Tuesday 26 June 2012

Today I did the monthly bird count around the Long Water and Serpentine, made difficult by much of the shore being occupied by the Olympic construction site. The number of geese currently on the lake moulting their wing feathers was 333, composed of 282 Greylags and 151 Canadas. Some Canadas have left in the past fortnight.

There was a Grey Heron in the abandoned nest at the east end of the Serpentine island. I think it was just using it as a convenient perch and did not intend to return to it seriously, as it left soon afterwards and stood on a wire mesh plant box instead, staring at the new Great Crested Grebe family who were safely out of reach.

Another heron stood in the Dell, eyeing the large carp in the water. The fish are far too big for it to catch, but herons are always hopeful.

The Coot family under the ledge of the Dell restaurant were out and about. Here one of the parents dives with the usual clumsy splash to bring up some algae for the chicks. They are very buoyant birds and find it hard to stay submerged. As soon as they stop swimming downwards they pop up like corks.

There are two new broods of Mallard ducklings on the Long Water, one of six and the other of four. There was one Lesser Black-Backed Gull in sight, and both mother ducks were keeping their offspring close to the edge, ready to retreat to cover if the gull came nearer.

A Reed Warbler was singing loud and long in the reeds on the southeast corner of the Serpentine. Let's hope that some of them manage to breed before it's time for them to migrate back to Africa.

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