Monday 24 December 2018

This Great Crested Grebe stuck in the stream in the Dell has been rescued by Hugh Smith the Wildlife Officer. He had a hard time trying to catch it and take it up to the lake. Grebes can swim at 15 mph under water, and dodge effortlessly between your feet. This video shows only the beginning of the attempt, which eventually took almost two hours, seven people in three vans, and a roll of plastic netting. But he succeeded and the grebe is now on the lake none the worse for its experience.

The Little Owl in the oak tree near the Albert Memorial lurked at the back of her hole ...

... but the owl at the Queen's Temple came out to bask in the sunshine.

A pair of Egyptian Geese displayed noisily in the next tree.

In the leaf yard, a Great Tit picked little pieces out of a pine nut.

A Blue Tit came out to be fed.

A Starling shone in the sunlight.

A Dunnock lurked in the fallen leaves.

Two Magpies searched for insects and worms among dead leaves at the edge of the Vista.

A Mistle Thrush ate fruit in the rowan tree on Buck Hill, then flew away with its rattling flight call, startling a Blackbird which you can hear calling out of shot.

There was also a Redwing in the tree.

A Jay waited in the next tree for me to stop photographing and produce a peanut.

There were two Grey Herons on the middle nest on the island, hard to see through the twigs. All three nests are now active.

A Mute Swan dozed in the middle of a path in the Italian Garden. Swans know who's boss, and expect you to walk around them.

A pair of Mallards rested on the dead willow in the Long Water.

A Tufted Duck turned upside down to preen.

I wish a very happy Christmas and a successful New Year to all readers.


  1. I shouldn't find it entertaining that it took so much manpower and ingenuity to capture one lone slippery Grebe, but I do. Anyway well done on the Wildlife Officer and all concerned!

    Merry Christmas to all!

    1. The grebe was in its element, the humans absolutely not. Hats off to Hugh for outwitting it.

  2. and from me too, once more, a good solstice, and the increase of light to all.

    1. Also in January there's Wassailing the apple trees, in the community orchards of Hackney. Don't think they'll let us light fire, sadly.

    2. Perhaps we ought to make a Wicker Man to ensure that the coming year goes well.

    3. and who shall we put in it?

    4. Start with the Cabinet, and work down.

    5. Yes; best build some more Wicker Men.