Saturday 17 December 2022

Exit the rejected swan

The new pair of Mute Swans in the Italian Garden intensified their attack on the male's previous mate. But just after I had filmed these scenes and was going away the rejected swan whooshed over my head, having managed to take off from the confined space of the garden. Swans can, with enormous effort, take off from land, and desperation had driven her to it. She is now on the Serpentine, defeated but at least not under constant persecution.

Afterwards the victors sat smugly on the snow. They now have possession of the whole of the Long Water and the nesting island, and can go down when the ice melts. A thaw is expected tomorrow.

But it has been another cold night and the unbroken ice on the Long Water is an inch thick. Black-Headed Gulls loafed around at the Vista.

The Little Grebe in the Italian Garden spends most of its time lurking among the leaves of the irises in one of the planters. There probably aren't many small fish in the water at this time of year, so it's most likely picking water snails and other small aquatic creatures off the plants.

Despite overnight frosts most of the snow on the grass has melted, and the Grey Heron at the Henry Moore sculpture is back to hunting rats along the fence. This odd tactic actually works, and herons have been seen several times with rats here. 

The young Little Owl at the Round Pond was fluffed up to the max against the morning chill.

The male of the pair at the Speke obelisk was also out making the most of the sunshine. This is a more sheltered spot than the exposed pond.

There are now six Great Tits coming to my hand here, the result of my hanging around to photograph the owls.

And there are three hand-tame Blue Tits now in the Flower Walk.

The newly found Coal Tit at the Mound Gate has a jaunty little crest.

Long-Tailed Tits worked their way along the edge of the Long Water.

A Dunnock foraged in the fallen leaves below.

A Carrion Crow stole a bit of bread from someone feeding the swans and retired to a tree to eat it.

The boat people have spent much of today breaking the ice on the Serpentine. It's not clear why they are being so thorough when the ice won't last long now: orders from above, I think. It takes the park management a very long time to react to situations.

A sad shot of a dinosaur going extinct.


  1. That's just too cruel. It looks personal. I am amazed though that she is able to run so comparatively fast - they are faster on their feet than I thought. I guess that must be desperation. Poor, poor thing. I hope she's find a mate again in the Serpentine.

    That's quite the Great Tits following you've got!

    1. At least she's got away. Humiliated and bitter, but uninjured. She will get over it. Even moody swans can do that.