Saturday 4 August 2018

The first sign of autumn: half a dozen migrant Mistle Thrushes have returned to Buck Hill. This one looks up nervously from time to time, as the Kestrel was around.

She was hunting from the trees at the top of the hill.

At a time when small birds are not very visible, it was pleasing to see a female Blackcap ...

... and a Wren in the bushes around the Long Water.

A Wood Pigeon drank from the pool at the top of the Dell waterfall. Most birds have to drink by taking a beakful of water and throwing their head back to swallow it, but pigeons can drink continuously. They must be doing something clever with their tongues.

The Little Owl at the leaf yard was hard to see today.

One of the young Grey Herons in the nest on the island stretched a large wing. The flight feathers are fully grown and the bird will be airworthy when it has scratched the wrappings off by preening.

The Coots at the Serpentine outflow whose nest was destroyed have built a new one in a single day, solidly made of twigs and with a comfortable lining of leaves. Their energy is amazing. The chick at the bottom of the weir is still alive and could be heard calling.

Yesterday we saw one Coot passing food to another to feed a chick. Today the Coots at the southeast corner of the Serpentine were doing the same thing.

One of the Moorhen chicks from the nest under the platform of Bluebird Boats was swimming along briskly. Their peculiar underwater running action looks inefficient, especially as they don't have webbed feet. But it seems to work quite well.

There is a new Great Crested Grebe family at the west end of the island, from a nest somewhere behind the line of floating baskets. Two chicks could be seen.

The grebes from the other end of the island were out with their three chicks.

So were the family on the Long Water with four.

The family near the bridge were sheltering under the willow tree. The chicks are beginning to lose their juvenile stripes, and to grow little black crests.

The lake was busy with pedalos and the Tufted Duck families had gone into cover, probably on the island behind the baskets. But there was a little fleet of drakes, looking drab in their eclipse plumage.

A female Pochard on the Long Water looked oddly pale, but perhaps it was just a trick of the bright sunlight.


  1. Brave Coots! They are admirably indefatigable. And they never give up, in spite of all odds. I am astounded that they are not frequent protagonists of animal fables.

    1. Not pretty enough to be noticed, perhaps. I thought Coots were boring till I started watching them.