Monday 26 August 2013

A surprise arrival at the east end of the Serpentine: three new Great Crested Grebe chicks. The nest is invisible, presumably inside the reed bed, and you can only get a distant oblique view of the family in the water at the edge of the reeds. This long shot is the only picture I got that shows the heads of all three chicks, which poked out when their mother (in the foreground) brought them a fish.

It was too large for them to swallow, so in the end she gave it to her mate and he ate it.

The grebes from the nest at the island are swimming, diving and playing adventurously in the open water near the small boathouses. Here one of them flaps its little wings.

Although it will not be able to fly for another 10 or 12 weeks, its wings are not as small and underdeveloped as those of some water birds. This is because baby grebes have to climb around on their nest and up their parents' backs. Their legs are set so far to the rear that they can't stand up until they are older (and never very well even then), so they use their wings as front legs in a rather reptilian fashion.

A flock of about 30 Mistle Thrushes passed over the Italian Gardens and Buck Hill, heading southeast towards Dover and the shortest Channel crossing. I expected them to see the bright red berries on the rowan trees at the top of Buck Hill and stop for a feed, so I went over there. But when I arrived there was no trace of them. I think they went slightly too far to the right to be able to see them over a screen of taller trees.

The four Mandarin ducklings are alive and well, and now of teenage size. They were sitting on the grass on the edge of the Long Water when something, perhaps a passing dog, startled them and they rushed into the lake.

This Cormorant near the island was having some difficulty in balancing on the very small projecting tip of a sunken branch.


  1. I really enjoy reading your blog, especially your interesting descriptions of bird behaviour.

    I get to the park about every couple of weeks. I went there today and was delighted to see the new family of Grebe chicks. I enjoyed watching the two older Grebe chicks. It was also good to see the Moorhen families in the Serpentine and Italian Gardens