Saturday, 5 March 2016

The Black Swan joined the group of Mute Swans on the bank of the Long Water near the bridge.

It's a comfortable place for swans to sit and preen, with grass and a fence to keep out dogs. Try as he may, the dominant Mute Swan pair on the Long Water can't keep them off it for long.

The Black Swan's number one girlfriend was in one of the ponds in the Italian Garden.

This is probably because she too came on to the Long Water and the dominant swan chased her in that direction. She can get out, of course, and there is another Mute Swan on the pond, an adult, to show her the way out if she doesn't know. But it's a bit of a hike to the nearest place where she can get down to the lake, and I expect to see the Black Swan back with girlfriend number two tomorrow.

The Egyptian Goose family near Bluebird Boats had lost another chick. They were sensibly keeping the four survivors under a waste bin where the gulls couldn't swoop on them.

Less sensibly, they had a pointless territorial dispute with another pair of Egyptians. The male rushed off to chase the others away, and when he came back in triumph the female walked over the meet him. It is at moments like this that the young get taken.

The other Grey Heron nest on the island had a heron in it, though it may have been one of the pair from the first nest simply using it as a place to stand while gathering twigs.

I am not absolutely sure that the first nest is occupied, but sometimes when I pass I can see a vague outline sticking just over the top. This may not even be a heron, it might be an Egyptian.

Another Heron was looking almost invisible in the reeds on the little artificial island in the Long Water.

They are not as well camouflaged as Bitterns, which have the colour and pattern of the reeds and stand with their heads pointing up, but they do quite well.

There were two pairs of Mandarins at Peter Pan.

Pied Wagtails are not worried by breaking waves. They just sprint out of the way.

The pair of Dunnocks in the leaf yard were chasing each other about. This one stayed still just long enough for a picture.

This Treecreeper was very near the place on the east side of the Long Water where I saw one a few days ago. There must be a nest here.

Just along the path, one of the young rabbits had come out into the clearing opposite Rudolf Steiner's bench. They are growing up fast.


  1. Have Bittern's ever been seen in the park?
    I saw one at WWT Barnes a few weeks ago, and I wondered whether they had ever diverted to here?

    1. No, never. For questions like this, see the right hand column of the blog.

  2. On Saturday afternoon I saw the Black Swan join a large group of swans and ducks being fed on the north side of the Dell restaurant. It was half-snapped at by a young female, fully white-feathered, and retreated a bit; came back and was snapped and hissed at by a similar-aged young male swan, and then gave up and swam off. This is so completely unlike the behaviour of this animal to date I rather suspect we're in one of those films centring around the substitution of identical twins...

    1. Suppose he can't always bully the others. But he was his usual self today, barging adult Mute Swans out of the way. He is not as aggressive as when he first arrived, though, when his conduct was monstrous.