Tuesday, 30 April 2013
The Tawny Owls have moved farther west along the Flower Walk, and were in a newly leafed horse chestnut tree on the north side of the Flower walk where it intersects with the path from Queen's Gate.
The adult owls have preferred horse chestnuts to other trees in the past, mainly because these come into leaf early in the year and give them cover. They have had enough cover in the rather gloomy shade of evergreens this year, but it looks as if old habits are reasserting themselves.
One of the Great Crested Grebes nesting in the reeds at the east end of the Serpentine was having trouble with a large stick she had found. She couldn't dive under net net carrying it, so she was working hard to poke it through the netting.
The manoeuvre succeeded, and she dived under the net to present this useful thing to her mate. Actually their nest, which is made mostly of cut reed stems, is a very good one by grebe standards (which are not high), and doesn't need the constant maintenance of a nest built of twigs and weed on a floating branch.
Behind this reed bed, the pair of Egyptian Geese with four young had found a place that was relatively safe from attack by the numerous Herring Gulls on the lake. Here are two of them.
There are trees on this patch of scrubby grass, which impede the flight of a large gull trying to swoop in to seize a chick. A pair of Mute Swans is also nesting here; they don't have any eggs yet.
The swans at the Italian Gardens have lost all their eggs. There are no traces of broken shell, so I fear that the predator was a malevolent human rather than a fox. However, the nest near the Lido seems to be still going well.
This Chaffinch was sitting in a Japanese maple tree just coming into pink leaf. He was taking a rest after eating rather a lot of pine nuts off my hand. When a Chaffinch wants to be fed, he comes out on a twig and chirps loudly to attract your attention. Once they get past their initial shyness, they become quite demanding.
There were a dozen House Martins over the Serpentine, but no Swifts or Swallows that I could see. The martins are residents, since they nest on the two embassies in Knightsbridge, but the others come and go erratically.