Friday 9 December 2022

The banished swan

The young Little Owl at the Round Pond braved the morning chill and came out on a horse chestnut tree -- one of the trees that grew new leaves after losing them in the drought, so that it still gives the owl reasonable cover. He's looking bigger than usual because he's fluffed up against the cold.

I couldn't see the owl at the Speke obelisk. But since I have become a regular visitor there several Great Tits have started coming out to be fed. This is one of them in an oak.

A Robin came out on the railings at Peter Pan.

A Wood Pigeon ate very unripe and rock-hard ivy berries at the back of the Lido. They don't seem to mind how unripe things are.

A Rose-Ringed Parakeet made a contrast with maple leaves in the Rose Garden.

A fine picture by Duncan Campbell of Black-Headed Gulls bickering together because someone was feeding them.

This gull, EX63684, is an old hand on the Serpentine. It was ringed by Roy Sanderson on 19 November 2011, at Peter Pan. Since then it has returned faithfully to Kensington Gardens every winter, but I don't know of any other sightings of these two.

But this one, EZ73343, is one of a batch ringed recently by Bill Haines. Another of the series is our old friend EZ 73323 who perches on the 'No swimming' notice.

Behind the Cormorants on their favourite tree at the island, what appears to be a colossal ibis is actually a crane for cleaning the windows of the ugly and incredibly expensive block of flats grandly called One Hyde Park.

Only a very few of the flats, which sell for multi-millions that only a billionaire can afford, are occupied. The rest are merely investments for offshore property companies and pay no council tax.

A pair of Egyptian Geese preened on a sawn-off poplar beside the statue of Peter Pan.

The Black Swan was on the Round Pond calling to the Mute Swans, which have no idea of what he's saying.

This is a sad picture. The dominant female swan on the Long Water was chasing her rival away under the bridge and into exile on the Serpentine. She had only been a mate of the male in the Italian Garden for a few months.

The faithless male was in the Italian Garden, amusing himself by pestering passers-by for food ...

... and hissing at dogs.

The Diana fountain is having is annual maintenance and cleaning, and the gardeners have tried to repair the damage caused by foxes making an earth in the bank, laying new turf to cover the scars. The foxes have simply dug in again. The lifted pieces of turf were probably the result of Carrion Crows looking for worms underneath.

Abigail visited the Winter Wasteland and photographed this ice sculpture of a crow sadly caged in icy bars.

A view of the Albert Memorial through plane leaves.


  1. It's sad to think that the Black Swan is trying to communicate with its closest relatives and they cannot even understand its language.
    I'm addicted to swan drama. iIt's loads better than daytime TV.

    1. Of course Mute Swans are not actually mute and do have various calls, but they are very laconic. The arrival of this voluble foreigner disconcerts them.