Thursday 1 December 2016

Another cold day, and the morning was misty and dark. I took some dreadfully black photographs, and then the mist cleared and the sun came out, and I retraced my steps and tried to get better shots. So today's pictures are a mixture.

At least on the darkest days you can see Mute Swans and hi-vis jackets. The tone of this picture has not been altered.

Most of the Long Water was frozen, and there were Black-Headed Gulls all over the ice.

But a clear patch on the east side gave the resident swan family a chance to feed ...

... and Great Crested Grebes and Shovellers were going about their business as usual.

When seriously frosty weather threatens, the grebes fly away to the upper reaches of the Thames, which never freezes. But this time they sense that the frost won't last long, and have stayed put. From observation over past years they seem to be very accurate forecasters.

Two visits to the rowan tree on Buck Hill produced dark pictures of a Song Thrush ...

... and a Magpie ...

... and sunlit ones of a Mistle Thrush ...

... a Blackbird ....

... and a Jay.

At the bottom of the hill, a Robin surveyed its territory from a broken teazle stem.

The female Little Owl looked out from the oak tree near the Albert Memorial.

Her foot is raised because she had just finished scratching her ear, but at the 1/250 second exposure necessary for the dim light you can't capture movement.

The young Grey Heron at the Dell restaurant was being mobbed and looked up, squawking with exasperation. 'Will no one rid me of these turbulent gulls?'

Whatever you think of Grey Squirrels, sometimes you just have to take a picture. She was eating rose hips in the Rose Garden.

There was a curious incident at the Triangle car park. An ambassador was returning from presenting his credentials at Buckingham Palace -- you can see his hat in the middle of the picture. But when his procession got to the narrow passage beside the car park, there was another ambassador coming the other way, so he had to wait. This is my first, and perhaps only, picture of an ambassadorial traffic jam.


  1. I don't think I've ever seen an ambassadorial traffic jam either. Great picture!

    That picture with the swans huddled around the person feeding them is the very definition of winter. Chilly and bleak, brrrr.

    How do Swans manage when water freezes? Do they also leave for the Thames?

    1. In freezing weather the people at Bluebird Boats break the ice on a large area of the Serpentine every morning by driving powerboats through it, so the swans and geese are all right. The park becomes a haven for geese flying in from less favourable places, and numbers of Greylags and Canadas may exceed 400 each.

  2. Are you saying that presenting your credentials as ambassador is a horse and carriage affair,Ralph?

    1. Yes, in London. The Queen sends two carriages to take you and a few select minions to the palace and back.