Thursday 5 September 2013

A Grey Heron was basking in the warm sunshine in that curious posture that herons adopt for sunbathing, which makes them look like a rocket on the launch pad.

Apparently birds sun themselves because the heat causes their feather parasites to come to the surface, where they can more easily be picked off when the bird preens itself. So not only the bird but its mites are basking, and for the mites it leads to their doom.

Bathing in water also helps to dislodge parasites, just by washing them out. This Wood Pigeon in the pool at the top of the Dell waterfall had been having a splashy bath, but this had not washed its head to the bird's satisfaction. So it stood on the edge and washed its head separately.

The three Mallard ducklings had also been basking on one of the Italian Garden fountains, which had gone wrong again and been turned off. Tiring of this, they jumped into the water.

All the Great Crested Grebe chicks seem to be in good order, though I still can't see what is going on in the nest in the shadows on the island. This is the family from the east end of the Serpentine, which had had to come in near the edge of the lake because the electric boat was bearing down on them.

The chicks are remarkably independent for their age, and spend a lot of time off their parent's back swimming around and diving.

For some days a family of Egyptian Geese has been on the edge of the Long Water near the Vista. I think they originally came from the Round Pond, where I had been watching the young ones and wondering when they would be able to fly. Well, they can now: they were chased by a dog, and sprang into the air and flew several yards into the water. It was not a very elegant performance, but it got them out of trouble.

No sign of the Hobbies today. They will be leaving for Africa some time this month. There was a single Sparrowhawk circling over Buck Hill, too high for me to get a reasonable picture of it.


  1. Thank you for all the Great Crested Grebe pictures. I hope to visit the park on Saturday and will look out for the chicks.

    I have just been watching my local Grebe family, at South Norwood Lake in south London.

  2. Thanks. I felt that I had been rather over-concentrating on the grebes in recent days, but they are the most interesting thing in the park at the moment.