Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Tuesday 10 April 2012

Des. res., Docklands, self-build

Finding accommodation in Docklands isn't easy. As the estate agents' begging letters keep telling us, there are prospective tenants and buyers just waiting to snap up anything that comes on the market.

It doesn't seem to be any different for the birds around here. There are "official" nesting rafts on the docks, moored out in the middle of Millwall Dock, where the residents are permanently on show; but there's a quiet, unofficial-looking spot between the moored barges and the dock wall, which many seem to find safer. Here the coots and a pair of swans have been nesting for some years, protected by solid wooden fenders that keep the barges away from the wall: and now a pair of crested grebes are trying to join them, collecting an assortment of junk ("I said it'll come in useful some day!").

But this is not the quiet, neighbourly sort of spot that it seemed to be. At the other end of the fender, a pair of coots seemed to have abandoned an egg, as a handful of other coots swaggered in and started squaring up to each other in the traditional East End "D'yer want some then, eh? eh?" style. One coot, perhaps trying to escape, found its way blocked by the irritated swans, as the confrontation spilled over to the grebes' end of the fender, and a shouting match ensued, just as a police siren went off.

Quite like EastEnders, really.

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