Monday 19 August 2019

The Great Crested Grebes nesting on the wire basket at the island, who have one half-grown chick, have just hatched another chick, and are making a great fuss of it to the annoyance of the other chick. There may be more eggs still to hatch.

However, the elder chick is still being fed.

One of the teenage grebes on the Long Water was poking around under a bush, probably finding small aquatic creatures to eat. It's not yet independent of its parents, and I haven't yet seen it catch a fish.

A Moorhen chick in the Italian Garden stared curiously at the camera.

A young Coot sat on the branch of the dead willow where chicks and ducklings of many species like to rest.

This is a new habit, and there may be a reason. Mateusz at Bluebird Boats tells me that he is finding more young pike in the crayfish pots that hang from the boat platform, and it seems that the number of pike is increasing, making the lake dangerous for small water birds.

The dominant Mute Swan on the Long Water saw some intruding swans coming under the bridge on to his territory, and advanced menacingly to drive them back on to the Serpentine.

The Mallard on the Serpentine and her three ducklings cruised confidently through a group of swans. The ducklings now seem to be large enough to be safe from the numerous Herring Gulls on the lake.

As the young fish in the lake grow to an interesting size, more Cormorants are arriving on the lake. One flapped vigorously to dry its wings after a fishing session.

It's not easy for them to get on to these posts. If they try to land on them, they often skid off and crash ignominiously into the water. So they prefer to splash down in the water, jump on to the chain where they wobble perilously, and scramble up on to the post.

Young Starlings gathered in the holly tree near the Long Water that is the  favourite meeting place for Starlings. The berries are not ripe, though a Rose-Ringed Parakeet with a strong beak and a stronger digestion is having a go at them. The Starlings prefer to fly down to an elder bush with ripe berries.

A young Blackbird ate rowan fruit in one of the trees on Buck Hill.

A Robin near the bridge found a small larva under a bush.

Another sunflower has come out beside one of the small boathouses, a wonderfully intricate thing.

The joys of an English summer day.

Ahmet Amerikali went to Southwark Park to see the new brood of Little Grebe chicks. There are now three. Their parents are breaking up the larger fish they catch and feeding them pieces -- a useful trick that Great Crested Grebes haven't learnt.


  1. I wonder how the Little Grebes learned to do something that their larger cousins didn't.

    I think that must be some kind of record for the Mute Swan on the Long Water.

    Is that pretty sunflower due to your good offices as well?

    1. Breaking up fish is something that Little Grebes really need to be able to do, but Great Crested Grebes can get away with not doing so that they have never evolved the ability.

      The swan on the Long Water has these periodical clearouts of intruders. He is big and fierce and can cope with any number.

      Yes, I think that second sunflower is also the result of me feeding a swan.