Sunday 3 March 2019

One of the Grey Heron chicks was flapping frantically. You can see that its flight feathers are already beginning to come out, but it will be some time before it's ready to take to the air.

As for its expression, we've seen that elsewhere.

One for the art experts: this painting is a copy of a well known black and white engraving by Martin Schongauer, The Torment of St Anthony. But who painted it? Answer below.*

A heron from the next nest, which has not yet produced anything, stared enviously from an adjacent tree, its crest raised in aggression.

One of the Peregrines was on the barracks tower. But rather than put up the usual picture, which is almost the same every time, here is a remarkable shot by Clive Murgatroyd of the pair mating.

I was surprised by this, as I haven't seen them showing the slightest fondness for each other, and they usually stay well apart on the ledge like a married couple who've just quarrelled. Also, this place is only their day roost, and they spend their nights elsewhere.

Clive also caught one of them flying out from the tower, a difficult shot as they leave without warning at high speed.

On the subject of speed, here are two shots by Tom of the familiar Jay near the bridge taking a peanut from my hand. As it arrives, it turns its head sideways to grab the peanut ...

... and climbs away.

A young Black-Headed Gull played with a leaf in a puddle in the horse ride beside the Serpentine.

Another gull tried to steal the toy, and got bitten.

On the grass behind, four Pied Wagtails were sprinting around with that high-stepping stride that they use to avoid tripping over the blades of grass.

The Moorhens in the Dell have completed their nest on the rock in the little stream, though they may not be serious about actually nesting yet.

The hopeless pair of Egyptian Geese were making a noise in the Italian Garden. The one with the white head is the female.

She paused for a moment to drink from a join in the wet paving. All birds much prefer rainwater to the water in the fountains or the lake, which now comes from a borehole. It's not clear why, as the water is not treated with chemicals.

A pair of Canada Geese went along the lake shore, with the gander putting on an aggressive show to impress his mate. A Greylag was not impressed, and chased them off.

The white Mallard drake is a dominant bird, and can see off the other Mallards. He is in a trio, a common arrangement with ducks were males outnumber females, but the female is his mate and the other, normal coloured drake is simply a hanger on.

The first primroses have come out at the southwest corner of the bridge.

These are proper wild primroses, not the double polyanthus primroses planted in the park flower beds. The patch was started many years ago by a gardener who loved wildflowers, and has reliably flowered every year since then.

*Apparently Michelangelo! -- his first known painting, done around 1487 or 8 when he was 12 or 13 years old. Formerly thought to be from the workshop of Ghirlandaio, it was reattributed after a thorough examination at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New Yord in 2008. As a result it was sold for over $6 million soon afterwards, and is now in the Kimbell Art Museum in Forth Worth, Texas.


  1. Very hard to improve on today's blog entry: we have the usual wonderful pictures, the supremely enjoyable commentary, and an art quiz! Better quality entertainment cannot be found anywhere else.

    I had to laugh at the blustering Canada being shooed off by the unimpressed Greylag.

    Ouch. That bite had to hurt.

  2. Well I wouldn't have expected Canada Goose, and a dominant one at that, to give way so readily to Greylag, even if the latter is native and more 'goosey'. Is it normally the latter that takes precedence? And very interesting that painting and the attribution. Jim

    1. I was surprised at the Greylag's boldness. He was in front of his mate, who was out of shot, and no doubt wanted to impress her.