Saturday, 18 May 2013

The Great Crested Grebes nesting at the northwest corner of the Serpentine island have two chicks. In this picture, the parents have just changed places on the nest, and the chicks have not yet climbed on to their mother's back. Their proud father brings them some small wriggly creature.

They would be well advised to get on board their mother soon, as a Grey Heron has been eyeing them hungrily from the adjacent wire basket.

The other grebes have not been doing so well. The pair at the bridge, who lost their eggs in a storm, have not yet settled down again and their nest has been taken by a Coot. The nest built against the netting near the Diana memorial has fallen off, though it has not been abandoned and maybe the parents will manage to build another -- inside the net and in the reeds would be a good idea, but you can't offer architectural advice to a bird. And the one in the net on the east side of the Lido has been abandoned, and a pair of Moorhens have dismantled it to build their own nest. This picture was taken through the netting.

The other grebes' nest on the island, at the northeast corner, is still a going concern. But it is even harder to see than the one pictured here.

One of the pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gulls had its prey stolen from it by a Carrion Crow. It was clear that the crow had the upper hand, and the gull could only take hasty pecks and retreat quickly.

This was slightly surprising, as crows are easily frightened, and a big gull is a fearsome contender. However, the gull noticed the pigeon's outstretched wing and grabbed it, and leapt vertically into the air -- which I hadn't anticipated, so the gull is disappearing out of the top of the picture.

It took the pigeon away and dropped it in the lake where the crow couldn't get it, and carried on with its interrupted meal.

There were reports of more Mallard ducklings, but I didn't find any, and probably the gulls have already taken them. The Mute Swans' nest near the Lido is definitely empty -- I had been keeping an eye on it in case the eggs were simply covered up, but this is the third day and hope has gone. I don't know whether the predator was a fox or that much more rapacious animal, a human.

There are still plenty of Swifts over the lake, today hunting at high altitude.

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