Dave Dawson’s natural history notes for 23rd April 2016:-

Continuing the story of the waterweed eaters, the 50 Mute Swans were the highest March count for the last 30 years and the 45 Coots were below last year’s total of 75, but remain substantially above all previous March counts. So, the waterweed eaters seem still to be doing well. The wintering gulls had departed, all that is except for a single Black-headed Gull on the lake. Only 17 Canada Geese were seen, an unusually low count even for March, which is when they are leaving elsewhere to breed. Time will tell whether this reflects a trend.

Resident songbirds were in full song: Dunnocks, Great Tits, House Sparrows, Robins and Wrens. There were still Stock Doves and Song Thrushes singing in Ashen Grove and Horse Close Woods, and also a thrush in the north of the Golf Course. An early Spring migrant was a Chiffchaff singing at the north-east corner of the running track, an unlikely place to breed, so this is perhaps a bird stopping off for a pause before continuing north on migration. A single Kestrel seen on the ground in front of the stadium was the first seen in the park since 2000. Their decline here, as elsewhere in London, coincided with the arrival of the Sparrowhawk in the 1990s.

Blackthorn, Lesser Celandine, Sweet Violet, planted Daffodils and the first bluebells were in flower. The Dog’s Mercury had both flowers and fruit. April will be the time to enjoy the bluebell path in the wood. Elders were in full leaf, Hawthorns, Elms and Hazels were leafing up and buds were beginning to break on Horse Chestnut and Oak. A few Ash flower buds were opening.

The Lake was at the highest level seen over the last 16 months, following storm Katie, and the overflow to the lake was roaring. There was little fallen wood, but much debris over the path on top of the dam, showing that waves had been throwing material there during the storm. The waterfall was not flowing, perhaps because debris had blocked the input pipe?