An imperial gift

The Grey Heron has a range that ranges from England to Japan.

They are imperial birds. This lacquered Japanese cosmetic box was given to Queen Elizabeth II by the Emperor of Japan for her coronation in 1953. It was made around 1900 by Shirayama Shōsai. It was the first post-war diplomatic gift, indicating a new era of friendship, and is on display right now in the Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace.

Meanwhile, this one was grooming itself in the gardens next to Kensington Palace the other day, crest on display, oblivious to us passing peasants:

It was joined by two indolent swans, the property of the King:

Like the one on the lacquered box, it spent much time on one leg:

Serious grooming began:

But it was watching me, maybe checking for signs of insurrection:

PS: I’m off to The Gambia tomorrow, and hope to have some good things to show you on my return in about 10 days.

5 thoughts on “An imperial gift”

  1. Moira: your photos are so perfect….you must have a very good lens (lenses)…that last photo of the Heron’s eye is beautiful. I looked up why Herons and other birds stand on one leg…I kinda guessed…but that doesn’t explain why Flamingoes do, standing in warm water. Have an awesome time in The Gambia (looked that up, too…for more info. Looking forward to your next post(s).


  2. Very nice images, Moira, although I am a bit leery about Great Blue herons. They always seem to be in a molt somewhere on their gangly bodies and hence appear a bit unkempt. This one, albeit part of the royal guard, is no exception, or perhaps that explains his poor oral hygiene. Add the threat of bird flu and I’d use a longer lens – or in your case, step back and give that barrel another turn. I visited The Gambia on my daily Worldle this morning, as it is enveloped by Senegal, a geopolitical miracle!


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