Monday 31 July 2023

Great Crested Grebe ashore

The two pairs of Great Crested Grebes at the Serpentine island must have been having a fight, as one of them had been driven on to the shore -- not a comfortable place for grebes, whose legs and feet are so modified for fast swimming that they can hardly walk. Virginia found it and shot this video on her phone.

She also took a still picture.

You'll be glad to hear that when I passed by later it was in the water busily fishing as if nothing had happened.

The grebe nest at the bridge was a peaceful scene, though it's impossible to get an unobstructed picture.

The family with chicks were lurking under a bush somewhere on the Long Water and I couldn't find them today.

A Coot chick wandered around the shore by the Serpentine island on its enormous feet.

Another story with a happy end: yesterday I couldn't find the single cygnet from the pair of Mute Swans that nested on the island, and feared that it had been killed by the big bully swan. But in fact it had been on the far side of the island with its other parent. Today they were reunited safely behind the boathouse railings.

The female Mandarin is still at the corner of the lake by the Dell restaurant, in spite of being bothered by both gulls and geese.

I saw a bird on the gravel strip on the Long Water that I couldn't identify with binoculars, so I took a picture with the telephoto lens, which gives a clearer result. It turned out just to be a juvenile Black-Headed Gull asleep with its head turned back. But next to it was one of the adults that Bill Haines has ringed, Orange 2V57. It's unusual to be able to read a ring at 100 yards.

The female Little Owl was on her usual branch at the Round Pond.

At the Serpentine Gallery the male owl could just be seen through the leaves of the lime tree...

... but the owlet was showing better in the same tree.

A Carrion Crow was preening its shiny black feathers in the owls' nest tree.

It started to rain, and the young Blackbirds in the Rose Garden were happily poking around in the wet leaves.

The male Peregrine was not enjoying it, and was in a huddle on the ledge of the tower.

A Feral Pigeon drank from a puddle. All the birds prefer rainwater to the borehole water in the lake.


  1. I saw a pair of Great Crested Grebes displaying near the landing stage for the electric boat. One briefly picked up some water weed but soon dropped it back in the water without displaying it to the other

    1. They nested not far from where you saw them but the nest was destroyed by the wake of the powerboat which the stupid people at the boat hire are racing about in. There is still time for them to try again but they really need a more sheltered place.

  2. Great Crested Grebes do look ridiculous and clownlike standing up out of water, with their feet so far back to their body. It must be an energising effect for them as also a funny angled tilt.

  3. I don't think I've ever seen a Grebe on land. Their posture is oddly penguin-like. Very relieved to read he was back in the water soon after.

    1. They do occasionally come ashore to rest on the edge, but I've never seen one walking about on shore. I have seen one on an icy day trying to run across the ice from one patch of water to another, a comic but sad sight as it constantly slipped and fell over.