Saturday, 11 May 2013
The Great Crested Grebes nesting in the willow tree near the bridge have bounced back strongly after their recent disaster. They have pulled off all the extra stuff that Coots had piled on their nest, and when I saw them they had just chased a Coot some distance away, and were uttering their territorial call (aark-kk, aark-kk). The grebes nesting in the reed bed east of the Lido have taken the fight to the neighbouring Coots, and one of them was sitting on the enemy's nest.
There were more Swifts on the lake, perhaps as many as 200, and some of them were skimming low over the water hunting for hatching insects. This hastily snatched picture shows how slender their wings are when seen edge on.
Swifts also come down to the water to drink, skimming the surface with their beak open. But they would not have needed to do that today, as there were a couple of showers and these incredible flyers can catch falling raindrops.
Another insectivorous bird, one of the two Grey Wagtails, had just found some small creature on the edge of the Serpentine. I don't know whether it's a larva or a worm.
The Nuthatch in the leaf yard has a mate, and the two were calling and flirting among the bushes. Both of them came to the railings for food several times, and I nearly got one of them to land on my hand. Will keep trying.
These Blackbirds were also flirting, with the female chasing the male and uttering little enticing chirps.
I get the impression that female Blackbirds rule the roost. They seem more aggressive than the males, and often shoulder them out of the way to take a piece of food. Of course a female Blackbird has to be sure that her mate will look after her faithfully and bring her food when she is sitting on her eggs.