Saturday 2 June 2012

The Mute Swan family with seven cygnets are now in control of most of the Long Water, and the ousted male has been pushed back behind the row of posts crossing the lake near the Peter Pan statue. If this sounds like a war report, it's because that's the way swans act.

The Ring-Necked Parakeets at the leaf yard have become a regular weekend attraction for visitors. The birds sit on branches overhanging the railings, and parents hold their small children up so that they can hand the birds whole peanuts, which the parakeets then hold in one foot and open with the slightly louche air of someone opening a can of beer. The parakeets always sit slightly out of reach; perhaps it amuses them to see humans straining to give them offerings.

The usual gang of three Lesser Black-Backed Gulls were sitting on the long water exchanging harsh calls. The last survivor of the careless Egyptian Geese has gone, probably into a gull, and there was no sign of the remaining Mandarin ducklings and I fear they have met the same fate.

The cloudy weather brought back large numbers of Swifts, at least 250 of them. Wheeling over the lake, they zoomed over the bridge at low altitude, unnoticed by most people preoccupied by chatting and texting. It always amazes me how such a magnificent spectacle could be completely overlooked.

Here is a Grey Heron impersonating an ornament on the balustrade of the Italian Garden. Visitors who see these birds from a distance, standing stock still, often think they are plastic and put there by the gardeners in a fit of whimsy.

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