Tuesday, 19 March 2013
The Little Owl was out in the same sweet chestnut tree as yesterday, but as I arrived he was harassed by three Jays and retreated into a hole. Although the sun came out later, the owl didn't. He will be back.
No sign of the Tawny Owl family either, despite several people searching likely spots.
The plane tree between the Albert Memorial and the Physical Energy statue, just to the northeast of the corner with the signpost, now has two Ring-Necked Parakeets' nests on opposite sides of the trunk, both in old Green Woodpecker holes. Here the female flies out while the male stands beside the nest hole.
Everyone I talk to about parakeets in woodpecker holes seems to think that the spread of the parakeets is forcing out the woodpeckers. I don't think so, at least not in the park. There are tens of thousands of trees suitable for woodpeckers, and I constantly hear the drumming and calls of Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers and often see them. I don't think the population is falling.
There is, however, a limited number of waterside nest sites for Great Crested Grebes and Coots. This Coot tried to take over the grebes' nest opposite the Peter Pan statue, and was forced off and escorted away by the occupants.
This was quite a gentle manoeuvre. I have seen Great Crested Grebes attcking Coots in the most furious way and holding them under water to subdue them.
The mild spell has brought out a lot of small insects. The reed bed under the balustrade of the Italian Garden was full of Blue, Great and Long-Tailed Tits feeding on them.
The Wren that nests at the northeast corner of the lake was also in the reed bed, singing.
The recent heavy rain has caused a growth of brown algae in the Long Water, which I think must have been stimulated by nitrate and phosphate runoff from the surrounding grassland. While unpleasing to the human eye, it is good news for Mallards.
Speaking of Mallards, Andy Sunters left a very interesting comment on yesterday's blog about colour variation in Mallards, and a link to a page that explains the genetics involved. Recommended to anyone who wants to understand this phenomenon.