Wednesday 30 June 2021

Virginia found an injured female Great Crested Grebe beside the Serpentine. The park has no Wildlife Officer at present, but fortunately Alberto, a volunteer for London Wildlife Protection, has stepped in to deal with emergencies. The bird was put in a box and taken to Anita's London staging post from where she can be taken to a rehabilitation centre. There were puzzling bite marks, too small for a dog, too large for a rat. We fear there may be mink loose in the park. Apparently there was a mink farm that was closed down some years ago, and some idiot released the mink into one of the Royal Parks -- I don't know which of them.

Here is the grebe at Anita's. The poor bird looks dreadful but has a good chance of recovery.

We didn't know which grebe it was, and were worried that she might be one of the two nesting pairs at the island. All looked peaceful on the nest behind the baskets, as far as you can see anything at all here, but there was only one bird present at the time so no way of being sure.

Both grebes were at the nest at the east end of the island ...

... but there was a lone male near the Dell restaurant, and this may be the mate of the injured bird. They will try to return the female to the lake as soon as possible.

While Alberto and Virginia were rescuing the grebe, Virginia saw a Greylag Goose that she had been trying to find, which had a wire trace from a fishing line knotted round its leg. This too was rescued and taken to Anita's.

Here is it with the wire removed, recovering in company with a Canada Goose.

A Greylag on the Serpentine chewed bark, which they are fond of for some reason.

The Mallard at Peter Pan preened herself, watched by her two ducklings.

The Lesser Black-Backed Gull that I photographed yesterday eating a pigeon had a large carp today. Obviously the bird hadn't caught it, and had simply found it dead.

The familiar Carrion Crows on Buck Hill have three youngsters. One was exploring a tissue to see if it was edible ...

... and the other was pestering a parent on an urn in the Italian Garden.

A Starling scolded a crow from a branch.

A Chiffchaff sang from a nearby tree.

Tom found a family of Willow Warblers on the east side of the Long Water yesterday, and took this picture of one of them.

One of the young Grey Wagtails was back on the rock at the top of the Dell waterfall. Their grey and bright yellow plumage is effective camouflage against the grey rock with yellow lichen.


  1. A question for you, Ralph. On the path which runs NNE from the Old Police House towards Marble Arch, There's a relatively newly planted oak avenue. Most of the young trees are carrying warning signs about processionary moth infestations. I've never seen a processionary moth - I understand it's the caterpillars' behaviour which gives them their name. Any chance of a photo - at safe distance, of course?

  2. Didn't mean to be 'unknown' - I don't seem to have got the gist of how to attach one's name to comments. This is Felicity writing.

    1. No, I haven't managed to get a picture of one of these caterpillars, let alone a procession of them. They are quite large and dull brown, with long hairs which are the part that causes skin irritation.

  3. Very anxious about the injured Grebe. She appears to be in a very poor condition, but I have all possible trust in Anita's excellent caregiving. Thank God for Alberto, and Anita, and Ralph himself, and all the good people on this Earth that are so kind to God's creatures.

    Is Alberto Italian, or Spanish, or Latin-American?

    1. The real difficulty with grebes is keeping them from despair in captivity. It's vital to get her quickly patched up and returned to the water before she pines away.

      I know nothing about Alberto, who has just magically drifted in to fulfil a vital need, but those precise consonants sound Italian to me.