Friday, 17 November 2017

The Black Swans have indeed moved from Hyde Park to St James's Park. Here is the long staying Black Swan -- in front at the start of the clip -- with a teenage friend, the largest of the four that arrived in Hyde Park a few days ago. We may have been wrong about it being male, an opinion based on its thuggish behaviour when it first arrived. The friend is larger, and was behaving in a masculine manner.

The other three teenagers were preening on the edge of the lake.

There were three Black Swans in St James's Park before. Now there are eight, and we haven't got any.

There have been White Pelicans in St James's Park since 1664. The original ones were a present from the Russian Ambassador. They have a peculiar fishing method of repeatedly dipping into the water with their enormous bills.

No visit to St James's Park would be complete without a picture of a Little Grebe.

Again, they have plenty of these charming birds and we have none. This is mainly because the St James's Park lake is stocked with fish to feed the pelicans.

Back in Kensington Gardens, a Cormorant thought it had picked up a fish on the bottom of the Long Water. But it turned out to be a twig.

A Shoveller drake looked magnificent in the sunshine.

The injured Egyptian Goose in the Diana fountain enclosure continues to recover rapidly, and is now only limping slightly. He will always have a scar, and maybe a slightly swollen foot. I am resisting the temptation to call him Oedipus. At least geese know who their mother is.

The familiar Robin in the Rose Garden was preening. He is now happy to be filmed because he knows he will be given some food afterwards.

A Great Tit shooed a Blue Tit away from a feeder in the Dell.

It was a good day for seeing Little Owls. The male near the leaf yard was out on a branch of his horse chestnut tree, though later he went into his hole ...

... because there was a pair of Magpies on another branch, preparing to harass him.

His mate was in the usual sweet chestnut. She too had had trouble with Magpies, and came down from a high branch to another one next to the nest hole in case she had to duck in.

The female owl near the Henry Moore sculpture had come out to the end of her usual branch, making it possible to get a better picture of her.


  1. I await with interest the next instalment of 'Orlando the Black Swan'. Do you know if the pelicans in St James's Park still prey on pigeons? Can any still fly? Jim

    1. Orlando Furioso?

      In that clip, it looks as if two of the surviving three pelicans have intact wings.

    2. I have seen the pelicans try to fly from the land and onto the water. One has 2 big wings and managed it, but I do not know if it can actually fly very far. Another has a very short wing on one side and was very lop-sided. The third has only one wing and a few little feathers on the other side. It did a real belly-flop! This was a couple of months ago.

    3. Hadn't heard of that Orlando. Jim

    4. Orlando Furioso is a long dramatic poem written in the 16th century by Ariosto. Enormously influential in its day, and providing the subject matter for umpteen Italian operas, it is now almost forgotten.

    5. I hadn't realised there were so many cultural Orlandos, but I was thinking of the Virginia Woolf character who initially seems masculine and lordly. Jim

  2. I’ve occasionally seen a pelican fly - a dramatic sight! I haven’t seen one eat a pigeon

  3. I'm still reeling. Our Black Swan is so very large for a female swan, and she is so aggressive and strong as to be able to drive back quite large Mute Swan cobs. Maybe she doesn't know she is a female (I remember reading in a very lovely memoir titled "Corvus" about a pet Rook that the Rook was actually female, and was as surprised as everyone else was when she laid her first egg).

    Perhaps she may be enticed to go back to Kensington Gardens? Where else might she get such generous amounts of free and tasty food?