Tuesday 9 October 2012

The three Little Grebes were out together on the Long Water and, as usual, were chasing each other about and trilling loudly. It is more of a game than a real territorial dispute, as they have not bred this year and don't have proper territories. Sometimes they fish peacefully side by side. Here one of them starts a rush ...

... and one of them skitters across the water in pursuit of another.

Grebes can't come down on water like other swimming birds, by putting their feet down like water skis, because their feet are set so far back. Instead they splash down messily, and in the case of a Great Crested Grebe it looks more like a ditching than a landing. Little Grebes sometimes descend to an altitude of about three feet and abruptly stop flying and dive in headlong.

The Tufted Duck I saw on 4 October in the Italian Garden is definitely lame, though he does not seem to have any fractures and may recover. However, he is getting around all right, and the only effect on his behaviour is that he likes to climb out and sit on the edge of the water. Here he is preening vigorously.

The lower part of the ground where the Olympic site stood is now flooded, partly because some shallow excavations were made and have not yet been filled in. The pools of water and the fresh regrowing grass make it an ideal place for these Egyptian Geese to hang out.

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