gillybirds

What came first- the chickens or the blog?

A stroll along the Serpentine

on April 30, 2013

For our last few child free hours we walked and then cycled round Hyde Park in London. Henry the Eight used to hunt for wild boar here. It was a glorious morning and everyone was out with their dogs, kids, horses, skates and bikes enjoying the spring morning. We even witnessed people jogging backwards. I had heard of this sport but never seen it with my own eyes!
In Hyde Park there is a large man made lake, the Serpentine, constructed by George 4th for his wife Queen Caroline. Many years ago young Mr Gillybirds took me for a romantic afternoon in a rowing boat, I particularly remember trying to extract a large skelf of wood from his hand due due his efforts on the oars. Today we stayed on dry land and watched swimmers gliding through the water beside the geese, swans and ducks who have made this tranquil part of London their home. Being birds of course they were waddling around looking for food and we had nothing to feet them with. I did take a few photos, this beautiful bird caught my eye. A duck or a goose?
Well actually it is an Egyptian goose. More closely related to the Shelducks than to ‘real’ geese, this is an exotic-looking introduction to the British fauna. It has been part of our countryside since it was introduced into parks and stately gardens in the 18th century, but only officially as a British breeding bird since 1971. It is certainly very pretty in its autumnal colours, with a brown eye mask giving it an air of superhero mystery. And they do originate from Egypt. If you look closely at this scrap of papyrus from ancient Egypt you can spot these birds hiding in the reeds.

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I couldn’t resist taking a snap of one of the magnificent swans. Just like Mrs Gillybirds herself, serene and calm on the surface, paddling like mad below the surface. 🙂

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2 responses to “A stroll along the Serpentine

  1. revwhit says:

    What a dashing little fellow.

  2. zeudytigre says:

    Still working on achieving the serene and calm facade here 😉

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