Tuesday, 17 September 2013

One of the Hobbies appeared, high over the Round Pond, chasing some migrating swallows that were passing through. It was far too high for a proper picture, so these little ones will have to do.

Two crows flew up and started mobbing it. Here is one of them having a very close encounter.

But it had no effect on the Hobby, and as soon as the crows left it went back to the hunt. I didn't see it catch anything, But the Hobbies will follow the Swallows down to Africa, eating many of them on the way.

A sad story from the Serpentine: a construction worker's vehicle hit one of the young Moorhens from the Bluebird Boats platform and broke its leg. One of the workmen saw this and put the injured bird in the lake. It would probably have been more merciful to kill it straight away, but how could you? The poor bird was promptly attacked by a Coot. Its mother came out to defend it, and escorted it away under the platform.

But I fear that it is a goner. Since Hyde Park is now an almost permanent building site, this kind of thing happens quite often.

On a more cheerful note, all four young Mandarins are alive and well. I saw them together on one of the rainswept ponds in the Italian Gardens.

The Mallard drakes are regrowing their smart feathers after their drab time in eclipse. The bird on the right is nearly in full dress, and the one on the left is less advanced.

The eldest Great Crested Grebe chicks are now trying to fish for themselves, diving constantly and staying down for some time. They don't seem to be catching anything, and their parents are still bringing them fish.

But it is good practice for adult life. On the Long Water, the elder pair of grebe chicks were given a lesson in learning to fend for themselves when an adult caught a fish and ate it in front of them. Of course adults have to eat too, and it was a useful encouragement for the chicks, but I was still reminded of the dreadful story of Evelyn Waugh and the bananas, which you can read here.

Another two pairs of grebes were passing a rainy afternoon by having a territorial dispute. Here is one of them in full threat posture.

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