Thursday, 15 November 2012

Although all the young Mute Swans are now independent, there is still some family feeling -- or, to be more exact, fierce xenophobia, but the two are closely linked in birds as in humans. A group of swans were taking advantage of some people scattering bread when an outsider tried to muscle in, and was attacked and chased away.

A pair of Egyptian Geese were also repelling an intruder, after which they had a raucous celebration.

Although Egyptian Geese are not true geese -- they are related to Shelducks -- they have the same 'triumph' ceremony as geese, where the male of the pair picks a fight with another bird and chases it away to show how tough he is, after which the pair congratulate each other on their success. If, as seems to be happening, Egyptian Geese breed up to the same numbers as the big geese, the lake will be a very noisy place, with the hoarse cries of Egyptians on the ground and the loud screeches of Ring-Necked Parakeets in the air.

The Tawny Owls were calling this morning, but no one could see them and they were probably in the roomy interior of their nest tree. I came back just before sunset and the female owl had come out through the hole below their nest.

Then I went on to the Round Pond, to find the six young Egyptian Geese in good order in their usual place on the northeast side of the water. The male Shoveller, who had been on the pond alone for several days, now has a mate. Here she is in the last rays of the setting sun.

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