Sunday, 25 April 2021

A small party of Swifts flew over the Serpentine, the first I've seen here this year.

A male Blackcap sang near the leaf yard ...

... with his mate in the next bush. She was carrying a midge, so they seem to have a nest here.

A Greenfinch sang from a tree beside the Long Water.

A Pied Wagtail ran around in in the Diana fountain enclosure. Daisies are as big to them as sunflowers are to us.

Neil filmed himself hand feeding Carrion Crows with bits of cheese. The slowed-down soundtrack turns their voices into dreadful dinosaur growls.

He also got some more pictures of the Cetti's Warbler near the bridge, hastily shot because this shy bird only appears for an instant.

A Grey Heron landed in the fallen poplar on the Long Water.

A Great Crested Grebe caught small insects on the surface of the water.

The two broods of eight Egyptian goslings are still in good shape. The younger one is shown first, being harassed by a Canada Goose. The older set came into the edge in a dangerously open formation, but luckily the Herring Gulls were busy elsewhere.

The Black Swan on the Serpentine preened her surprising white flight feathers. Most birds have dark flight feathers because the melanin pigment strengthens them, but Black Swans have decided to go the other way.

The Mandarins have disappeared from the Long Water, possibly after unsuccessful attempts at breeding. The two drakes were on the Round Pond, and one of the females was on the Serpentine.

There are still several pairs of Gadwalls on the lake.

This Tufted Duck with a white forehead is often mistaken for a Scaup, but white patches are fairly common in the species.

A Holly Blue butterfly appeared on a holly tree near the bridge, the first I've found this year.

Neil photographed a bumblebee on a berberis flower. I think it's a Buff-Tailed Bumblebee looking odd because you can only see the ends of its two orange stripes.


  1. Crows' dexterity and nimbleness never fail to amaze. Neil's poor fingers though!

    Well, it stands to reason that, being Australian, everything will be upside down.

    1. I don't think Carrion Crows are too hard on the fingers -- unlike Starlings which dive-bomb you with their sharp little beaks and draw blood.

  2. Always a joy to see the first Swifts of the season. Haven't seen one myself yet but noticed a few reported over various water bodies such as 100+ at Staines yesterday. The only real arrival on my patch yesterday was a good number of Whitethroats after just the one the previous weekend.

    Saw my first Holly Blues at work last Monday & my first in the garden on Saturday. Sitting in the garden yesterday afternoon it was depressing how few insects were about- a Holly Blue, small white, a couple of hoverflies & 2 or 3 Hairy-footed Flower Bees & that was about it!

    1. I was standing next to a small dark hoverfly with a hint of gold in the sunlight, wishing I could photograph or video it, or even identify it. But some things are beyond the reach of the camera in natural surroundings and I will leave the fake setups to the professionals.

      We have a few bees and millions of midges, which at least nourish the birds.

  3. I wonder if the hoverfly could have been the so-called Spring Hoverfly, Epistrophe eligans- your description catches the feel of it.

    1. Thank you. Will look it up when I get back to the computer.

    2. Yes, that looks very like what I saw. Wonder why it's eligans and not elegans?