Friday, 27 May 2011


Holland Park, with its woodland area that is as near to rus in urbe as anything in London, is surely the most rewarding of all the city's large parks, constantly coming up with unexpected delights. Today, on my way to visit the pigs - they're thriving and send their best regards - I was greatly cheered by the sight of two male Blackcaps flitting about on the fence that encloses the pigs' former territory (now a riot of poppies, foxgloves and campion). These pretty, plump warblers are always a pleasing sight, and they're increasingly common now that many of them are overwintering here instead of flying south. The females have a beautiful chestnut cap, but the male's is a black cap indeed - very black and very much a cap, pulled down almost over the eyes. While so many of our warblers come in indistinguishable shades of pale brown, the Blackcap makes a welcome change for the amateur bird-spotter - an instantly identifiable warbler!

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