Wednesday, 20 March 2013
There were clearly a great many fish at the top of the Long Water by the Italian Garden. They had attracted a Kingfisher ...
... a Cormorant in full breeding plumage and a Grey Heron.
These two are on the just-submerged metal grating covering the old intake and outlet of the fountains in the Italian Garden (the fountains are a closed system now). One of the panels of the grating is missing; the gap is just visible at the bottom right corner of this picture. The Grey Heron has been standing on the edge of the gap, waiting for a fish to come into view, a technique that is generally quite successful. But it has been frightened off its station by the arrival of the Cormorant, which swam around for a bit and decided that the missing panel was not large enough for a big bird to be able to manoeuvre, and gave up and went away.
Meanwhile, under the willow tree, the Kingfisher and a Great Crested Grebe were doing better, catching smaller fish among the trailing branches.
A pair of Sparrowhawks were circling over the leaf yard at a considerable height. The small birds didn't seem to be bothered by them, and no doubt they were after larger prey. Here a Great Tit deals with a pine nut. This rather expensive food never fails to please.
Two Lapwings were seen yesterday on the Parade Ground, which is currently being restored in a huge operation after it was wrecked by the London Live event last summer. I went around this area without seeing anything unsual, but it is all fenced off and covered with heaps of earth, and it would be possible to miss any interesting birds that were there. The entire surface is being covered with fresh soil and at least a hectare of high quality sports turf, which must be appallingly expensive. The usual summer concerts are scheduled, which will ruin it again.
The Little Owl emerged briefly from the same sweet chestnut tree that he has been in for the past three days. I only had time for this distant shot before he went back in.
It seems very probable that the pair are nesting in this tree. But a careful search for the Tawny Owl family has still not found them. Last year they weren't found till the 23rd, but when they were found, a long way from the nest, it was clear that they had been out for several days.