Wednesday 31 December 2014

The pair of Mute Swans who have claimed the nest site at the east end of the Serpentine were courting. Every now and then the male would break off his elegant display and chase another swan away, which no doubt the female found equally romantic.

The ice on the Long Water had moved the family of swans on to the Serpentine, and the father was chasing the seven young ones around. Also, they were having a dispute with the next family up the Serpentine with five cygnets, so there was a lot of threatening and charging. These low-ranking adults got caught up in the action and hastily left -- only to find, no doubt, that the mood at the other end of the lake was equally militant.

This Cormorant was fishing around the wire baskets near the bridge, without catching anything while I was there. The white feathers on its head are not unusual. Cormorants get more white feathers when in breeding plumage, but the different between individuals is greater than this slight increase.

Its presence had pushed a Great Crested Grebe to the willow on the far side of the bridge, where it caught a perch amid the tangled roots. I haven't seen a Cormorant in this place; maybe they are too large to negotiate the tangled underwater roots of the tree.

Two black and white Mallards, both female and probably siblings, have appeared on the Long Water. They aren't the ones I have photographed in previous years. This colour variation is quite common in both males and females.

Two Dunnocks were feeding on the grass under a hawthorn tree between Peter Pan and the Italian Garden. It was a surprise to see these furtive little birds out in the open. They were pecking briskly at the ground, probably eating the seeds of fallen hawthorn fruits.

The usual three Green Woodpeckers were feeding on the Archery Field.

Today's picture of the male Tawny Owl is a bit dark. When I passed his tree in the morning, he had just been chased inside by a mob of Magpies and Jays, and he didn't come out again till 2.45, when the light was failing.


  1. Happy New Year to Ralph and all readers of this charming blog - truly a daily delight for me.

    1. Thank you, and a very happy New Year to you too. Just going out to try to get some grey pictures on a dark day.

  2. Happy New Year from California. Your blog is always charming and informative as well. I always look forward to it.