Wednesday 21 August 2019

The Great Crested Grebes from the west end of the island had returned from yesterday's excursion, and the older and younger chicks were waiting for their other parent to return with a fish of the appropriate size. They showed no interest in the nest, and stayed afloat in the shade of the bushes.

Ahmet Amerikali got a dramatic shot of two grebes chasing each other.

The Coots that built and lost and rebuilt  this nest at the Serpentine outflow have finally given up, and a pair of Moorhens have taken it over. One of them was making it comfortable, but whether they are serious about nesting remains to be seen. They have an advantage over Coots here: if one of their chicks gets washed over the weir the agile little creature will be able to climb up again.

Half-grown Coot chicks from the successful nest in the nearby reed bed stood on the shore.

The Tufted Duck does seem to be down to four ducklings now. She led them across the Serpentine.

Another fine picture by Ahmet of a Tufted Duck flying.

I haven't seen Blondie the Egyptian Goose since May, but today she was back on the Serpentine. She preened her unusual light grey wings. Most Egyptians, even the pale-headed ones, have dark brown flight feathers.

The wire baskets near the bridge, which are full of twigs that act as a fish hatchery, are now teeming with perch. Two Cormorants under the bridge were ready to catch any that ventured out.

Ahmet captured a Cormorant trying to land on a post, a chancy business for a bird with webbed feet and not much grip.

The familiar Jay at the bridge, which was looking very tatty after bringing up its young, is now regrowing its head feathers and beginning to be presentable again. It flew down to take a peanut from my hand.

A mob of Starlings under a hawthorn tree were busy eating something. It was clearly not fallen hawthorn berries, and I think they had found an ants' nest and were mopping up its occupants.

In the shrubbery on the other side of the Long Water, a Dunnock lurked in the shadows.

That was the only other picture of a small bird I got today, but Ahmet had better luck with a female Blackcap ...

... and a Long-Tailed Tit.

Tom was at Rainham Marshes, where he got good shots of a female Kestrel ...

... and a Small Copper butterfly.

All kinds of martial arts and more are practised in the Buck Hill shelter. You never know when it's going to be tae kwon do or the tango.


  1. Welcome back, Blondie! So happy to see her doing so well.

    I think those may be actors practicing a coreography. I once met a theatre actress who listed among her acting abilities fencing. She got all sorts of jobs in advertisement thanks to that.

    Climbing things is to Moorhens what nest-building is to Coots: their main calling in life.

    1. Yes. I have seen people doing kendo in that shelter, but this was definitely nothing of the kind.