While photographing the Malibu nesting Egrets in their Ficus tree (before returning to the UK), I spotted one of them clambering about on a Eucalyptus tree some distance away- so I went to investigate. What I discovered was that he had found a good supply of dead twigs there to take to his mate on the nest. I think this was more as a display symbol rather than for repairing the nest, as I had previously observed a male bird returning to his nest after copulation with an offering of a stick (click here for images).
Because of his size he was having a difficult time balancing on the fragile branches while he pulled at the dead twigs. Here he is:
And here he is looking like a beautiful Angel...
He now perseveres to reach what he wants:
Now he prepares to leave the tree with his trophy:
Finally, he is disappearing to take it to his mate...
Well, having said a sad good-bye to the Egrets I flew back to the London Borough of Ilford. Here it was grey and unusually cold for a UK May, so at first I skulked about feeling rather sorry for myself. However, very soon I walked to Valentines Park, which has always been rewarding. The first thing I saw was a Great Crested Grebe carrying sticks to HIS mate's nest, in a similar fashion to the Egret- only he was collecting the sticks from an old nest and SWIMMING with them to his new one. I gather the Grebes had been ousted from their first nest by Coots.
Great Crested Grebes have always been yet another favourite of mine. This dates from my love of a delightful illustration of one in Pere Castor's "Ploof the Wild Duck", a French book I had as a child, and then seeing the birds themselves on the Lochs in Aberdeenshire with my parents who were fervent birdwatchers.
So here is the Grebe gallantly taking his stick to his nest on the edge of the Boating Lake:
Here you can just see him- on the left side of the nest- delivering the stick:
and then taking a short break beside the nest:
Shortly after this the female(?) bird left the nest and a good clutch of four eggs were exposed:
Then she- or he- returned to the nest and, after taking pains to build up "sludge" around the eggs, settled down on it:
Finally, the Grebe tucked it's beak under it's neck as it settled down for a doze...
I might add that I feel eternally grateful that I was born- or brought up with- a love of Nature, enabling me to find immense happiness and stimulation whether I am in Southern California or London!