Friday, August 20, 2010

Valentines Park: Herons and Cormorants

I can't leave Valentines Park without mentioning the return of a Heron and Cormorant to the Boating Lake. Over the last few weeks a Heron has been frequenting the island on which the Swans nested:

One would like to think that he was one of the adults who nested on the Fish Pond island- but who knows?

After fishing in his usual upright manner, he surprized me by trying out a new technique: lying low on the ground- in the hopes the fish would not see him?

Two cormorants have also frequented the lake. Here one of them joins the Heron on the island:

And here he joins the Swan family:

Now he goes fishing in the water...

And now he returns to the bank...

And now he spreads his wings to dry them in the sunshine...

Apart from this, the Cormorant is a regular sight on the boats:

I will conclude with a pretty hybrid (?) Goose I saw on the lake's bank:

Valentines Park: Another Update

First I will continue with the Great Crested Grebe saga on Valentines Park Boating Lake: since I last wrote, the two parents and the chick have been ignoring each other and the chick has developed into an efficient, independent diver for his own food. However, today was a bit different:

Quite soon I saw the two adults swimming about together but no sign of the chick:

After going round the lake at least five times, searching for him, I got worried. Finally I spotted him, to my relief. He was busy swimming and diving:

After a time he disappeared and I next found him under an oak tree on the South bank, resting and preening himself:

To my surprize, not far off- under the same oak tree- was one of his parents, dozing on the water. They were not paying any attention to each other:

Suddenly, the chick made a move towards his parent: he lowered and stretched out his neck down on the water, in a supplicating manner, cheeping at the same time. The parent made threatening head movements at him:

The chick tried to creep nearer, but the adult had had enough and frightened him off:

The chick returned to his original bit of water and the adult swam off towards the middle of the lake...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Valentines Park Update:

Well, once more I have got very behindhand with this blog. Again, the main reason has been my obsession with the Great Crested Grebe family on Ilford's Valentines Park Boating Lake. This has meant I have been continuing to regularly send updates to the Redbridge Birdwatching Blog while neglecting my own! and I still have loads of tree related photos I want to post...However, as I left the Grebes in a critical stage in my last post, I will start with them:

When I last wrote the Grebes were happily sitting on three more eggs while looking after their demanding chick. Alas, shortly after this when I returned to the nest after having been away from Ilford, I was upset to see only a soggy, empty nest:

Anxiously, I went round the lake searching for the family. On the second time round I was relieved to hear the familiar, high-pitched "ch-ch-ch-cheep-ing" of the chick under another Alder tree further up the lake. There he was with both parents:

One of the the adults was YET AGAIN valiantly, energetically carrying sticks to a location where the leaves met the water, to make yet another nest....

The following day I could just discern- from the opposite bank- the shape of one of the birds sitting on this nest:

But now this nest seems to have been abandoned too and the family are swimming busily all over the lake. The chick is growing fast and no-longer sits on his parent's back.

Today one of his parents seemed to be giving him a lesson in Independence. He had been swimming under an Oak tree, cheeping incessantly, with no response from the parent who was dozing out on the lake nearby.

Eventually, he approached his parent, still hoping for food. Suddenly, the adult must have either decided it was time he fished for his OWN food, OR have been driven insane by the incessant "ch-ch-ch-cheep-ing", because he rushed up to the chick, beak wide open and crest erect:

The chick rapidly fled up the lake with his parent hot on his heels!

Finally, they came to rest under the Oak tree but the adult still refused to fish for the chick, who kept his distance:

And then the chick realized there was nothing for it but to do his own fishing- so off he went and seemed to have some success- at least he emerged from the water with SOMETHING in his beak that he then swallowed....