Friday, 26 April 2013
The House Martins have returned to the French and Kuwaiti embassies in Knightsbridge. I saw a dozen of them. They nest in the plaster roses on the downward facing side of the cornices of these ornate Victorian buildings; the upper side of the petals makes a neat little shelf on which a nest can be built without having to collect too much mud.
Some Swifts have also been reported, though I didn't see them myself.
The Sedge Warbler was singing on the western bank of the Long Water in the thicket between Peter Pan and the Vista, a place in which it is quite impossible to see anything, let alone get a picture. There was also a Reed Warbler singing its urgent, clattering song in the reed bed on the other side, not far from the Italian Garden.
Three Nuthatches were chasing each other in a tree near the leaf yard. Two of them were clearly a couple, as I saw a male giving an insect to his mate. As usual with fast moving birds, the moment flashed by before I could get my camera on to them. But at least I managed to grab a hasty shot of one of them on a branch.
Male Great Tits are also feeding the females, who beg for food in the same way as juveniles, by vibrating their wings and uttering a burbling call. It is a way of testing the suitability of the male as a food provider when the female is on her nest and when the young hatch and have to be fed; any man who has taken a girl out for an expensive dinner will recognise the strategy.
The female Tawny Owl was in the California bay tree in the Flower Walk, but only her back was visible and she wouldn't look round. Still, there was a chance to admire the beautiful markings on her back.
Paul visited the Flower Walk at sunset yesterday and reported that the owlets were leaping about from branch to branch and making quite a noise as feeding time approached.
These Wood Pigeons are clearly in love.