Monday 18 January 2016

A pair of Great Crested Grebes were dancing on the Serpentine near the bridge.

They start dancing early in the New Year. On most lakes they would nest in spring, but the seasonal fluctuation in the supply of small fish in the Serpentine and Long Water prevents them from doing this till the late summer. There may be a few attempts at an early nest, but they won't come to anything.

Today I did the usual monthly bird count on the two lakes and the Round Pond for the BTO's Wetland Bird Survey. I was also asked by the Duck Specialist Group to record the sex ratios of Pochards. Here is a drake on the Long Water.

It is suspected that the number of males is so much greater than that of the females that this is causing overall numbers to decline. But it is not as simple as that, because the sexes migrate separately at different times and go to different places. There is certainly a big bias in favour of males in this park. I counted 25 males and 6 females, and I think that two of the females were part of the small resident population usually found near the island.

No one saw the Black Swan today. However, Mateusz at Bluebird Boats saw him yesterday afternoon lurking behind one of the motor boats, so it is possible that he is still around. Both his girlfriend and the girlfriend's brother were by themselves yesterday and today. Here she is, perhaps looking a bit cross at being deserted.

On the near side of the island a Grey Heron was completely horizontal in the water.

I wondered whether it was wading in deep water where its feet could only just touch the ground, but then it stood up and shook itself. It was a heron's way of bathing.

A Pied Wagtail was running along the shore, and picked out some small creature from the slime.

Someone had left a bag of rice and vegetables nearby and a Carrion Crow was enjoying this, driving away any pigeons that tried to share it.

The Jackdaws that have settled around the sculpture always come over to demand peanuts.

A female Blackbird was foraging in a patch of dead leaves near the bridge.

And a Long-Tailed Tit was also on the hunt for insects in the shrubbery near the Henry Moore sculpture.

The recent cold weather has not deterred the Robins from pairing up, which they mistakenly did in the mild conditions of December, feeling that spring was coming. I saw several pairs today. These were in the hazel thicket across the path from the leaf yard.


  1. What a lovely picture of the great crested grebes' dance! They haven't started dancing here yet.
    How gorgeous and pleasing the composition and the colour scheme of the picture with the robins and the great tit.

    1. Thanks for your kind words. I just try to point the camera in the right direction.

  2. two robins and an eavesdropping tit: nice.

    1. The tits were having a thin time, with both Robins chasing them away.