Monday, 20 July 2020

The most surprising sight of the day was nothing to do with birds. A Yellow-Bellied Slider terrapin made a scrape in the ground, laid eggs in it, covered them up with earth, and walked off leaving them to their fate. She was under the Henry Moore sculpture beside the Long Water, an odd place to choose.

Just up the hill, the female Little Owl flew out of a tree next to her young one to draw some Magpies away from it. She landed in the tree with her nest hole in it and looked down, rather annoyed to find four humans looking up at her.

The young owl remained in its original place.

Considering that it was a warm sleepy summer day there was a surprising range of small birds in the shrubbery at the southwest corner of the bridge. Tom was there before me and got pictures of a Chaffinch ...

... a Greenfinch ...

... and a Chiffchaff.

I got a Goldcrest ...

... and a Coal Tit.

A Rose-Ringed Parakeet ate elderberries near the leaf yard.

A Magpie sunbathed in the Rose Garden.

Another good picture by Tom: a Grey Heron eating a pike. There really are a lot of pike in the lake now, though herons, Cormorants and Great Crested Grebes are doing their best to keep numbers down.

The grebes from the east end of the island congratulated each other on the excellence of their chicks.

A busy scene on the Coot nest in the Italian Garden fountain.

A Moorhen preened on the rail surrounding one of the planters.

The dominant female Mute Swan on the Long Water led her cygnets past the reeds.

A Mallard at Peter Pan had two quite large ducklings, big enough now to have a good chance of survival.


  1. Wahoo...what a lovely live video of the terrapin laying this space...
    My last live experience was watching a leather back turtle laying eggs looking like ping pong balls in Trengganu, east coast of Malaysia..many moons ago...
    Totally awesome including the rest of the pics and videos...

    1. Hugh the Wildlife Officer doesn't think that the eggs will hatch in the English climate, so don't get over excited.

    2. Good, we have too many invasive species as it is.

    3. Wonder where she hailed from...

  2. An abandoned pet terrapin...:(((

    1. Yes. I saw someone dumping one in the lake a few years ago. People buy them as tiny creatures and then find that they get inconveniently large.

  3. Perhaps return to sender/owner as it were...

  4. I'd have loved to see some baby turtles, but as they'd grow up to become adult terrapins, it's better that way.

    The Little Owl shouldn't be annoyed. Admiring her ought to be among our constitutional rights.

    Let me add my congratulations to the proud Grebe parents and my compliments on their fine chicks, as well!!

    1. The Little Owl has got used to me after eight and a half years, but she finds four people with cameras intrusive.

      I shall pass on your congratulations to the grebes.

  5. Fascinating footage of the slider.