Saturday, 16 August 2014

The three Great Crested Grebe chicks from the east end of the island were rushing around in the open water near Bluebird Boats, ignoring the weekend crowd of pedalos which sometimes passed within inches of them.

One of them chased its parent along the edge of the platform, under the toes of the boat people. Events on the shore are irrelevant to grebes, and are ignored.

The numerous Moorhen family in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace are now grown up, and have completely taken over the garden, which is closed to humans. They were running about jostling pigeons out of their way. Here one of the young birds searches for insects in a stridently coloured flower bed.

This Mandarin is a drake in eclipse, looking exactly like a female except for his pink bill.

He has almost completely regrown his moulted flight feathers. When he can fly again, it will be safe for him to go back into his gaudy breeding plumage.

Female ducks look the same all year round, even when moulting. This quiet cappuccino-coloured bird is a Red Crested Pochard.

There are quite a lot of these on the lake at the moment, and also of Common Pochards, which are clustered in their usual place on the east side of the Long Water. Common Pochards have a small permanent population here which is greatly increased by winter migrants. The Red Crested Pochard population is descended from escapes from collections and all the London birds are permanent residents in this country, though they fly about between parks.

The five young Coots in the Italian Garden were giving an entertaining display of diving to fetch algae from the bottom of the pond. They are slightly more agile under water than adult Coots, which have to paddle desperately to stay submerged for a couple of seconds.

The male Little Owl came out in mid-afternoon.

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