Monday 2 September 2019

A view from the parapet of the Serpentine bridge, on the Long Water side. The Great Crested Grebe chicks are growing fast, and beginning to dive to follow their parents. This is how they learn to fish for themselves.

On the other side of the bridge, the wire baskets full of twigs are jam packed with small perch that have hatched there. This grebe could catch one every few seconds, but had to avoid the hungry Black-Headed Gulls trying the snatch the fish.

The family at the east end of the island were having similar trouble.

The new chick from the other end of the island was with a parent near the reeds at the east side of the Lido.

It's no longer the youngest grebe chick. The pair nesting near the bridge have at least two brand new chicks. The nest is very hard to photograph because of the willow leaves hanging down in front of it, but in this picture you can just see a little head under the parent's wing, and another one on the nest next to its shoulder.

Meanwhile, the two teenagers on the Long Water are beginning to get brown feathers on the side of their head, replacing the black and white stripes.

Yesterday Ahmet Amerikali got a distant view of two Little Grebes on the west side of the Long Water. The one on the left seems to have traces of juvenile stripes, but this may be a trick of the light.

The movements of these furtive little birds are mysterious, and we simply don't know whether we have residents or they fly in and out of the park.

The Coots at the east end of the Serpentine have built a small nest on the edge of the lake.

They aren't breeding again, and their previous nest site in the reed bed was much better anyway. It's a day nest, a place to relax comfortably. One of their five young took advantage of it.

A Carrion Crow won a piece of cake from the Dell restaurant, and took it down to the lake to dunk it

A Jackdaw stood on a convenient arch on the bridge.

Yesterday I photographed a Feral Pigeon trying to cling to a joint in the stonework. Conehead54 suggested that it might be trying to get lime, which would supply calcium for its eggshells. The bridge is sandstone, not limestone. But it has recently been repaired and, as you can see, the eroded mortar joints have been repointed. I think the repairers would have used old-fashioned lime mortar for this 200-year-old bridge. In yesterday's picture you can't see any mortar because the stomework is 'rusticated', with deeply recessed joints. But there may well be some visible to a pigeon, and quite easy to peck out because it's softer than Portland cement mortar.

A Great Spotted Woodpecker called from the double line of oak and horse chestnut trees leading from Queen's Gate to the Physical Energy statue.

A female Blackcap ticked loudly on a tree near the Italian Garden.

I had already given some sultanas to this Blackbird in the Rose Garden, but he followed me to the Dell and perched on a twig asking for more.

Another fine picture of a Migrant Hawker dragonfly in flight taken yesterday by David Element.

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