Sunday, 3 August 2014

Two Grey Herons were having a fight over the Serpentine, chasing each other with hoarse cries low over the heads of the Sunday boaters.

Despite the throngs of people going past the reed bed near the Diana fountain, the Reed Warbler family were occasionally visible. This is one of the young ones.

Both broods of Great Crested Grebe chicks were in good order. The pair from the island had gone out into the lake, dodging the boats with practised ease, but after a while came back into the quieter area between the island and the shore.

The pair from the reed bed at the east end of the Serpentine were right out in the open. But people in boats generally cut the corner and avoid the reeds, so there was time for a rest and a preen before catching some more fish for the chicks.

I couldn't find any of the owls today. While I was looking at the Little Owls' tree there was a distant call from a Hobby, and it could just be seen half a mile away over Paddington Station having a dispute with a Buzzard.

The one surviving chick of the Moorhens' second brood in the Italian Garden has started climbing up the clumps of water plants. There may be a few insects here for them to eat, but Moorhens really seem to enjoy climbing for its own sake.

A Cormorant had come up the Long Water and was under Italian Garden, an area teeming with fish of all sizes which it was demolishing with gusto. It was swallowing the fish so quickly after surfacing that I couldn't get a shot of it doing this.

But what this picture does show is the water running off its greasy back. It is often said that Cormorants get wet when diving, and have to spread their wings to dry out. I am not sure how much truth there is in this story -- and I have seen Cormorants spreading their wings in the rain, so there may be another reason for this behaviour.


  1. With reference to your query on why Cormorants spread their wings in the rain. Many years ago a famous naturalist Eric Hardy who was leading our group of birdwatchers on a week's holiday said they spread their wings to help their digestion and it was nothing to do with the drying of the feathers. It helped the rib cage to expand.

    1. Thanks for that useful information. I should think that their digestion needed all the help it could get after hoovering up five pounds of raw fish in a few minutes.