Sunday, 11 June 2017

The Great Crested Grebes nesting on the fallen poplar tree were feeding feathers to their two chicks.

Encouraged by their success in breeding, the other pair of grebes on the Long Water resumed building their nest on the other side of the tree.

They had piled up the algae quite a lot in the last hour. When I went past earlier, one of them tried standing on the nest and it sank, so clearly more stuff was needed.

The Coots nesting on the post at Peter were doing a bit of maintenance.

But Death stood on the next post, in the form of a third-year Lesser Black-Backed Gull.

I have been watching this nest since the beginning of April, and I have never seen any eggs it it. Probably the gulls seize any that are laid, and this is why the persistent Coots have been in this place for so long, laying egg after egg that gets taken at once. A Herring Gull can easily pick up a Coot's egg in its beak and fly away with it.

The Coots nesting on the wire baskets near the bridge, equally persistent, now have four eggs in their second clutch.

The Mute Swans were resting in their usual place on the gravel bank and, as usual, a Grey Heron was lurking in the background. If it had been a goose the swans would have driven it away, but that ferocious beak makes even a swan careful.

The Egyptian Geese on the Round Pond still have six goslings out of the original seven.

This is the pair that nest in the split oak tree north of the pond, and on which Virginia keeps a close watch. There is also a pair on the pond with two young.

The usual Swifts ...

... and House Martins ...

were flying over the pond. But there were also about ten Sand Martins, which are only occasionally see here. They are a paler brown than House Martins, and don't have the distinctive white rump patch.

On their underside, they have a distinctive dark neck band.

There was a brief glimpse of the first young Magpie I've seen this year, still with a fairly short tail.

It was on the willow tree by the bridge, pestering a parent to feed it. The adult flew off, pursued by the youngster.

The female Little Owl near the leaf yard stood on the edge of her nest hole for a few seconds ...

... then flew up into the tree and I couldn't see her. Shortly afterwards I met a visitor from Cumbria who had come to see a Little Owl, and we went to the tree. Annoyingly, she flew on to a thick branch and stood facing away so that you could only see part of her back. When I went past again two hours later, she was still in the same place.


  1. I wonder, is she camera-shy with strangers? She trusts you, clearly, but not strangers, it seems.

    1. Yes, she doesn't feel easy with strangers. Staring at her is worse than using a camera, because she can see your eyes.