I still have a lot more I want to write about my Welsh visit, but first I am going to divert back to Ilford- where I am now- to catch up on the bird excitements in Valentines Park:
Anyone who has followed my previous posts will know how much I love the exotic Great Crested Grebes and how anxious for them I have been regarding their eggs and nest. To re-cap: they were evicted from nest no.1 by Coots (before I returned from the US); made new nest, laid four eggs, then eggs mysteriously disappeared; returned to nest, laid two eggs, then about a week later a third egg appeared. At this point I went to Wales for two weeks, so now that I am back I will continue:
On July 1st. as soon as I returned, I dropped off my case and rushed to the Park to check up on my favourite birds there. When I went to the Grebes' nest I was devastated to see that instead of the three eggs there was now only one- and no nestlings. As the third egg had been laid later than the first two, I wondered if they had hatched and then some calamity happened...however, the birds were still sitting on their one egg.
The following day, the one egg was still there and still being sat on by the attentive parents who were never far away:
Then today I went to see what had happened to the one egg. The parent sitting on the nest was very alert and restless, constantly turning and craning his/her head from side to side while the other bird hovered around.
I took a lot of photos of them and was about to leave when the nest-sitter rose off the nest. At first I was horrified to see NO egg and then euphoric to see a tiny, stripey chick on the edge of the nest and a vacated, broken egg on the other side. I only had a few seconds to take photos as very soon one of the birds got back onto the nest and settled down on top of the nestling.
It is a worry that they only have the one chick but these gallant birds have surely had enough disasters? I wish them every luck...
And now to catch up on some other Valentines Park birds:
The Heron chicks seem to have left the park for the time being- they must be exploring other lakes in the area. It is good that they have matured but like a fond parent I miss them!!
While I was away I read that the Egyptian Geese had successfully produced four ducklings/goslings? (they are actually members of both the Duck, Goose and Swan family) and were now on the Swans' island on the Boating Lake. They too have had misfortunes: their previous brood of two was lost, in one case to Crows. They had nested in the hole of an old Oak tree, before my return from the US.
So after my first visit to the Grebes I went in search of the Egyptian Geese family. There they all were on the island:
Soon the busy little ducklings scurried into the water, watched anxiously by the parent birds:
I felt really sorry for the parents as the ducklings rushed in all different directions at great speed. They reminded me of the days when I first took my then toddler daughter into Valentines Park. She was at the age my Grandmother described as "Mobile but Senseless", rapidly disappearing into the far distance... The Geese temporarily solved this problem by each looking after one pair on opposite sides of the lake!
Because of this, it was no great surprize- although no less sad- to see only three little ducklings the next day...
You know you should not get emotionally involved with birds' lives but it is hard not to when you are constantly observing them. That little Grebe is going to keep me on tenterhooks!
One last bird note: I am glad to report that the Mute Swan family on the Boating Lake is still intact, with eight Cygnets. They now look ENORMOUS!