Thursday, 26 April 2012
There were two Swallows and a Swift over the Long Water, but no trace of any of the House Martins on the lake, or on the French Embassy where they nest, or on the Round Pond. The ones I saw earlier on the Round Pond may simply have been on their way through. Despite its lack of cover, the Round Pond is often a better place to see migrants than the main lake, and when vagrants such as a Mediterranean Gull or a Little Gull show up in the park, this is where they will be. It may be because birds use the conspicuous gilded spire of the Albert Memorial as a way marker.
The male Tawny Owl was still in his usual tree, barely visible through the leaves. While I was looking for him, a female Chaffinch came to take food from my hand for the first time. She has been showing interest for a while, and watching the male Chaffinch who is now a confident visitor.
Starlings are nesting all over the park. One place that is particularly easy to see is a plane tree on the edge of the Serpentine to the west of the two small boathouses. While I was watching them going in and out, a Pied Wagtail ran past along the water's edge, nimbly dodging the waves stirred up by the brisk wind.
There used to be a lot of starlings' nests in the open eaves of the bandstand on Buck Hill, but builders blocked up the gaps and they have had to find other places. There is a starlings' nest in the Tawny Owls' nest tree, as well as a Stock Doves' nest and possibly a Nuthatches' nest near the top. Since the tree is hollow from top to bottom, there is plenty of room for multiple occupancy.
The Mute Swans' nest at the Lido seems to be a success, in spite of its very open location -- see picture. The one at the outflow of the Serpentine is constantly attended but I can't see any eggs in it. The well established nest on the Long Water has failed, possibly because the eggs were taken by a fox. It is not clear what is going on on the Serpentine island, since one swan seems to favour a site at the west end rather than the usual place in the bushes.