree near the Henry Moore sculpture was being explored by Stock Doves. Today it was Rose-Ringed Parakeets' turn to inspect it. It seems almost certain that the owls have moved, probably up the hill to the horse chestnut they used last year.

The Little Owl in the oak near the Albert Memorial is still in her hole.

There are parakeets nesting in the same tree, but lower down the trunk.

In spite of the drizzle there was brisk activity at the Feral Pigeons' bathing place in the Italian Garden fountain. They are allowed only a few seconds to wash before it's the turn of the next one up the duckboard.

The Chaffinch in the Rose Garden was singing his one-note 'rain song' while he waited for me to fill up the feeder.

One of the pair of Dunnocks hopped around briskly underneath to pick up the spillage.

A Great Tit posed in a corkscrew hazel bush in the Dell.


  1. Small birds pose always so prettily for Ralph! I guess the Chaffinch was singing for its supper, as the saying goes.

    Perhaps the nest's takeover is the Grebes' clever way to secure the services of two superior architects (that'd be the Coots) for free.

    1. The grebes have certainly got foundations for their nest that they could never have built themselves. But I am inclined to think that this was an accident. They are as vague about siting nests as they are about building them.

  2. I passed the Lido around six o’ clock and the swan was not on the eggs then either. It was on one leg with its head in its feathers having a snooze, which it could just as easily have done sitting on the eggs. Do you recognise this behaviour? Maybe delaying incubation till more eggs are laid for example?

    The stolen nest saga is gripping. Even when nothing happens.

  3. What is best time of day to see the little owl? You seem to see it everyday...

    1. There's no particular best time. But you often have to visit the trees several times.