Sunday, 17 August 2014

The Great Crested Grebes' nest on the east side of the Vista seems to be hatching.

It is a long way off and hard to see what is going on, but the female grebe, on the nest at this time, had raised her wings slightly in the way that grebes do when they have chicks on their back, and her mate was constantly fussing around her.

The three grebe chicks from the island were chasing their parents all round the Bluebird Boats platform. This one came in close to the shore.

The single grebe chick at the east end of the Serpentine was menaced by a Grey Heron flying overhead, and crash-dived, staying down for as long as a chick could -- about 20 seconds -- and surfacing some way off. This happened twice. I don't think that a heron could grab a chick as it flew over, but it was good to see the young bird's protective reflexes working so well.

Also at the end of the Serpentine, the single Tufted duckling is alive and well and being looked after carefully by its Mallard stepmother, who took it inside the wire mesh on the floating reed bed while the heron was around.

The Mallard family near the bridge had seven ducklings when I photographed it on Friday, and it still does -- a remarkable achievement for a Mallard on an open lake.

There was a shower around 1 o'clock, and this Cormorant stood out in the rain spreading its wings -- a clear sign that they don't do this to dry their feathers, but to help with the digestion of their heavy meals of fish.

At least 15 Mistle Thrushes were flying around Buck Hill, feeding in the grass and perching in the surrounding trees.

The usual population of Mute Swans has still not returned to the Round Pond after the rebuilding work. There were only eight, far less than the former 60 or 70, most of whom remain on the Serpentine. Greylag, Canada and Egyptian Geese have come back in large numbers, and most of the park Starlings were trotting around the edge trying to take the food that people were giving the waterfowl.

There was still a very late Red Admiral butterfly in the leaf yard.


  1. hi ralph

    thanks for you usual fantastic reporting. you haven't mentioned goldcrest for a long time. do we have a regular population in the park or have they all vanished? they always seem elusive anyway. i always seem to catch them by sheer chance.
    MArk W2

    1. Yes, we do have a resident population, and also winter migrants. But they're most noticeable when they're singing, and they've stopped singing. Keep a close eye on flocks of Long-Tailed Tits, and you may see one tagging along with them.

  2. hi ralph

    thanks for the tip.
    Mark W2