Wednesday, 21 November 2012
A proper English November day: rain and wind. Here is a bleak view from the loggia in the Italian Garden.
There were a lot of migrant Blackbirds in Kensington Gardens, in addition to the residents. I saw 17 when I was walking quickly around the Long Water. The number of Lesser Black-Backed Gulls on the Serpentine is also higher than usual. Here is one of them eating a fish that it has got somehow. I have never seen a gull snatching a fish from a Cormorant, but I am sure they are more than capable of it.
At the top of the Long Water, undisturbed by gulls, a Cormorant was fishing among patches of dead leaves.
It dived repeatedly without finding anything in what is usually a good place. It does seem that the Cormorants have finally exhausted the stocks on the Long Water. There were certainly fewer of them than usual. When the supply of fish is low, word gets around the colony of Cormorants on the Thames, and they don't bother to fly up to the lake.
I was wrong yesterday about all the Great Crested Grebes having left the Long Water. The family with three young ones from the nest on the fallen poplar tree were visible again in their usual territory, the first time I have seen them for several days. They were probably on the west side of the lake, which is hard to view. The family with four have not been seen for about a fortnight, and I am sure they have left.
At the far end of the Serpentine the wind had raised some quite choppy waves, but it was business as usual for the youngest Great Crested Grebe and its doting parents. Here the young one slides down a wave to take a fish.
The young bird was also actively hunting for fish by itself. It will be independent in a few weeks, and should be able to fly before the freezing weather arrives. It hatched in the first week of September, really the last possible moment that would have allowed it to survive.