Sunday, 31 May 2020

It looks as if the Mute Swans nesting at the east end of the Lido are going to have to be content with three cygnets, as it's two days since the last egg hatched. But the little ones are healthy and active creatures, and will be protected by their vigilant mother and murderous father.

The family at the other end of the Lido, which had understandably been hiding from the wrath of the other male, reappeared today with all six cygnets in good shape.

The swan nesting on the gravel bank was not pleased to see a Grey Heron standing right next to the nest.

Joan Chatterley reports that the blonde Egyptian gosling in Battersea Park is still alive. Its father attacked it, maybe because it looked odd, and it is now away from the family and fending for itself. It can find its own food without trouble but it won't bhe able to fly for some time, so it's not out of danger.

When our own Blondie was hatched her father accepted her perfectly well.

The Great Crested Grebe nest under the willow near the bridge has been a peaceful scene for several days and looks likely to succeed. Its foundation is a well made Coot nest, so it's unlikely to collapse if the wind gets up.

But not all Coot nests are well made. The second nest at the Dell restaurant is a rough heap of junk, and has already been washed away once.

The north end of the Long Water is now thick with algae after a few hot days. A Moorhen toiled through it ...

... but a heron found it convenient, as fish lurk under the mat and can be grabbed if they stick their head out.

A young Grey Wagtail perched on a rock at the bottom of the Dell waterfall.

Ahmet Amerikali took this picture of a Carrion Crow dunking a bit of bread at the top of the waterfall.

The Little Owl near the Henry Moore sculpture was out in the alder tree in spite of a brisk breeze.

Young Blue Tits bounced around in a hazel thicket begging for food, which their parents brought.

A Cockatoo had a selfie in the Italian Garden.

A pair of Black-Tailed Skimmer dragonflies mated near the Vista, a long and complicated business that is the highlight of their little lives.

A Honeybee visited a flower at the back of the Lido. He's only a drone, but they have their moment too.


  1. Greeks and Romans had it exactly the wrong way: drones they thought were active soldiers working for the bee community. It couldn't enter their minds that bee soldiers and workers should be all female. They also had the oddest notion that bees were born out of rotting oxen carcasses.

    I am almost afraid to ask: swan fathers, however murderous they may be to others, don't go on a rampage against their own cygnets, right?

    Poor incompetent Coot. To be bad a nest-building is the utmost of bad luck.

    1. I think the Greeks and Romans also thought that the queen bee was a king. At least, that's certainly a traditional belief.

      The idea of bees coming out of a rotting carcase, in this case a lion's, occurs at Judges 14:14, where Samson asks the Philistines a riddle: 'Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness.' This scene is depicted, strangely, on the traditional tin of Lyle's Golden Syrup -- perhaps the only example of a putrid corpse being used to promote a food.

      Swans are all too capable of murdering other swans' cygnets. I'm worried about what may happen on the Long Water when the intruders' eggs hatch first.

    2. Blimey, never noticed that before...

    3. My father explained the reference to my sister and me when we were toddlers. It didn't seem strange at the time.

    4. Dear God. That's innovative and no mistake.

    5. The Victorians were not encumbered by delicacy or good taste in such matters.