Tuesday 2 April 2024

Chiffchaff and Blackbird

A Chiffchaff and a Blackbird exchanged phrases beside the leaf yard. By the time I got round to filming the Blackbird he had stopped singing and flew away.

The Blackbirds here are feeding nestlings, but Mark Williams found a young one already out in St James's Park.

A Wren rummaged in the shrubbery at Mount Gate, looking for insects.

A Dunnock also appeared for a moment ...

... and the Blue Tit pair came out to be fed.

The usual male Chaffinch followed me around, but this is a different one in a tree by Magazine Gate.

Rose-Ringed Parakeets have stolen another woodpecker hole. It must be tiresome and exhausting for the woodpeckers to spend all that time and effort making a nest only to have it stolen by a foreign invader.

Two Grey Herons fought by the island. Perhaps 'fight' is the wrong word for these squabbles, as they don't actually strike each other. It's more like an  aggressive aerial display.

A heron by the Italian Garden needed to move along the bank to a new fishing place, splashed off a branch into the water ...

... and found itself out of its depth, so it had to swim for a short way till it could get its feet on the bottom again. They can just propel themselves slowly when afloat.

A Moorhen in the Dell relaxed on the pair's favourite rock in the stream. Andrea the Dell gardener told me that there had just been a big fight when a third Moorhen, which they had earlier banished to the top pool, came down into their territory again.

A Mallard at Peter Pan came too close to the Coots' nest and was seen off the premises.

The Mallard on the Serpentine still had nine of her original 13 ducklings. They had a perilous journey down the edge of the lake, with quarrelling Egyptian Geese flapping low overhead, then needing to skirt a hostile Mute Swan.

The Black Swan had a faceoff with a Mute male in the middle of the lake and forced it to retreat. He was really just showing off in front of his girlfriend, who was watching from near the shore.

The Egyptian goslings at the boat hire platform, not seen for several days, appeared again. Their parents had been sensibly keeping them under the platform. I'm not sure whether there are four or five now, as they kept popping in and out.

There were also two goslings along the shore towards the Dell restaurant.

I saw a Peacock butterfly near the Speke obelisk, but it flew away at once and I only got a poor photograph. Mark got a much better one at the Darland nature reserve in north London.

A pretty single yellow rose has come out in the Rose Garden. It's a different species from the usual lot, Rosa xanthina. This is probably a cultivar called 'Canary Bird', but it's very similar to the wild original which is a native of China.


  1. On the subject of butterflies, have seen four different kinds so far this year, in spite of the seemingly-endless grey weather. Off to Hutchinson's Bank in mid-April to look for the elusive green hairstreak!

    1. Yes, I've seen Red Admiral, Brimstone, Small White and Peacock in that order. The first Peacock was only today but I used your picture because it was better than mine. Good luck at Hutchinson's Bank.

  2. I see our Black Swan is as stroppy as the old Black Swan used to be. I well remember that he punched way above his weight. Maybe being Australian, he's used to battling it out against deadly local fauna, so European wildlife must look like, literally, a walk in the park for him.
    Stunning picture of the fighting Herons, not to mention the swimming bird. I haven't see anything like it in my life.

    1. I think all three Black Swans we have had have been pretty chippy, even number two who turned out to be female -- and, by the way, is still in St James's Park acting as aunt to a Mute family every year.

      I've seen herons having to swim before. Always, I think, by mistake when trying to walk along the edge and accidentally stepping on to a place where the bottom of the lake dips.

  3. Wonderful captures of the herons behaviours. This blog is starting to become a habit with me, as regular as coffee or tea.

  4. That is a very precocious juvenile Blackbird. Hope they have a productive season to boost their dwindling numbers here in London. When I did my BBS square around Ealing on Monday I only found 2 male Blackbirds (hopefully females hidden on nests somewhere!).

    Nice Peacock shot. Only butterflies I saw yesterday were from a bus near Hounslow Heath as I returned from Staines Reservoirs were a male Brimstone & a probable Small White.

    I do love the Rosa "Canary Bird". I have one in my front hedge but no flowers on mine yet.

    1. Yes, there's a sad lack of Blackbirds here, but at least there's one nest in a new place, the overgrown back garden of Queen's Gate Lodge. The lodge has just got new human occupants. I hope they aren't tidy.

      I also have a nest at the back of my flat in someone's equally neglected garden. The male is a fine singer and starts well before dawn.

  5. Yes, hopefully not part of the "overtidy brigade".

    1. The real problem here is the park management who find any wildlife untidy and try to stamp it out (while claiming that the park is a 'haven' for wildlife).