Thursday, 12 July 2012
There are two Great Black-Backed Gulls on the lake, though I have not yet managed to see them together. One of them was sitting on the posts near Peter Pan, as in yesterday's picture, but despite its looming presence several broods of ducklings were out on the water. Even these half-grown ones are not out of danger, since Great Black-Backs routinely take birds up to and beyond the size of Feral Pigeons.
One of the Lesser Black-Backs that also takes pigeons (I think there are now three of them) has started hunting them at the opposite corner of the Serpentine, near the bridge. Here it is devouring its prey.
The three Greylag goslings had to be hastily chivvied into the water when a man approached with a Jack Russell. He did manage to keep his dog under control, unlike many dog owners who think that letting their pets chase geese is funny.
Even when they were in the water, the young birds were harried by a Herring Gull, which was also trying to snatch one of the baby Great Crested Grebes. It failed in both attempts, and was attacked by a parent grebe and driven off.
The abandoned Coots' nest in the Italian Garden has been taken over by a pair of Moorhens, I think the same pair that made two unsuccessful nests on the edge of the reed bed, not far enough in to have good cover.
This nest is equally unlikely to succeed. If aggressive Coots can't manage it, Moorhens never will. Meanwhile, the Coots' second nest on another of the garden pools is still intact. They have managed to raise chicks in equally exposed spots in the Italian Gardens, so they have a chance.