Tuesday, 17 June 2014

The Tawny owlets were again at the southwest corner of the leaf yard, flying from tree to tree calling loudly. They stayed in place just long enough to get pictures of two of them.

They are beginning to look more grown up.

The male Little Owl was sunbathing in his usual place, but no one could find the rest of the family.

When I was under their tree yesterday evening I found a half-grown young Carrion Crow stranded on the path, although it had no visible injuries. I moved it to a safer place and gave it some food and water, but when I passed by later it was dead, and this morning it had vanished. Now I wonder whether it might have been attacked by a Little Owl -- they are extremely fierce and punch well above their weight. Crows have already taken at least one Little owlet, so if I am right we are looking at a bitter blood feud.

More cheerfully, the newest brood of three Greylag goslings are all well, and here they are beside the Serpentine.

So are the two Mandarin ducklings, here seen on the Long Water at the Vista. They are now looking very like their mother (or mothers), but you can see that their wings are not yet fully developed.

A Great Crested Grebe fishing in a patch of weed near the Italian Garden came up so thickly covered with the stuff that it looked as if it was wearing a green overcoat.

This grebe had caught a very large roach near the bridge.

After several attempts, it finally managed to swallow its prey.

But that was not as big as the carp which had congregated near the outflow of the Serpentine. This one must weigh at least twenty pounds.


  1. Gripping stories and pictures today. I loved them. Thank you

  2. The dead crow I mentioned a couple of days ago had also disappeared when I checked the following day. I assumed a fox or some such had taken it - do they take carrion? It also showed little sign of injury. Two such incidents in the same vicinity does sound ominous. Would this be a first or have you come across such feuds before?

    1. No, I haven't, or even seen two dead crows in the same place. According to Heimo Mikkola's Owls of Europe, Little Owls have been known to raid the nests of Sparrowhawks and Kestrels, and take mammals up to the size of baby hares. They are pretty tough customers.

    2. In Kenwood a week ago I saw an extraordinary scene as at least two carrion crows were rolling around on the lawn in a 'cat fight' while a large flock of crows were gathered close around. I expected to see some prize prey at the centre of it all but there was not. Then suddenly time was called and every single one cleared away from the scene. I've seen a crow pin another down on its back before in the area, again both made it away.

      Last year in my parents' garden in north London a cat was seen chasing a crow it had apparently injured and we later saw presumably the same crow's corpse (head and wings at least) in one piece on the ground. About a day later, that had vanished, we presume to a fox which we know pass through. I see the same pattern re cats and pigeons, they kill them but leave most of the corpse lying there. I believe a fox would take away or cache whatever it could and never leave such a thing lying unfinished? Jim n.L.