Thursday 8 August 2013

One of the teenage Moorhens on the Italian Garden pond was feeding little bits of algae to one of the new chicks. They are, in fact, brothers or sisters. But whether it was caused by fraternal feeling or the teenager was imitating the grown-ups is hard to say.

On the next pond, where there is a family of Coots with five chicks, things were less harmonious, but just as sensible in terms of securing the survival of as many chicks as possible. This adult is chasing off the largest chick because it has been getting all the food, so that the smaller chicks can have their turn.

I have also seen Great Crested Grebes chasing away their strongest chick. Do birds have a concept of fairness? Impossible to tell what is going on in their heads.

There is yet another Great Crested Grebes' nest built and occupied opposite Peter Pan, under a willow bush just south of the line of posts. But so many nests have been made and abandoned here that I doubt whether they will get as far as laying eggs. The other nest on the east side of the Long Water and the absurdly situated one on the fallen tree are still both occupied.

Near the Serpentine island, the two young grebe chicks were romping all over their father's back.

I think he was rather annoyed, because after a while he stood up in the water and tipped them off -- he was in a safe place under overhanging bushes. He left them in the water for a few minutes before letting them climb on again, after which they were noticeably quieter. Their mother was a short way off, searching for small fish.

The six young Egyptian Geese on the Round Pond are nearly flying. Someone who was here yesterday said that she had seen them charging about flapping, but they had not managed any more than a short hop. Fortunately, all their wings seem to be growing straight. Here one of them lies in an exggeratedly relaxed pose to preen its new flight feathers.


  1. I love your description of fatherly discipline by the Grebe and wished I could have witnessed it. I have never yet had a good view of either Grebe parent carrying its chicks.

  2. For the past few days the grebe carrying the chicks has been close the the west end of the island, in the shade of the bushes, and quite hard to see with the naked eye from the shore. You need binoculars to get a decent view.