Thursday, 18 April 2013
There are three male Mandarin Ducks on the Long Water, but no females. This may be a sign that the females are already sitting on their nests in tree holes. During this time the males hang out with each other, useless but decorative, while the females balance the task of keeping their eggs warm and finding food -- they are omnivores, so this possible though it must be a strain. Here a male rests idly on one leg on one of the posts in the lake by the Peter Pan statue.
The female Tawny Owl was in the usual bay tree, with at least one of the owlets mostly hidden above her. Here she stares suspiciously at a squirrel coming up the trunk towards them.
The squirrel left hastily: you don't want to get close to an annoyed owl guarding her young. We couldn't find any other owlets, or the male. I went to the nest tree to see whether he had returned there, but could see nothing.
Looking for House Martins over the Round Pond, I found a couple and of them and some Swallows with them. Although the House Martins are resident, on the two embassy buildings in Knightsbrige, and Swifts fly over the lake in lathe numbers later in the year, we don't see all that many Swallows, and when they do arrive they are just passing through.
More Wheatears have been seen on Buck Hill. They have been favouring the area near the children's playground, but they move around a lot and might be anywhere. There are still several Willow Warblers around the Long Water, I think. They weren't singing today, and at a distance you could never be sure whether you were looking at a Chiffchaff, a very similar bird.
A Nuthatch was walking around on the ground in the leaf yard, a slightly unusual sight as you almost always see them in trees. Its blue-grey back and orange-buff front were most effective as camouflage among the leaf litter.
A male Gadwall on the Long Water came close, revealing the beautiful patterns of its feathers.