Monday, 15 July 2013

The male Tawny Owl was calling from a horse chestnut tree west of the nest tree and across the path, and was answered by the female in the horse chestnut next to the nest tree. But both of them were impossible to see. The female Little Owl was seen for a moment yesterday in the usual sweet chestnut tree, but vanished into the hole before she could be photographed. Anyway, we know they are still around.

One of the Nuthatches came down to the sweet chestnut tree at the southeast corner of the leaf yard to pick peanuts out of a crack in the trunk. This is an easy way of getting photographs, and some might call it cheating.

It was joined by a young Great Tit which had just reached the stage of being able to look for food by itself. This bird also came to take pine nuts off my hand.

Other young Great Tits are still chasing their parents through the bushes, crying loudly to be fed.

The two young Pied Wagtails at the east end of the Serpentine are also foraging independently. The middle bird of the three is their mother, not as intensely black and white as a male. When one of them stopped looking for its own insects and appealed to her for food, she cuffed it away.

The solitary young Great Crested Grebe at the Serpentine island is still dependent on its parents, but is now diving to follow them when they are fishing, and staying down for quite a long time. It could probably now catch its own fish if it had to, though it takes the young birds several more months before they gain real skill at the hunt.

One of the four cygnets of a Mute Swan family on the Serpentine was preening itself and stood up to flap its absurdly small wings.

Young swans are not ready to fly until 4 or 5 months after hatching. Most of their parents are also earthbound at the moment, as they have moulted their flight feathers and not yet grown new ones.

As you can see in the background of this picture, the park is awash with small flies.

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