Wednesday, 5 September 2012
An Egyptian Goose was flying over the Serpentine, and there seemed something not quite right about its flight -- slightly heavy and laborious. But it was flying straight and level, and under perfect control.
Then it came down on the water and folded up its wings, and I saw that it had angel wing. Surprising to see it in the air. I wonder whether the exercise of flying will straighten the twisted wing joint.
The Mute Swan family with seven cygnets passed majestically under the bridge, going from the eastern zone of their territory to the western zone. They have forced the widower swan on the Long Water to sit sadly on the tern raft, and attack him if he advances beyond it. And on the Serpentine, any swan that ventures beyond the island will get beaten up. The grey plumage of other families' cygnets does not protect them. These young swans had the temerity to go into the net near the Lido to eat some reeds, and were severely thumped when they came out and fled crying to the other side of the frontier.
It looks as if next year the lake may revert to its former state of being the territory of a single pair of swans, and all the others will be confined to the Round Pond.
The Great Crested Grebes near the bridge have also carved out a large territory, from the Lido on the Serpentine to the Vista on the Long Water, where I saw them driving off the grebes who nested on the fallen poplar farther up the lake. Here three of the dominant family's youngsters cruise briskly under the bridge to beg some more food from their indulgent parents.
There is a link here: the birds with the largest families are highest in the social order and claim the biggest territory. The swans have seven young, the grebes four, near the normal maximum for each species.