Sunday, 9 September 2012

There were five Gadwalls on the Long Water near the Italian Garden, probably arrived from Buckingham Palace Gardens. This drake has almost completed growing his smart new herringbone tweed feathers to replace his brown eclipse plumage. They are birds of understated elegance.

The young Moorhens in the Italian Garden have stopped looking like babies and are now definitely adolescents, and are wandering freely about the ponds. I am still waiting for a photograph of one climbing the wire netting around the plant enclosures.

The young Great Crested Grebes from the Serpentine island are also growing up fast. Here their mother has caught a fish and is waiting for a chick to come and grab it. But they were so busy trying to catch their own fish that they took no notice. After a couple of minutes she got bored of waiting and ate it herself.

Also at the Serpentine island, there was the curious sight of a Herring Gull and a Lesser Black-Backed Gull in the water side by side, calling to each other in a sociable way in their different voices -- a Lesser Black-Backed Gull is almost an octave lower than a Herring Gull. Their vocal display included what is known as the 'great call', that familiar long rapid sequence of cries. These two species are vey closely related, and sometimes interbreed.

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