Thursday, 16 May 2013
A pair of young Grey Herons were chasing each other round and round the Long Water. Here they pass the Henry Moore sculpture.
It didn't seem to be the usual attempt by one bird to eject another from its territory. The two looked quite harmonious, and it may have been some courtship ritual.
The Coots in the reed bed next to the Italian Garden continue to resent the presence of the Mute Swans nesting there. Here the female swan looks suspiciously as a Coot creeps up to her huge eggs.
I was expecting her to lunge at the intruder, but she just sat down in a rather pointed way and the Coot retreated.
There was also a good deal of territorial dispute at one of the baskets of twigs next to the bridge, with Great Crested Grebes constantly arriving to fish there and being promptly chased off by the resident grebes. Their speed under water has to be seen to be believed; I would reckon that it is over 10 mph. Meanwhile, on top of the basket, a Grey Heron was prowling around trying unsuccessfully to grab a fish through the wire mesh.
This picture shows the fishing technique: the grebe swims round the edge of the basket and pokes its head through the mesh, trying to dislodge a fish from the twigs.
They were catching quite a lot of small fish only about an inch long and swallowing them without surfacing. This is encouraging, because it shows that there are fish small enough to feed their chicks when these hatch. I saw at least two eggs in the nest at the northeast corner of the island, though it is impossible to get a good view here.
The number of Swifts was well down compared to yesterday, and they have probably moved on to better hunting grounds and roofs where they can nest -- which is the only time when these perennially airborne birds land.
The Nuthatch made a brief appearance at the southwest corner of the leaf yard. Next to this corner there is a big oak tree where a Treecreeper can reliably be seen at the moment.
At the Lido, a Starling was enjoying a wash.