Monday, 13 May 2013
The Little Owl that was seen near the Serpentine Gallery is definitely different from the one near the leaf yard, as is also certainly one of a pair and they are nesting. Paul Turner saw it on the ground picking up pieces of Kleenex and carrying them up into a tall horse chestnut tree. It was much less timid than the other Little Owl. It is completely invisible in this tree, but it is good to know that we have another pair.
Nearby, this Song Thrush was hopping around on the grass pulling up worms. It ate them all, so I don't think it was feeding nestlings -- unlike the Mistle Thrush in the same area, which I have seen several times carrying food to a tree.
Paul also saw a Red Kite, the second sighting in a few days. It was being harrassed by a Carrion Crow, which was trying to grab its tail in midair. Crows have a liking for tweaking the tails of creatures that annoy them, and I have seen them doing the same to Grey Herons, Mute Swans, and an unlucky spaniel.
Here is Melissa the crow eating peanuts out of Paul's hand. She is the all-black crow of the pair who hang around near Peter Pan; her mate Charlie, who also comes for food, has some grey feathers on his back.
The Great Crested Grebes nesting in the willow tree by the bridge, who lost their eggs, have now built their nest up much more robustly than before, and are back in full occupation. I couldn't get the sitting bird to turn round, but at least this picture gives you a view of his fine broad crest.
Although you can never be 100 per cent sure of the sex of a grebe, males tend to be more heavily built than females, and their black upper crests have quite a broad V shape, while the crest of the female tends to be narrower and with the points almost parallel.
The four young Egyptian Geese at the east end of the Serpentine are now quite large, and must by now be safe from attack by big gulls. They are going through that awkward adolescent phase where their juvenile down is being replaced by proper feathers, and look messy but endearing.