Monday 7 March 2022

Mandarins arrive at last

Three male Greenfinches were singing at each other by the bridge. They tend to stay inside the holly trees and are hard to photograph, but one came out on a dead branch for a moment.

A pair of Long-Tailed Tits have a nest in a bramble patch beside the Serpentine outflow.

A Starling at the leaf yard shone beautifully in the sunlight.

The Redwings on the Parade Ground were also looking fine ...

... and so was a solitary Pied Wagtail.

A male Feral Pigeon made advances towards a female. She wasn't impressed and walked away.

Both the young Grey Herons were wandering around the edge of the nest flapping their wings, which are fully developed but they won't learn to fly for some time.

The aggressive Black-Headed Gull who owns the landing stage turned downwind to confront an intruder and got his feathers ruffled.

One of our three visiting Polish Black-Headed Gulls, T8YT, was at the Triangle car park.

Three Moorhens preened on the edge of a reed bed at the east end of the Serpentine.

Two pairs of Mandarins have arrived on the Long Water, the first seen here for months.

Two Male Mute Swans busked about side by side in an effort to push rank without having to fight. A third swan adopted a defensive posture but didn't join in.

The male swan in the Italian Garden was alone and looking rather miserable. His mate was absent yesterday, and also today during my two visits, but Virginia tells me that she was there earlier in the morning. I don't know what has started her wandering off.

The Egyptian Geese on the north side of the Serpentine are down to their last gosling. They were trying to keep it safe under a tree.

Blondie has been away for several days. Joan Chatterley found her in St James's Park and sent this picture.

Abigail found the first martenitsa of the year on a tree near Lancaster Gate. Bulgarians traditionally wear these love tokens from Baba Marta Day, the first of March, until they find a blossoming tree to hang them on. The more elaborate ones have a pair of little dolls on them, but this is a simple one with just a length of red and white cord.


  1. A similar practice is attested in ancient Greece as well. It makes me dizzy to think that the custom has been alive for millenia.

    What is Blondie doing so far away from home?

    The rival swans look like a pair of competitors in synchronized swimming!

    1. Amazing that the martenitsa has such ancient origins. And of course Greece is only a step from Thrace, ancient Bulgaria.

      Blondie has been to St James's Park at least once before, although she is a stay-at-home by temperament. Maybe her mate took her there.

    2. I was immediately reminded of the Athenian αἰώραι rite, during which Athenian girls would tie or hang ribbons and small puppets from tree branches. It was supposed to be a protective or apotropaic rite to ensure girls' successful transition to marriegeability.

    3. Ah, that's what it is. Thank you. I was wondering.

  2. Splendid shot of the handsome male Greenfinch. Shame it seems such a rare sighting now. Not so many years it seemed so common & would regularly get several in the garden. Just one sighting thee last year. I did see a group of 6 in Perivale Park last week but these days it's a notable bird to see. Hope yours prosper in the park!

    Always good to see the Mandarins. I did see a few of these yesterday at Kew.

  3. For some reason Greenfinches are doing well in the park and can be heard all along the west side of the Long Water. They seem to have bounced back from the lung disease that almost wiped them out a few years ago.

  4. That's good to hear Ralph-long may they prosper.