Tuesday, 13 November 2012

A Grey Heron on the Serpentine was behaving strangely: it seemed to be nesting. It was a mild day, but it seems most unlikely that it thought spring had come.  It is probably only a momentary fancy, but I will keep an eye on the place.

On the other side of the lake, one of this year's brood of Grey Herons was poking in the mud in one of the nets protecting the reeds. Every now and then it found and ate some small object. I could not see what these were until it carelessly dropped one, which showed it to be a snail.

On the Long Water at Peter Pan, one of the pair of resident crows was showing much better beak technique by picking up a handful of peanuts one by one. These were all lined up in much the same way as a Puffin holds a beakful of sandeels. It managed to take all but two before flying away.

Several people feed this pair of crows, who have become quite fearless and are, of course, permanently hungry. I hold out whole digestive biscuits for them to grab. They have been named Charlie and Melissa. This is Melissa; Charlie has some pale grey feathers on his back. But no one really knows which crow is male and which female.

Some female Tufted Ducks have a white patch across their face between their eyes and bill. This is a particularly strongly marked one.

It makes them look like female Scaup, but they aren't. Tufted Ducks have a broad black 'nail' on the tip of their bills; Scaup have a small, narrow one. Scaup are rare visitors to the lake. I last saw one in 2005.

The Tawny Owls were visible in the morning, but were harassed by some Jays and retired into their nest tree. Usually they take no notice of the Jays, Crows and Magpies that taunt them, but evidently they had had their fill of it today.

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