Life springs eternal
There was a wonderful sense of peace in the park yesterday. But this belied the truth – it was actually a hive of activity, all with one aim: to successfully produce off-spring. Crows and many Magpies still seem to be at the beginning of the process. The other day I saw Magpies mating, and another pair were busy putting the finishing touches to a nest. Today a Crow with the biggest bill full of dried grasses and small twigs flew by me, clearly intent on creating a new home. The Moorhen on Henbury pond seems to be making another nest now, after abandoning their first on, which can still be seen woven onto a branch floating on the water.
A pair of Moorhens on Long Pool duck pond have already successfully hatched their young, and the tiny black balls of fluff, with a tiny flash of red above their beaks, can be seen moving at remarkable speed across the water.
Long Pool has also welcomed Mallard ducklings. I am told they hatched on Tuesday, though I only saw them for the first time yesterday.
The patient Coot is still sitting, but it surely cannot be long until her eggs hatch. She has been a magnificent mother so far, not moving from her place come rain, shine, or almost gale-force gusts of wind. She doesn’t even move under the baleful eye of the Heron, who seems to have become a daily visitor.
Another patient mother is the Canada Goose. She is well hidden on her little island on Long Pool, barely moving a muscle, while her mate patrols ceaselessly on the water. These birds are fearlessly protective of their young, and are prone to aggression at this time of year so it is best to keep pets and children away from them until their young are big enough to look after themselves.
For some birds this has already happened: they have raised their young and literally watched them fly the nest already. Keep an eye out for just-fledged Robins, for example. The adults will soon start considering a second brood, and so the process will begin again.