Wednesday 23 March 2022

The Egyptian Goose in the mirror

A Wren struck a grand pose on a winged elm beside the Long Water.

A Pied Wagtail sprinted around in the daisies beside the Serpentine, hunting insects.

He caught one.

So did a Robin, and had a cautious look around before bringing it to the nest in the bushes near the Henry Moore sculpture.

I was trying to photograph this Long-Tailed Tit perched on a twig when it took off, and I got a slightly blurred picture.

A Wood Pigeon ate young leaves. Their odd-looking eyes appear to have a slot-shaped pupil, but in fact the pupil is a normal round one and there is a black spot on the pale grey iris.

A pair of Carrion Crows had a quiet moment together on the boathouse roof.

One of the young Grey Herons in the nest on the island hurled itself into the air ...

... and made a neat landing on the ground below as if it had been flying for years rather than days.

The arrival of a third pair of Great Crested Grebes on the Serpentine has upset the balance of power, and there are now constant confrontations and displays.

The Coot nest under the willow by the bridge is getting larger and larger. Coots just can't stop building.

The Mute Swans nesting under the bridge are still saved from the dominant swan's anger by the intervening fence. But the workmen are putting up new netting all along the expanded reed bed, which will stop the swans from going in and out. Really they should not be there, as they will ruin the young reeds when these are planted. I'm sure that our Wildlife Officer Drew Love-Jones is keeping an eye on things.

The dominant swans' nesting island is being built up with more gravel. It hasn't been spread out yet, but the island should be ready just in time for them to nest.

An Egyptian Goose was puzzled by his reflection in a chrome-plated panel on a pickup, and went underneath to find the other goose. Only the most intelligent birds such as crows and parrots understand mirrors.

A Mallard showed off her beautiful iridescent purple-blue secondaries.

Gadwalls have to be content with white ones.

The Brimstone butterflies in the Flower Walk like these purple and yellow polyanthus primroses, which bees ignore.


  1. Thank you for yet another lovely blog. Francesca

  2. Amusing to watch the Egyptian Goose reacting to its reflection.

    Nice to seethe photo of the Long-tailed Tit in flight even if slightly blurred- we don't see photos of flight often in this species.

    1. A few years ago, before they re-erected the Henry Moore sculpture, the place was temporarily occupied by Anish Kapoor's 'Sky Mirror' made entirely of reflective metal. It sent the Egyptians absolutely crazy trying to fight their reflections. There were other mirror pieces in the park which had the same effect.

  3. Wonderful picture of the Long Tailed Tit in flight. That is a rare sight!

    Egyptians are the embodiment of the phrase "Silly goose!".

    I was startled for a bit thinking how on Earth the Wood Pigeon had got itself goat-like horizontal pupils!

    1. Egyptians are certainly not the most intelligent of birds, but even the much brighter Greylags and Canadas struggle with the idea of a reflection. Urban pigeons seem to be quite accustomed to landing on window sills and seeing their reflection in the glass. I don't think they understand the significance of the image, they have just learnt to ignore it. However, I have seen Carrion Crows actually admiring themselves in a mirror, and strutting around to see how fine they look.