Thursday 8 September 2016

The largest of the teenage Mute Swans on the Long Water was flapping its enormous wings.

My bird book says that Mute Swans have a wingspan between 200 and 240cm, which is between 6ft 6in and 7ft 8in in proper measurement.

The Black Swan and the Mute cygnet cruised past some Cormorants on a fallen poplar in the Long Water. It was a peaceful scene ...

... until the Black Swan chased one of the Mute Swans up the lake.

Apart from the dominant pair, there were only a few Mute Swans on the Long Water. They may be getting unsettled by being attacked from two sides.

Some of the Mallard drakes have almost completely got back into breeding plumage.

The pale Mallard drake that can often be seen at the Vista and Peter Pan is unusually large. Perhaps it is a cross between a wild Mallard and a farmyard duck.

It would not be a hybrid. Farm ducks are originally Mallards, bred for size, and often with the gene for white plumage which also occurs in wild Mallards (and we have one of these on the lake too).

A Black-Headed Gull was taking it easy on a post at Peter Pan.

There are already autumn leaves on the lake, and this brood of Moorhens at the east end of the Serpentine, the third from these parents, will be the last in a very productive year.

The Great Crested Grebes also breed late here, and there are still half-grown chicks all over the lake calling loudly to be fed.

A Grey Heron, seeing some geese being fed on the Serpentine, dropped in for a meal.

The Mistle Thrushes and other birds have eaten all the fruit from the top of one of the rowan trees, where they ripen first. One flew in and looked at me warily, and wouldn't come down to enjoy the lower berries until I had gone away.

When the sun is shining it's impossible not to photograph Starlings' iridescent plumage.

One of the Little Owls near the Albert Memorial was also enjoying the sunshine.


  1. Those poor Swans are caught between a rock and a hard place - either the dominant Swan or the Black Swan are going to make their lives miserable.

    1. They'll probably go and beat up some harmless geese.

  2. Another SUPER Starling photo and it's not as you said a few days ago that it's all down to the Starling. It's also down to the photographer, Ralph. The juxtaposition of Starling and background in both photos enhances the bird's beautiful plumage.

    1. It's a simple trick. When the sun is shining, stand so that your shadow is almost falling on the Starling. The iridescence is best when light is falling square on to the bird from your point of view.