Thursday 19 July 2018

There were two surprises today. I had a call from Mateusz at Bluebird Boats, who said that two newly hatched Great Crested Grebe chicks had got separated from their parents and someone had brought them in. They were at the boat hire office in a cardboard box.

Luckily I had seen yesterday that the nest at the east end of the island had just hatched out. As I was going to the office I saw one of the parents carrying a single chick.

So it was a fairly easy task to take the chicks out to the right place in a boat and tip them into the water. The family reunited at once and the chicks climbed on to a parent's back. It all happened so quickly that I didn't have time for a better video.

The grebes in the fallen poplar on the Long Water were off the nest, allowing a clear but distant view of the chicks.

The pair of Little Grebes also stayed in the distance, as usual.

The other surprise is that a pair of Grey Herons on the island have bred very late and have two chicks. They already had tried to breed and failed twice this year. Let's hope they're lucky this time.

The young heron from the other nest stood on the awning of the small electric boat and had a scratch.

The Tufted Duck family with six ducklings was in the usual place east of the Lido.

The Coots who tried to nest on the little island in the Long Water and were repeatedly driven off by the Mute Swans now have the place to themselves, as the swans have lost all interest in the island.

An odd-looking Herring Gull perched on the old cast iron water level indicator in the Serpentine. It has what seems to be fully adult plumage -- though rather tatty -- but still has the dark eyes of a young gull. The usual line of white spots along the tips of its folded primaries is missing.

The male Little Owl at the leaf yard was in his usual tree.

Mateusz sent me this picture, taken the day before yesterday evening, of the young Little Owl that was rescued from the ground. It was being looked after at Bluebird Boats while Hugh Smith was on his way.

A clump of purple loosestrife in the Italian Garden pools attracted a Common Carder bee, some Honeybees and a White-Tailed Bumblebee.

These are the two commonest species of butterfly in the park, but still worth photographing: a Meadow Brown ...

... and a Small White, both drinking nectar from flowers.


  1. Ralph and Mateusz once again save the day. The birds in the Park ought to be extremely grateful to have such guardian angels.

    Look at all those stripes! Oooooh, I'd go gaga if I had the chance to hold Grebe babies, or the young Little Owl. It must have been a truly exciting moment then the chicks were reunited with their parents.

  2. You can see how young they are by the stripes. Newly hatched baby grebes have stripes all over, but in a couple of days they grow grey down that hides the stripes on the body, leaving only the stripes on the head and neck showing

  3. Excellent work!!! hope the Little Owl's tale has a positive outcome.

    1. Very hard to know with this family. They're in the Ranger's Lodge Garden, which is private.