Yesterday I went out with my daughter Zoe for a walk round the Reading University lakes. The pair of Egyptian geese that had 7 chicks back in early February have only 3 surviving but these seem to be fairly healthy. They were stood preening themselves on the shore near Foxhill House.
Near the middle lake we came across the younger pair of Egyptian geese, the ones that had failed to bring up any chicks in the previous two years, partly because the male had a damaged leg. However, this time the male had been usurped by an aggressive grey-morph male and was reduced to skulking in the long grass 20 or 30 metres away. Whenever he tried to approach his ex-mate, the grey male would fly at him and chase him off. The grey male must have arrived on the scene in only the past few days: it wasn't there last weekend. There also seems to have been quite a bit of fighting between the two males: there were red patches of blood on the leading edges of the grey male's wings (the blood is not visible in the above photo); we didn't get close enough to see state of the rufous male.
Right at the top of the middle lake a swan was sitting on a nest and while we were watching it laid this egg.
This afternoon, Zoe and I caught a train to Pangbourne and walked back the 5 miles to Reading. Along the way we saw at least 4 buzzards, 3 red kites and 3 kestrels. I tried to photograph them but they were either too high or in the direction of the sun, so all I came back with was this photo of a dunnock.
Zoe tells me that the the local bird expert says the grey-rufous pair actually arrived together and that the lone rufous male was by itself when they arrived. So there was no usurpation; at least not here.