Thursday, 19 September 2013

The Red-Crested Pochard drakes are beginning to regrow their showy plumage: tall ginger wig, cappuccino back, white sides, black front. This one is the most advanced of the little group that have settled on the Long Water.

The Great Crested Grebe family from the fallen poplar tree on the Long Water had ventured under the bridge on to the Serpentine to be fed in the productive water between the bridge and the Lido. Here they are going home, about to pass under the bridge whose reflection darkens the water behind them.

They are closely grouped because the lake is thick with young Lesser Black-Backed Gulls, with a few adults and Herring Gulls, all of which are keen to snatch the fish a parent is bringing them. Another grebe carring a large crayfish was assailed with particular vigour. Grebes have to swallow crayfish whole, which is quite difficult for them and nutritionally dubious -- can their digestion really get through the tough carapace? But gulls can carry crayfish ashore and peck them open.

A Coot on the Serpentine had found another challenging snack, a floating apple.

Since there was no way of holding the apple in place on the water, the bird was pecking and pushing and chasing it, and occasionally managing to get a beakful of food as the apple was knocked away.

A familiar sight has reappeared on the moored boats of the Bluebird boat hire: the wooden owl that was originally in the Italian Garden.

It was fixed to the roof of the loggia to deter pigeons, in which it was a notable failure. This picture was taken in 2010, before the building was renovated and the owl taken down.

Whether it will work any better in deterring Egyptian Geese remains to be seen. My guess is no, unless they mistake it for a cat.

Wood Pigeons are getting more and more common in the park, but I didn't expect to see 61 of them together on Buck Hill. Many of them were young birds that had not yet grown the distinctive white collar of adults.

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