Friday, 2 November 2012
I had been told that the number of Little Grebes on the Long Water had risen to four, and managed to see them all. Here is a distant shot taken across the lake, showing all of them.
And here is one making that typical grebe movement that Jane Austen describes in Persuasion. Louisa, who has recklessly jumped off the Cobb at Lyme Regis and hit her head, is recovering from concussion and very nervous: 'If one happens only to shut the door a little hard, she starts and wriggles like a young dab-chick in the water.'
I saw a Black-Headed Gull with a ring ET34518, evidently from the same batch as that of the 13-year-old gull ET34537 seen earlier. But 13 is only middle age for these long-lived birds. Roy Sanderson says that he and a friend, John Widgery, ringed two gulls in 1979, and they were 27 and 29 years old respectively when last seen. 29 is the greatest age so far recorded in Britain for a Black-Headed Gull. However, a Black-Headed Gull was found dead in Holland this summer with a British ring that showed it was 33 years old, a world record for the species. Roy wonders whether that gull is one of those. Unfortunately the Dutch web page listing the find has gone missing, and he is writing to a friend in Holland to discover the ring number.
Some Shovellers were spinning on the Long Water, looking very fine in the sunshine. There are not enough of them yet to make one of their grand processional circles, where each one shovels up the little water organisms turned up by the duck in front.
And there were six rabbits on the Vista, the most I have seen since the thriving colony was struck down by myxomatosis several years ago. They have struggled to recover and there have been renewed outbreaks of the disease, the last of them earlier this year. All the rabbits I saw today seemed healthy.