Wednesday, 11 November 2015

It's not easy being a Mute Swan on the Serpentine. The Black Swan and his juvenile delinquent girlfriend chase you all over the lake ...

... and if you take refuge on the Long Water you find the enormous male swan who owns it coming over in full threat posture to shoo you back under the bridge.

The only escape is to fly up to the Round Pond, where the low-status swans with no hope of claiming territory live.

There's a bit more peace for Moorhens, preening comfortably in their favourite bush next to Peter Pan.

The two young ones are beginning to develop the red bill of their adult colours.

A little group of Shovellers passed by. The drakes are looking their finest at this time of year.

A Grey Heron landed in a tree on the other side of the Long Water. At this point it is still just flying: you can see the right alula -- the little bunch of feathers on its 'thumb' -- raised to smooth the airflow. But the feathers on the tops of its wings are beginning to ruffle, showing that it's about to stall and drop neatly on to a branch. Herons are masters of very slow flight and pinpoint landings.

So, of course, are gulls. This Herring Gull at the Lido is carefully preening its wings for maximum performance.

The young Herring Gull's toy for today is a conker. (For overseas readers, that is a horse chestnut seed.)

The rowan trees on Buck Hill, not much visited in recent days, had half a dozen Mistle Thrushes flying in and out of them, alternately snatching berries and chasing each other with loud rattling calls.

A Wren has hunting bugs under the red stems of the sumach bushes beside the Lido restaurant.


  1. I wonder, is it possible that Bonnie and Clyde (the Mute and the Black Swan) may at one time or another bump into the cantakerous owner of the Long Water, or do they just keep to their domains? Now that would be a battle for the ages.

    Wonderful pictures, as always. Never a dull moment!

    1. I think it's inevitable. Swans expand their territories until they meet a check.

  2. Excellent pictures as usual!
    What are the most unusual things you have seen the Herring Gulls play with?
    They really are playful birds

  3. Who'd be a swan now that the evil Black Swan is wrecking havoc. 'The Archers' has nothing on this soap! I feel guilty for finding it so entertaining.... ;)