Tuesday, 23 July 2013

The single young Great Crested Grebe is now independent, and was fishing by itself near the bridge. While I watched it caught two small fish.

The first weeks of independence are a dangerous time for young grebes, as they don't yet have an adult's hunting skill or local knowledge. But this one had come to the right place, near one of the baskets of twigs that have become a fish nursery, and seemed to be doing very well. I saw its parents diving under the baskets around the island where their nest had been. I wonder whether they are thinking of starting another nest, and that is why they have kicked their offspring out rather early. There is still plenty of time for a second brood. At present, the only grebes' nest that is a going concern is the one on the Long Water opposite Peter Pan.

There are now several juvenile Lesser Black-Backed Gulls on the lake, brought in by their parents from their breeding ground to live on the rich pickings of the park. This picture shows the unbroken run of grey primaries that distinguishes a young Lesser Black-Back from a young Herring Gull, which has white-tipped inner primaries.

Actually they are easy to identify at the moment because they are still hanging around with their parents.

The three young Moorhens in the Italian Garden pond, which are only a month old, are already beginning to grow flight feathers. Here you can see them emerging in the blue wrappers that keep the barbs of the feathers from getting stuck as they come out.

At first sight this picture seems ordinary enough: a Canada Goose moving through the water rather quickly.

But if you look closer you will see a ball of fluff attached to its tail. This is a Mallard duckling, and it has bitten the goose on the behind to make it go away. The incident started on shore, when someone was giving bread to the geese and a brood of five young Mallards waded in fearlessly, running under the big geese and getting quite a lot of food. This annoyed the geese, which started pecking at them. And this little bird lost its temper and went for its tormentor, causing it to flee hastily. I don't think the goose knew what had happened to it.

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