Wednesday 18 January 2017

There had been a hard frost, and most of the Long Water and part of the Serpentine were iced over. There was a narrow band of clear water along the east side of the Long Water, In which some Shovellers were resting.

The two pairs of Great Crested Grebes on the Long Water had been forced into this narrow space and were too close to each other for comfort. This pair were displaying to congratulate each other ...

... on forcing this pair under the bridge on to the Serpentine, where they were consoling themselves with a comforting display. Win or lose, the reaction is the same.

The movement brought them too close to a third pair, who were displaying in turn to make sure that the intruders didn't come any nearer.

However, this pair calmed down and went to fish under the edge of the ice, a good place to catch small fish sheltering in what they wrongly believe to be safe cover.

The remaining five Cormorants were all fishing near the bridge. One of them jumped on to a chain and wobbled precariously as it flapped to keep its balance.

Mallards on the Long Water were also unstable, losing their footing on the ice.

A pair of Canada Geese were pushing their way through the ice. The one doing the icebreaking was clearly not enjoying the experience, and looked uneasy and hesitant.

A Moorhen somehow managed to pull a fish out through a hole in the ice. I think the fish must have predeceased this event.

Three unexpected young foxes were asleep on the east side of the Long Water.

An older fox, presumably one of their parents, could be indistinctly seen walking around in the undergrowth. And, on the other side, of the water near Peter Pan, some howling and screaming showed that a second pair of foxes were mating.

The newly found Little Owl was looking out of a hole in his oak tree. If he has a hole, it seems probable that he is not one of the pair from the lime tree near the Henry Moore sculpture. On the day I first found him he was calling, so he probably has a mate, so far unseen.

The female owl in the lime tree was in her usual place on the edge of the hole.

But the female owl near the Albert Memorial came out on to a branch at the top of her oak tree.


  1. Great Crested Grebes are so endearing in everything they do. No wonder they are so beloved.

    1. It's wonderful to see how fond they are of each other.

  2. A captivating series of pictures from the endearing to the unexpected, and, as often, one that prompts an involuntary laugh, this time the coot and the fish. Priceless. Small typo again -the first set of grebes "too close to each other for comfort"?

    1. Thanks for pointing that out. But that's a Moorhen.

    2. Muphry. See what I mean? It defeats the most vigilant checking.

  3. Hilarious. I'd like to claim it was double irony but my nose is long enough already.