Sunday, 19 May 2013
A pair of Greylag Geese on the lake have four goslings. Here their mother looks after them solicitously.
Their father was on the other side, head held high, scanning the horizon for threats. These included a harmless Egyptian goose, which he attacked furiously and drove far away, returning to his family with visible pride. The park keepers try to prevent Greylags and Canadas from breeding by finding their nests and pricking their eggs, but usually a few of these intelligent birds outwit them. The Egyptians are safe from human interference because they nest in trees. Their numbers are going up 50 per cent a year at the moment.
The Little Owl was out on his usual branch basking in the warm sunshine.
It must be quite near the time when the owlets emerge. The leaves on this sweet chestnut tree are already quite dense and it will be hard to see them.
One of the Great Crested Grebes has developed a new fishing technique. She swims slowly over the top of the wire basket and tries to grab fish from above.
It must be easier to see them here. While I was watching, she caught several small fish and ate them with her head still under water.
A Coot tried to emulate her technique, without success.
The grebe chicks on the Serpentine island are intermittently visible, but the wire baskets of water plants are very much in the way. This nest sags down into the water quite quickly, and every two or three days the parents build it up. They are then easily seen. But as the nest sags again, they disappear from sight.
The Swifts and Swallows have moved on, though the small flock of resident House Martins remains in place around the east end of the lake.
The Nuthatches in the leaf yard put in an appearance, and came and took food from the railings.