There is a nip in the air and gusts are shaking the trees awake. The morning sun is hidden behind an overcast sky whose sullen grey is mirrored by the lake stretched out before me. As I scan the Serpentine’s waters, something familiar catches my eye. A rufous-and-cream bird with a feathered ruff around its head is surfing the lake, preening its feathers. It’s a great crested grebe, a bird that has eluded me for a year. And here it is, smack in the heart of London.
When the grebe finishes preening it swims in a frenzy, as if looking for something—wait, there’s another nearby. The two swim towards each other and, before I know it, erupt into a courtship dance.