Highfields Highlights

Following the progress of the great crested grebe family has meant frequent visits to Highfields Park which adjoins the main campus of Nottingham University. On one such visit I saw this new display board detailing some of the history of Highfields and the University.

The ariel photograph shows the lake and the Trent Building (with the white clock tower.) The development included a new road (now University Boulevard) with extensive playing fields to the left. I’m not sure of the date of this view but it is certainly prior to the mid 20th century. It is still possible to pick of some landmarks. E.g. the rather grand porticos that were part of the now redeveloped ‘Tea Pavilion’ still stand rather incongruously on the edge of the lake but the site of the Lido (bottom left) to which I was bussed from junior school for swimming lessons in freezing water is now occupied by the Djanogly gallery building.

My various visits have enabled good views of the GC Grebes from different angles. The left hand image shows the whole family as they pass under one of the bridges. The adults are distinguished by their reddish plumage either side of the head where the two juveniles still have black and white stripes. They have clearly grown a great deal since I photographed them on May 30th (right) when they were just about at the limit for hitching a lift on the adult’s back.

The juveniles are not only able to fend for themselves but were also helping their parents to feed the babies. I don’t know if this is common practice but it certainly bodes well for the successful rearing of the second brood.

The two shots of the four babies seem to show some variation in development. The bottom image shows something of the power unleashed when diving for fish.

An Egyptian goose making a splash and gargling? This species has done quite well at Highfields this season.

Finally on the boating lake I saw this ‘dance’ by a couple of mute swans which I think may be a pair bonding ritual. I have not witnessed this before but I have previously posted a clip of something similar donated by a couple of friends. Thanks T&G 🙂

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