Monday, 30 July 2012
The Great Crested Grebes nesting on the Long Water had more to contend with today. All the Bluebird hired boats have been banished from the Serpentine as the Olympics begin to bite, and have had to be moored on the Long Water. The large solar-powered electric boat was moored close to the fallen poplar tree which the grebes have eccentrically chosen to nest on. The boat people were careful, but the birds were naturally alarmed by the approach of this 30 ft long silver vessel, and the sitting bird left her nest several times. However, once the boat was safely moored she came back, and was soon sitting again as if nothing had happened.
Mr Scott of Bluebird Boats kindly took me out in a dinghy to look at the nest. We kept at a tactful distance but the grebe was already a bit rattled and got off again, though she returned in less than a minute. At least this gave a sight of the inside of the slimy mess that a grebe calls home.
Only two eggs were visible; Great Crested Grebes usually lay four or five. I think that they have already hatched and lost at least one chick, since I am almost certain I saw one yesterday, at a distance through binoculars. But I also saw the sitting grebe snapping at a low-flying Black-Headed Gull, and the nest is in a very vulnerable place. Let's hope they have better luck with their remaining eggs.
The Coots' nest placed equally strangely in the Serpentine outflow is still in business. I heard at least two young birds calling from inside the culvert, but have still not seen any. The Reed Warblers near the bridge were also uttering occasional quiet calls from inside their reed bed.
Here the black and white Mallard and her light coloured mate enjoy a siesta in the warm sunlight on the edge of the Serpentine. They are still flightless, but their new wing feathers are growing in.
And the two elder Moorhen chicks at the Vista venture out from under their protective bench.
Just after I took this picture a Grey Heron arrived, intent on a Moorhen lunch, and they ran swiftly and gracefully back into the undergrowth.