Thursday 30 July 2015

The Great Crested Grebe family were at the Serpentine island again today, and the three chicks were playing around, diving and chasing each other while waiting for their parents to bring them food. They posed in a neat group for a moment.

A Herring Gull on a nearby post showed no interest in them. Perhaps it knows that they can submerge with lightning speed when threatened.

The five Coot chicks in the Italian Garden pond are still in good order ...

... and so are the four Moorhen chicks, with the two sets of parents still eyeing each other warily.

The two Mute Swan cygnets on the Serpentine were putting on a display of synchronised eating.

All the park waterfowl are hopelessly addicted to the bread that people throw them. Most seem to survive this unhealthy diet unharmed, except for the Egyptian Geese, which can develop 'angel wing' because of the excessive protein they are eating.

The undersized young Egyptian Goose on the Serpentine is still clinging to life, and was swimming around briskly eating the alage on the concrete edge of the Serpentine. Its leg injury seems to be healing, and it can swim well and has only a slight limp on land.

The four Mallard chicks on the Round Pond are also alive and well. Their mother was trying to keep an Egyptian Goose from sharing their platform, but it went round to the back and climbed up there.

A Wood Pigeon was sitting under one of the fountains in the Sunken Garden, apparently enjoying the shower.

The Reed Warblers are still showing well in their reed bed near the bridge.

All the family are now flying around for quite a distance, and I saw two young ones chasing each other more than 50 yards from their nest.

A large family group of Long-Tailed Tits was working its way through the trees along the Flower Walk.

There was still no sign of any Little Owls when I last went past their area at 4.15.


  1. Gorgeous grebelet photo!

    I have a very soft spot for coot chicks too. Apparently 'bald as a coot' was coined in Tyndale's translation of the New Testament. It's lovely to think of such a descriptive phrase dating back hundreds of years.

    1. Couldn't find this in Tyndale. But it is in John Lydgate's Chronicle of Troy, 1430: 'And yet he was as balde as is a coote.'

    2. Oh, I got that snippet from the R4 series on the King James Bible, broadcast a year or two ago. Seems like they were wrong (and you are right!). Thank you for the correction.

    3. Postscript. I thought the 'bald' label applied to the chicks. But apparently it describes the adult's white head. In old English the word `bald` has several meanings, one of which is `streaked or marked with white`, hence the expression.

      These are murky and complex linguistic waters Ralph!

  2. Ralph. That's a wood pigeon?

    1. Yes,thanks, I think you're right. Did wonder when I was looking, but couldn't see a neck ring. However, it shows faintly in the photograph.