Wednesday, 20 May 2020

It was quite a hot day, and the Black Swan on the Serpentine was uncomfortable in its heat-absorbing black feathers. Heaven knows how they cope in the climate of their native Australia.

It cooled down by diving and swimming under water, something I've never seen a swan doing before.

The Mute Swan nesting at the Lido was clearly thirsty, and happily drank water trickled from a bottle.

For the other swans it was business as usual. A pair courted on the Serpentine ...

... and the dominant swan on the Long Water and his mate continued to enlarge their reed nest.

Five of the older Egyptian goslings were preening in a heap. The sixth couldn't be bothered.

A pair of Gadwalls found a shady place to rest ...

... and so did a Great Crested Grebe.

The solitary Cormorant perched on a neglected pedalo with some Herring Gulls. The boats are getting so streaked with droppings that they look like the earth seen from space.

A young Pied Wagtail looked for insects on the edge of the Serpentine, and took time off to preen.

Young Starlings have come out all over the park in the last two days.

They make a tremendous racket begging to be fed.

There are singing Blackcaps all round the Long Water.

A Peacock butterfly rested on a dead tree near the Italian Garden.

Tom went out along the river wall at Rainham, where he found a Skylark ...

... and a Hairy Dragonfly.


  1. It is interesting to see the Black Swan dive. It’s not quite as elegant as a grebe, but it’s still very impressive.

    1. It's about the same size as a Canada Goose, and they can manage it too.

  2. How hot was it today over there? We've reached the 31ºC mark today and it will climb some more in the next days. Hopefully the heat may wipe the corona bug out.

    The Black Swan never ceases to do astonishing things. I too wonder how it'd cope in its native environment.

    Bravo to that kind person giving something to drink to the thirsty ("Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?").

    Incidentally, what sort of construction "an hungred" is? A hungry person?

    1. It wasn't all that hot, maybe 27°. But it was enough to make the birds go into hot weather mode, and either bask or seek shade.

      Interesting question about 'an hungred'. 'An' not an article here. It's a prefix, similar to the 'a-' in 'athirst' (= thirsty), modified with an n because it precedes an h (as it would be before a vowel), and anomalously detached from the main word. The term could equally be spelt as one word, and is in Tyndale's translation which greatly influenced the Authorized Version. It occurs nine times in the AV:

      Mat. 4:2  And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
      Mat. 12:1  At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat.
      Mat. 12:3  But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him;
      Mat. 25:35  For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
      Mat. 25:37  Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
      Mat. 25:42  For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
      Mat. 25:44  Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
      Mar. 2:25  And he said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him?
      Luk. 6:3  And Jesus answering them said, Have ye not read so much as this, what David did, when himself was an hungred, and they which were with him;

      There is a paper about this construction written by a Japanese professor:

    2. Thanks so much! I hadn't even the remotest idea that this construction existed.

  3. Lovely shots of the Black Swan. Seeing Tom's photo of a Hairy Dragonfly- I've several of this species that was once pretty rare. It was also one of 5 species of Odonata reported to me a couple of days ago from Buckingham Palace Gardens, so worth looking for in the park!

    1. Thanks. Will keep an eye out for one. I thnk we got our Willow Emerald damselflies of last year via Buckingham Palace.