Monday, 8 March 2021

A chick has now hatched in the Grey Herons' nest at the west end of the island. There was a faint clattering sound, not audible in this video, of the tiny creature clacking its bill, begging for food. It was low in the nest and not visible. A parent arrived to relieve the other one, which flew off. The adult regurgitated a fish, mashed it up in its gizzard, and fed the resulting mush to the chick.

In the other nest, a parent flew off to get more food for the permanently hungry half-grown chick.

The island is a noisy place. A pair of Black-Headed Gulls screaming affectionately at each other were drowned out by two pairs of Canada Geese loudly objecting to the other's presence.

A Common Gull on a buoy at the Lido stretched ...

... overbalanced ...

... and fell off.

There were two Grey Wagtails, first in Kensington Gardens then in Hyde Park at the Serpentine outflow, near the place in the Dell where they usually nest. One found a small worm in a fallen catkin.

A Pied Wagtail hunted in the enclosure of the Diana fountain.

A Long-Tailed Tit by the Long Water collected spider web for its nest.

A Song Thrush scolded a Jay that had come near its nest site, which is probably inside a holly tree on the west side of the Long Water a short way south of the Vista.

There was a Great Spotted Woodpecker on the other side of the lake, in a tree where they are often seen and will probably nest.

A Chaffinch perched on a twig near the Henry Moore sculpture.

A Magpie rested on the branch of a small oak tree. Young oaks retain their leaves in winter, older ones drop them.

The dominant male Mute Swan on the Long Water ignored his personal island and sat in the reeds.

Joan Chatterley was in Battersea Park, where there were ten Mandarin drakes (eight in her picture) and a solitary female. It seems odd that the sex ratio of Mandarins is so unbalanced when the females nest in tree holes where they are fairly safe from predators.

She also saw two very dark Mallard drakes, darker than the three we have in the park, which have white bibs.

Tom was at Rainham Marshes, where he got a good picture of a Chiffchaff.

I've seen a Chiffchaff near the bridge here, but couldn't get a picture.


  1. Great photo of the mandarin ducks in Battersea Park. Saw a pair on the Long Water this afternoon.

    1. Will keep an eye out for them. First here for months.

  2. Very gorgeous Chiffchaff. Always looking forward to hearing their simple cheery song (it's two-noted in English, right? "chiff-chaff, chiff-chaff").

    Falling off a buoy must be the height of ignominy for a self-respecting Gull.

    Very funny demonstration of just how noisy the island can get!

    1. Those little plastic buoys around the Lido swimming area are a trap for gulls. They are strung on a rope and revolve easily. Small Black-Headed Gulls can stand on them but the slightly larger Common Gulls have to take care, and big Herring Gulls and Lesser Black-Backs overbalance them as soon as they land.

  3. Lovely to see the Mandarins. I have a flock of these near home on the Brent. They often fly into Hanwell Zoo for free food.

    Those domestic Mallards seem to have some cayuga breed in them I think.

    1. I've seen completely dark Mallards as far afield as Birmingham, and am inclined to think it's natural melanism.