Tuesday, 11 February 2014

A pair of Great Crested Grebes who nested successfully last year behind the baskets surrounding the Serpentine island were looking at the site again. A Coot that dared to get in their way was quickly driven off.

The Grey Herons on the island seem to have abandoned nest building, at least for the time being. None have been on any of the three nests for several days. If they don't nest again this year, at least that will be to the advantage of the grebes.

Some Coots were conducting their own hostilities on the Long Water. Here, having got their feet tangled while trying to kick each other, they pause for a moment.

The male Tawny Owl was inside the nest tree this morning, but came out later to enjoy the  afternoon sunlight.

The Jackdaws were strolling around under the owls' tree.

I met a man who knows Richmond Park well, and asked him why they have so few Carrion Crows there, although the place is knee-deep in Jackdaws. He told me that there had been plenty of crows until 2001, when the epidemic of foot and mouth disease among cattle caused the park to be closed. The crows no longer had a supply of human rubbish, so they left to find better pickings. They are slowly returning. Meanwhile the Jackdaws had plenty of deer ticks to eat, and whatever else they could dig up, and prospered in the absence of competition.

Near the Speke obelisk, a Green Woodpecker flew past me and landed in a tree. I went up to it being careful not to look at it, and to my slight surprise the trick worked and I was able to get quite close.

The camera doesn't worry them. It's the gaze of the bright human eye, similar to their own black and white stare, that seems to frighten them, just as it scares Jackdaws which also have light-coloured eyes.

There didn't seem to be any Redwings on the Parade Ground, or indeed much of anything. Even the Starlings were off elsewhere. There was just one Pied Wagtail, twittering to himself as he trotted around.

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