Monday 2 September 2013

You wait all year for Great Crested Grebes to breed, and then four do it all at once. The newest brood is from the nest ridiculously sited in the middle of the Long Water, on the tip of a fallen poplar tree. It can only be photographed in a very long shot from the bridge, and any camera that could get a good picture here would have to be brought in on a barrow. But you can just see a little stripy head poking out from under its father's wing as the mother brings it a feather. I couldn't see any other chicks yet.

I have said this before, but feathers are an essential part of a grebe's diet. They are needed to wrap up sharp fishbones to keep these from damaging the bird's digestive tract.

The two young grebes on the Serpentine island were both visible today, after several days when I only saw one and was worried that the other had died. And the brood on the Long Water at the Vista is still being fed, though it was impossible to see whether there are one or two chicks. And, to round out today's grebe news, the three from the reed bed at the east end of the Serpentine were rushing around trying to be first when a parent arrived with a fish.

The Hobbies were audible in the northwest corner of Kensington Gardens, but I didn't see them.

For two days a mixed flock of Chiffchaffs and Blue Tits has been ranging around the trees between Peter Pan and the Italian Garden.

And, also from the Italian Garden, a heartening story. A Coot chick had somehow managed to climb inside one of the wire mesh enclosures of the clumps of water plants, and was too large to get out through the mesh. It was swimming around the edge squeaking piteously.

I was there with a young couple, and the girl heroically resolved to go into the pool and rescue the trapped bird. I gave her the wire cutters I always carry and she was lowered over the stone parapet into the water, which fortunately is not too deep. Here she is cutting a hole in the netting.

When we had hauled her out, the young Coot, which had been rushing about in a panic, found the hole and swam out, and was reunited with its family.

It makes you proud to be British.


  1. rule brittania, britannia rules the .....etc. what a wonderful report ralph! hate to see the birds getting in trouble. what a trooper having the wire cutters!
    must look out for the chiffcchaffs on my walk as well.

    mark W2

  2. Always happy to help. x

  3. Ditto. A classic ... and beautifully told. A brilliant touch to use the Peter Pan picture.

    Isn't this the second time you've inveigled a passer-by into rescuing a distressed bird in the Italian Gardens?

    1. Yes, it's that wretched wire netting. Wish they'd take it down. Have already written to the Royal Parks ecologists about it.

  4. Really nice and great post.She is looking so great when she is helping ..
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