Sunday 8 September 2013

There was a surprisingly early arrival of six Shovellers on the Long Water. They were on the far side of the lake from Peter Pan, and wouldn't come up to the Italian Garden where I could have got a better picture.

There are resident populations of Shovellers in Britain, mostly in marshes on the east coast, but ours are all migrants and seen only in the winter half of the year. These birds are still in eclipse and the drakes have not yet got their showy plumage.

Several young Lesser Black-Backed Gulls were playing with small objects, dropping them into the water and diving after them. Some had leaves, but this one had found a yellow pen.

You can see the pen sinking at the bottom of this picture as the gull leaps into the air and dives to retrieve it.

The usual Great Crested Grebe families were making themselves heard on the lake. Here one of the two eldest chicks has been pestering his parent past endurance, and gets a reproving peck.

The Mute Swans have quietened down after the excitement of the breeding season, and there are only occasional chases and fights. But here a swan has had the temerity to stray on to the Long Water, all of which belongs to the pair with one cygnet. The father advances with menacingly raised wings to chase it away.

The intruder was so agitated that it flew under the bridge, which I have not seen a swan do before. Although the arches of the bridge are tall and spacious, swans don't like flying under it, and haul themselves laboriously up and over the bridge, clearing it just above the level of a car roof. I don't think one has ever run into the side of a van, but I have seen some near misses.

The Hobby family were out again, flying between their two favourite tall trees in Kensington Gardens. I didn't get a shot: you need plenty of open space to be able to get the viewfinder trained on these fast moving birds.


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