Wednesday, 23 January 2013
There is a happy ending to the story of the Great Crested Grebe trapped in the ice. There was no frost last night, and some of the ice melted, increasing the area for the grebe and opening up a narrow passage along the west side of the Long Water leading to the bridge and freedom. When I came past, the grebe, who yesterday had been swimming unhappily back and forth in its small space, was peacefully dozing.
And when I returned a couple of hours later, he had sensibly left and was presumably on the Serpentine. Grebes are normally very wary of being iced in, since they spend their whole life afloat. When frost threatens, most of the grebes on the lake fly to the river. You never see them go, because they fly at night.
Mr Scott, the head of Bluebird Boats, had kindly offered to send one of his motor boats on an icebreaking expedition, but fortunately it wasn't needed. The cold weather is returning for a couple of days, so let's hope this grebe has learnt his lesson. Judging by his dark plumage and the streaks on his white front, he is quite an old bird and should have known better.
There was a Fieldfare in the leaf yard. It remained partly hidden by branches no matter where I stood, so this rotten picture is all I can offer you -- sorry. Will keep a lookout for the chance of a better shot.
The Bearded Tits were still in the reed bed, as brisk and charming as ever.
The partial freezing of the Long Water has forced all the Shovellers out on to the Serpentine, and there were over 60 of them. Some had formed one of their grand processional shovelling circles, which they have been reluctant to do until now, preferring to go around in small groups.