Thursday, 31 January 2013
Another beautiful sunny day, and the birds are feeling the approach of spring (perhaps wrongly). A pair of Coal Tits were chasing each other in the shrubbery at the bottom of Buck Hill, calling constantly. The Egyptian Geese are rushing around in pairs looking for nest sites, making a terrible noise that is neither a honk nor a quack, as befits a bird that is intermediate between geese and ducks. Here a pair tries out the Grey Heron's nest on the Serpentine island. If they decide to settle there, they will have a nasty surprise very soon.
The Egyptians on the Vista, which I think were the first pair to arrive and who have bred constantly without a single chick surviving more than a few days, were displaying to each other on the grass near the Italian Garden. After several years of utter failure, it seems unlikely that they will be any more successful this year.
However, a couple of Ring-Necked Parakeets were busy, and are more likely to be successful thanks to a well protected nest in a tree hole.
No sign of the male Tawny Owl again. I think he is only coming out of his hollow tree occasionally in the daytime at the moment. The elusive Little Owls were equally invisible.
The Bearded Tits were easy to see in their reed bed, but hard to photograph in the wind. Here one of them takes advantage of a momentary lull to land on a new reed head.
It is a great shame that they are both female and can't join in the general rush. They were accompanied by a male when they were ringed several months ago, but he has got separated from them.
Here a young Lesser Black-Backed Gull soars elegantly above the mob of feeding birds at the east end of the Serpentine.
All you have to do is to turn up near the Dell Restaurant holding a carrier bag that look as if it might contain food, and you will instantly be surrounded by a screaming mob of Black-Headed and Common Gulls, accompanied by Feral Pigeons and Starlings. And after a few seconds the Mute Swans and various kinds of geese will arrive. Inexperienced visitors are shocked by this reception, and I have heard them muttering about Hitchcock.