Monday, 23 November 2015

The Black Swan was near the Lido, preening his oddly ruched feathers -- like a flamenco skirt, someone said to me.

His girlfriend was also preening a few yards away, then she cruised off towards the bridge. Shortly afterwards, I was told that the Black Swan had followed her and boldly gone under the bridge on to the Long Water. I went back too late to see this, but I did see the resident pair of Mute Swans on the Long Water coming away from the bridge side by side and looking pleased with themselves, and I think they had just chased him off.

A Cormorant flew low over the funfair, perhaps curious about what was causing so much noise, and returned to the lake.

This Black-Headed Gull was ringed in the Netherlands by Frank Majoor, who runs a large ringing and recording project for various species.

Charlie and  Melissa the Carrions Crows were in the Italian Garden enjoying a bath in the basin under the marble fountain. This is Melissa, I think, though it's hard to see in the spray.

Then they and their son Kevin followed me up Buck Hill. Here is Charlie eating rowan berries.

 A Jay looking for insects in the bark of a nearby tree gave me a curious look.

A Pied Wagtail was also hunting insects on the shore of the Serpentine. Here it leaps off the kerb down to the water's edge.

Although Magpies constantly torment squirrels, the squirrels are heavier and have fearsome teeth and can simply barge into a crowd of Magpies if there is any food to be had.

I don't know what they were picking up here -- it seems to have been very small and there was nothing on the path when I went by.

The male Little Owl was on his favourite branch in the morning.

Later he went into the hole in the chestnut tree -- they seem to prefer last year's nest hole to this year's as a shelter. His mate was there too. She was disturbed by something, perhaps a crow, and came out fluffed up to her largest size and looking menacing.


  1. Fearsome and menacing she might think she looks, but what she really looks like is adorably fluffy and cuddly...

    I hope we'll get to see the Black Swan's comeuppance next time. We are waiting with bated breath!

    1. Actually I'm fond of the stroppy Black Swan, and if he can manage to fight his way to one of the few swan nest sites on the lake and have some babies with his girlfriend, I say good luck to him. Black Swan--Mute Swan hybrids are dark grey with a paler front, and as large as a Mute Swan.

    2. Yes, whilst it would be nice to see a mute swan give him a ruffled feather or two, the prospect of such beautiful cygnets is rather tempting....The Archers really has nothing on this drama.

    3. One of the loveliest memories I keep of England is the multitude of Mute Swans we saw. Such lovely, powerful, splendid creatures. We don't have Mute Swans here in the wild, except for the odd escapee. I am very biased in their favour, I fear.
      (To honour the truth, I did spend some time in Cambridge when Mr Asbo was in the cusp of his popularity, although I never saw him have a go at any boat, not for lack of trying on my part).

    4. Mr Asbo has now been deported, but his grandchild
      Asbaby has taken over his role with enthusiasm.

  2. The Black Swan is a very approachable bird, and I like his quiet musical call

    1. When you give him a biscuit he takes it quite delicately, unlike his girlfriend who tries to eat your hand.