Tuesday, 24 July 2012
The Moorhens in their hidden nest in the top of the willow near the bridge have at least one chick, seen here on a branch of the tree.
After I had taken this picture they climbed down from their unusual habitat and took to the water like any other Moorhens.
I need not have worried about the Coots nesting in the outflow of the Serpentine. Someone -- probably Malcolm, the Royal Parks Wildlife Officer -- has kindly made them a little wooden ramp so that they can climb out over the weir. I heard the chicks calling from inside the outflow and waited for a bit to see if any of them came up the ramp, but none did.
The Reed Warbler nearby was singing from a patch of reeds a few yards away from his usual place. In the patch where he is usually found, I thought I could hear faint scratchy calls like nestlings waiting to be fed. I listened for a while, but the noise of the park made it impossible to hear more. Will keep an ear on this spot.
The Great Crested Grebe family from the Serpentine island have now come right across the lake, where their parents were feeding the chicks on tiny fish with great efficiency. Here one of the chicks stretches out a leg, giving a good view of a grebe's unique turbine-blade toes that make it the fastest of all foot-propelled swimming birds. (Penguins are faster, swimming with their wings. These modifications come at a price: penguins can't fly, grebes can hardly walk.)
In the Dell, a Grey Heron was enviously eyeing some carp far too big for it to catch.
There is a family of Robins in the bushes behind the Albert Memorial. Here, one of the young birds waits for a parent to bring food.
When about to be fed, a young Robin vibrates its entire body violently, like a tiny high-speed version of a dog coming out of the water.