Yesterday I went back to St Nicholas Park to check on the swans and find out if indeed there were two pairs or just one. As it turns out there is just one pair, a tagged male - BEF and an unidentified female still on the nest.
On the way along the canal I saw the first ducklings of the year. Every year I see the first ducklings at the aqueduct where the canal crosses the river. There were nine of them and they were skittering across the water chasing the flies that whizzed about.
Whilst at Kingfisher Pools there was a fishing lesson/competition that had been joined by a Heron.
I was awoken this morning by an awful din of screeching and calling. I know a predator was about and got myself up and to the window. I saw a magpie pinning a juvenile starling to the floor. I gripped it tightly and was pecking violently at the head and neck. Around him he was bombarded by a number of adult starlings who unsuccessfully mobbed the predator.
I know Magpies take chicks but to see it was something altogether different. It lacked the tools of the Sparrowhawk to despatch the prey quickly and instead was having to use brute strength and brutality to subdue both the juvenile and hold off the attacks of the adults. It was mother nature, red in tooth and claw.
Later I went down to my patch and delighted in the amount of sound, the swallows above and the whitethroats in the meadow joined the happy song of the chiffchaff filled the air with song.
The swans nest is still abandoned and sadly there was no sign of the Kingfisher I seriously doubt they are nesting this year, the activity is far too low.
Interestingly I managed to get a picture of an Orange Tip. Orange tips tend to be very flightly and rarely come to rest, all my previous shots are blurred or of them in flight. One came to light as a I sat watching the Kestrel hunt from main tree. Its great to get a good shot and be able to examine its antennae and the way it holds its wings.