Confusingly, the young coot chicks are far more colourful when born than the moorhen chicks, but as you won't usually see them without their parents this confusion is minimal in practical terms.
One of this adolescent's parents was having a wonderful time creating its own custom-made jacuzzi in the dock, churning up the water and looking distinctly waterlogged!
Only a week or so ago I was photographing these coots when the chicks were tiny. I am absolutely staggered at how fast they are growing. They are still fluffy, but they are now all leg and neck. This family has quite a strong local following. I've never been there when someone isn't there leaning over the chains and enjoying the sight and the sheer volume of noise that such small things can produce.
Coots search underwater for food, although they are very happy to take bread when offered. They are excellent divers from a young age. I was standing on the bridge that now crosses the lake in Kew Gardens a couple of weeks ago, watching an adolescent dive in the clear waters - it was quite astonishing to watch its agility and speed. Like penguins, they are so ungainly on land but become almost fluid beneath the water.