Sunday, 23 March 2014

During a sunny spell, one of the original pair of Little Owls made a brief appearance on the usual chestnut tree near the leaf yard. Here he contemplates a passing fly, of which there are already a fair number after the mild spell.

Not long afterwards a heavy black cloud rolled over and he retired into his tree before hail started to fall.

I still can't find the Tawny Owls, and as far as I know no one else has.

The Mute Swans near the Italian Garden still have only one egg, but at least they are looking after it properly. It was covered with reed stems while the female went off to feed, and when she returned she uncovered it before settling down on the nest.

A pair of Ring-Necked Parakeets, having found a nest hole in an old chestnut tree near the leaf yard, were mating on a branch.

Carrion Crows are also nesting. Someone had been combing a very hairy beige dog on a bench near the Italian Garden, and there was hair all over the path. A crow came and gathered as much as it could carry.

I was reminded of the lines in that sardonic Scots ballad 'The Twa Corbies', where one of the ravens says,
Wi' ae lock o' his gowden hair
We'll theek our nest when it grows bare.

The male of the pair of Mistle Thrushes that feed on the Parade Ground was singing at the top of a plane tree.

There was a motley crowd of birds on the wire baskets around the Serpentine island. Here a young Herring Gull states balefully at a huddled pair of Mallards while Moorhens climb around in the background.

Update: the male Tawny Owl was seen in his usual place at 5.15 pm. It is not clear what this means: last year he remained in this place for several days after the female had gone off with four owlets, because he was looking after a fifth one that was still unable to fly.


  1. The tawny owl was sitting on his usual perch at about 5.15pm.
    Sue Turnbull

    1. Thanks, that's very interesting. He did that last year after four owlets came out and went several hundred yards away to the Flower Walk, because he was guarding a fifth owlet in the nest still unable to fly. But really one can only make a wild guess at what's going on.

  2. Hi Ralph, I love your blog! It's the only one I check every day and I really enjoy reading it. I've been birdwatching for 25 years but keep learning new things about common birds from your posts. It has also inspired me to visit the parks more often as I work nearby. Do you mind me asking what camera you use? Also where is the leaf yard? Thank you James

    1. Thanks for your kind words. I use a Panasonic Lumix FZ200, adding a 1.7x teleconverter for long shots such as pictures of owls. The leaf yard is the enclosure that has the statue of Peter Pan on its east side. It's where they dump the dead leaves, but is ringed by a fairly extensive shrubbery to hide the dump.