Tuesday 3 March 2020

A sunny morning brought out the female Little Owl near the Albert Memorial.

The male Goldcrest of the pair at the northeast corner of the leaf yard was singing, as usual in a yew tree.

Another day of building at the Long-Tailed Tits' nest in the Rose Garden, and both birds were hard at work. You can now see the side wall of the nest rising at the bottom left of the gap in the gorse. This will be extended up and over to form the roof of the spherical nest.

One of them paused on a thorny stem and stared at the camera.

The returfing of the south end of the Parade Ground is now almost finished, leaving the Redwings with nowhere to go. There are still a few on the small triangle of ground northeast of the bandstand, which hasn't been touched yet ...

... but they are having to share it with numerous Blackbirds.

On the freshly laid turf, a Pied Wagtail took to the high ground of a divot to survey the area for insects.

A Dunnock poked around under the bushes near the bridge.

The approach of spring is bringing up the first dandelion leaves. Rose-Ringed Parakeets are particularly fond of them, and if you see one eating something on the ground it's almost certainly a dandelion. (Incidentally, the leaves also make a fine salad for humans, but only when very young and small. Afterwards they get too bitter.)

Another Feral Pigeon had fallen to the notorious Lesser Black-Backed Gull, and a Carrion Crow was finishing off the remains.

The two Grey Herons that I photographed together in their nest on Sunday were there again.

But it is taking what seems like an eternity for a second nest to get properly under way. The sitting heron on the other side of the island was still there, but there was no sign of any events in the nest.

The Coots' nest at the Dell restaurant is still on hold. The birds are keeping it level with the top of the water but not yet raising it further so that they can start nesting. This is actually quite sensible (and surprising in Coots, birds not noted for their intellect) because we haven't seen the last of the bad weather yet.

A pair of Canada Geese are now occupying the (hopefully intended) tern raft on the Long Water. Heavy birds landing on the netting have ripped it open, so there's nothing to stop them from  nesting if they want to. The goslings might even be able to climb up the remains of the net and jump off into the water, so there might be no need to rescue them as there has been in previous years.

The woodwork over the entrance to the Lido swimming area had rotted, and is being replaced. The builders cut out a section of the rotten wood and took it away to have the profile copied. As you can see, they've done a pretty good job.

However, students of classical architecture will be dismayed by the design, with the columns completely under the entablature -- their tops should stick out a little -- and a confusion of forms with no proper cornice. The Tuscan columns are perfectly correct, but it's always been possible to buy these readymade in various sizes (though modern ones are glass fibre shells with an RSJ up the middle). The classical details on the portico of the main restaurant are simplified but reasonably correct. It was built in the 1930s when builders hadn't forgotten the style. But the wings -- this entrance and the matching lavatory on the other side -- were added after the war when few understood the classical orders. I was actually taught them at school in the early 1960s, and can still draw them all accurately from memory.


  1. I have to confess, to my shame, that I never got it into my thick head how to draw correctly the classical orders! Even now I will still make a mess of it. It was not the fault of my teachers, but rather of my own clumsiness.

    That Coot looks like it is walking on water. An intelligent, or at least self-aware, Coot may be a very dangerous thing.

    1. I don't think that Coot is going to take over the world. But the enormous nest is a considerable piece of engineering, and I have no idea how even the pair working together could have moved the large submerged branches that form its base.

  2. I'm not entirely happy with the lack of base to the column, either. Though I suppose it would be necessary to decide on cylindrical or squared in plan, with justificatory appeals to proper authorities (I'm with Serlio on such matters, generally). Coot architecture, on the other hand, is rather nearer to Daniel Libeskind (if not Gordon Matta-Clark)

    1. I'm sure that the builders of ticket offices and public lavatories constantly refer to Serlio, not to mention Colen Campbell.