In a departure from the usual themes of my blog, this is an avian appreciation post. All of these pictures were taken this summer in the vicinity of Caldecotte Lake, Milton Keynes, close to my home. It’s surprisingly easy to find amazing wildlife on one’s doorstep.
Adult mute swan, Cygnus olor, with cygnets
I find it amazing to contemplate the fact that these birds are all descended from ancient theropod dinosaurs. A whole tree of transitional fossils, including the famous Archaeopteryx, illustrates the gradual evolution of modern birds from their dinosaur ancestors.
According to the BBC, the humble wood pigeon, Columba palumbus, pictured above, is now the most commonly-seen bird in the UK. Its close relative the collared dove, Streptopelia decaocto, a fellow member of the family Columbidae, is also a common sight in local gardens.
Greylag goose, Anser anser
Two different species of geese can be regularly seen on the lake: the greylag goose, Anser anser, pictured above, and the Canada goose, Branta canadensis, a family of which is pictured below.
Grey heron, Ardea cineria, fishing on the Grand Union Canal