Sunday 19 March 2023

Songs near the Italian Garden

Blackbirds are generally slower to start singing than the other songbirds, but this one near the Italian Garden was in full song.

His mate listened from the next tree.

A Greenfinch sang monotonously from a nearby treetop. They are all round the Long Water, where I heard six males today.

On a lower branch a Robin joined its voice to the chorus. They too are singing everywhere.

Another sang in the corkscrew hazel in the Flower Walk ...

... and a Coal Tit looked down from a higher branch.

Most of the Redwings seem to have left. I saw just one in the whole day, near the Speke obelisk.

A Wren dashed frantically around in a tree near the Buck Hill shelter. I was lucky to get a picture at all.

The Little Owl at the Round Pond stayed in his hole on a rather chilly morning, but came out on to the horse chestnut tree later.

An Egyptian Goose has taken to standing on his nest tree.

A Wood Pigeon strolled through the wildflower patch in the Rose Garden. It didn't try to eat any of the flowers, though they gorge on many kinds of tree blossom. I wonder whether these ground-flowering plants have evolved poisons or nasty tastes to avoid being eaten. Certainly aconites and autumn crocuses are poisonous.

The Grey Heron chicks weren't in an adventurous mood, and stayed in the nest.

The other pair of adults are now favouring the nest at the west end of the island.

The heron on the steps by the bridge was on the usual perch on the handrail. Its eye is looking better but it's still blinking more than normally.

The Great Crested Grebe pair on the Long Water were hanging around the willow near the bridge, which seems to be their favourite spot.

Three Mandarins appeared on the Serpentine. The pair vigorously repelled the spare drake.


  1. Our local Blackbird has begun to sing at the charming hour of 4 AM. We don't mind, but we wish he didn't get up so early.
    We saw a nesting Grebe today. I think it's far too early. It was the only one, too. The rest were either going about their business on their own, or displaying to one another.

    1. Yes, the Blackbird in the street behind my flat tends to start up long before dawn. I think it's the street lights that keep him awake. He is a mature bird now and a particularly fine singer.

      I don't know to what extent the lack in our lake of small fish for feeding baby grebes is duplicated in other water bodies, but surely it must be better generally for them to breed some time after the fish have spawned, when there is an abundance.

  2. I had my first singing Blackbird yesterday; a bird much scarcer than they used to be. Hardly seen any in the gardens around here now, though I did have a male for a couple of days recently.

    Also my first singing Chiffchaff yesterday morning.

    Redwing numbers were much reduced here too-only found a group of three.

  3. Chiffchaffs seem to be decreasing here, but the number of Greenfinches is steadily rising. Maybe they're descended from birds resistant to the lung disease that hit them badly a few years ago.