Tuesday 9 April 2024

Willow Warblers

Willow Warblers can be heard singing around the Long Water, very hard to see in the bushes. This one was on the other side of the bridge at the Triangle.

A pair of Blue Tits perched on the railings at Mount Gate.

Long-Tailed Tits are nesting in a gorse bush east of the Lido.

A Pied Wagtail was hunting on the shore by the island.

When you see Feral Pigeons or Rose-Ringed Parakeets feeding on the grass, it's because there's a patch of dandelion leaves. Many birds like these, and they also make a good salad for humans if picked when very young and tender, before they get too bitter.

A Carrion Crow by the Dell dunked a bit of bread in a puddle. It abandoned the soggy morsel as soon as I gave it some peanuts.

The chicks in the Grey Herons' nest at the east end of the island were clattering loudly. You can just see one of them in front of its parent in this picture.

It looks as if the heron at the other end of the island is now finally sitting.

This also seems to be true for the female Mute Swan on the nesting island in the Long Water, who has been in exactly the same place for three days ...

... and maybe for the female at the Serpentine outflow, though she may just have been in a huddle because it was a raw day of wind and drizzle.

A male swan has been occupying a nest site beside a boathouse for several days, staking out his territory. No breeding attempt here has ever succeeded. It's just too public.

The pair of Egyptian Geese on the Serpentine first seen yesterday with nine goslings have so far managed to protect them against the Herring Gulls which you can hear calling nearby.

The three along the shore have also survived another day, and the single gosling at the Lido is still safe, though it had a narrow escape from a stupid woman's loose dog.

A Mandarin drake preened his elaborate plumage at the Lido.

The pair that I thought were nesting have turned up, and were at the other end of the Lido.

A pair of Great Crested Grebes bobbed up and down in the waves.

The Coot chicks in the Italian Garden were sheltering in the nest ...

... though they came out when a parent visited with food.

A floral tribute on the railings at Peter Pan. The can of Pepsi is unopened, so it's grave goods. Perhaps this is for the Chinese student Anthony Sho, who drowned in the lake several years ago.


  1. Hi Ralph, it is nothing short of a miracle that the little Egyptian gosling is still with us..I have a real soft spot for them....very sad to hear that a student drowned in the lake, we have regular drownings in the river dee....I see people are still behaving badly with their dogs, same with dogs and squirrels if I remember ....I still.must send you some barn owl pics...regards,stephen..

    1. I think the behaviour of dog owners is likely to get worse rather than better. The culprits are almost always women who have dogs because they are easier and cheaper than babies, and treat their pets like the babies they should have had. Before World War II the behaviour of dog owners was so orderly that sheep could be used to keep the grass short -- the shepherd had a cottage in what is still called Shepherd Market. Imagine what would happen now.

  2. I don't know why I thought of santería when looking at the picture with the flowers and the unopened Pepsi can. It looks like something practitioners would leave for an orixá: by a water course, unopened sugary foodstuff, and flowers. It's missing a cigar though.

    1. That's not impossible considering the ethnic makeup of London, and perhaps the orixás have given up smoking like everyone else (or the cigar was stolen). In that case, thank goodness the offering didn't include a sacrificed animal.

  3. Lovely getting the Willow Warbler. No doubt just passing through as I don't think they breed in London anymore. I keep missing them, but quite a few been reported. I've just had my first local Whitethroat as I finished my BBS survey.

    1. I've found a Willow Warbler in exactly this place in several years, whatever that signifies.

  4. Hi Ralph, I have noticed a few reports of Redstarts at Hyde Park on eBird, do you have any further info on them?

    1. First I've heard of that. Must keep an ear out for one.

    2. There was one male pictured this morning at the southern end of Buck Hill. Also a singing Lesser Whitethroat reported on Buck Hill today.

    3. Thanks. I went all over the south end of Buck Hill, but sadly the Redstart seemed to have moved elsewhere.