THE TEMPERATURE HAS dropped. Fear of the Omicron variant of the covid19 virus has meant that less people are out and about in London. This was the case in Kensington Gardens today, the winter solstice. The wildfowl that gather around its not so round Round Pond wait eagerly for visitors to distribute tasty morsels. Today, I saw a lady feeding the birds. So many were attracted to her that sometimes her head seemed lost in a cloud of noisy gulls. In front of her, swans extended their necks, attempting to reach her hands. Undaunted, this animal lover continued carrying out her kind gesture.
Tag Archives: swans
Swans on the Serpentine
Swans sail serenely
Passing the lakeside kiosk
The spy in the pond
QUEENSMERE POND on Wimbledon is surrounded by woodland. It was dug in marshland to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897. In the 1830s, the area was a popular duelling ground.
In 1984, the corpse of a former Soviet spy Boris Hatton was discovered in the pond. On the 1st of March 1984, The London “Times” newspaper reported:
“Mr Boris Hatton, formerly Baklanov, a former assassin with SMERSH, part of Soviet wartime military intelligence, may have committed suicide or he may have been murdered. Dr Paul Knapman. the coroner at a Westminster inquest, recorded an open verdict, saying ‘It is not impossible that there may be other sinister factors in view of his past’.
Mr Hatton, aged 59, the son of prominent Soviet Commu-nist Party member between the wars, had been a strong swimmer and never spoke of suicide, the court was told.His son Phillip, an accountant. of Westerham, Kent, said that his father defected after the Second World War because SMERSH, wanted him to assassinate dissidents against Communism which his conscience would not allow.”
For 10 years he worked as a researcher at The Daily Telegraph.”Well, I would never imagined that this had happened when I watched a swan with its cygnets swimming lazily by the edge of the lovely pond.
Swans and cygnets
To me they look alike
The swan’s grey cygnets
But I am sure they’re not
It gives me great pleasure and sense of wellbeing watching the ducks, moorhens, geese, swans, seagulls, and other fowl, swimming in or sitting close to the water bodies on London’s parks.
Sometimes, I have spotted rarer birds such as herons, cormorants, and pelicans (in St James Park). Golders Hill Park in northwest London used to have flamingos. I do not know if they are still there.
I often wonder what the birds think about the humans, who come to visit them, that is if they think at all. Are we good company for them or simply an occasional source of welcome food waste?
It does not matter to me whether or not they think, so long as they are there to give us all a pleasurable experience and that they are enjoying life in an avian kind of way.
Most are white, some black
Flexible necks, but not giraffes
They are swans, of course