Monday, 24 February 2020

It was another dank wet day. The weather kept most people out of the park and, more importantly, their dogs. A group of Mute Swans felt safe enough to come right on to the shore of the Serpentine to graze.

The dominant swan on the island chased off a rival.

Another pair flew up the lake.

There is just enough left of the swan island on the Long Water for a pair of Canada Geese to stand. They have tried to nest here in previous years but have always been evicted by the swans.

A pair of Egyptian Geese took possession of a sawn-off treetop.

I haven't seen this Canada x Greylag hybrid goose for a long time, and thought it was gone. But here it is on the Serpentine, looking elderly and walking with a slight limp but still capable of running out of the way when a car came past.

A Moorhen in the Dell felt it wasn't wet enough and had a splash to get properly soaked.

A Great Crested Grebe lurked elegantly under the bridge.

The rain delighted the thrushes on the Parade Ground by bringing up worms. Apparently these have now climbed to the surface of the newly laid turf, for a Mistle Thrush was searching a fresh green area.

A Redwing preferred one of the remaining bits of bare ground.

A Jay perched on a yew branch. The little brown things are flowers. Yews have no need of pretty flowers to attract insects as they are wind pollinated, and male trees release enormous amounts of pollen which can cause headaches, lethargy, aching joints, itching, and skin rashes, and trigger asthma attacks.

A Great Tit looked out from a broken twig.

A Robin preferred a rose bush.


  1. Not only that, a yew's shadow can kill you too! (according to old Spanish folklore). The belief in its deadliness must have been widespread in Southern Europe, because Romans called it "funesta taxus". Caesar tells of a Gaul chieftain who committed suicide by drinking yew juice.

    Everybody else's loss is the swans' win, it seems.

    1. According to Wikipedia, the yew wood for the longbows used by English archers in the Middle Ages was imported from Spain because the local trees were too gnarled.

  2. Unfortunately not all the dogs stayed away. I had a "discussion" with one lady who was happy to see her small terrier chase off scores of geese near the Round Pond. Her excuse was new to me: "It's not the dog's fault. The ducks (sic) should be on the water not the grass."