Sunday, 20 March 2016

A tree near the bridge had on it at the same time a Treecreeper preening ...

... a Goldcrest probing a hole for insects ...

... and a Wren taking a momentary rest during its hunting.

The Green Woodpecker was in exactly the same place on Buck Hill, and still calm about being photographed, though it gave me a sharp look over its shoulder.

A Wood Pigeon was drinking in the little pool at the top of the waterfall in the Dell.

The Black Swan was back with girlfriend number one. He seems to have settled down with her, and really we can stop calling her 'number one', because her sister has been finally dumped.

Just up the shore of the Serpentine, a pair of Greylags were displaying. They will have to find a very secluded nest site to escape the park keepers, who are trying to keep their numbers down by pricking their eggs.

The Great Crested Grebes' nest on the end of the raft gets washed away every time there is more than a gentle wind. But they are still attached to this site, and in fact it would do as a nest without any additions.

Possibly, when the time is ripe for breeding properly, which for grebes on this lake is midsummer, they will manage to raise young here. The fence will have some effect in keeping away swooping gulls. They would do much better inside the netting around the nearby reed bed, but as far as I know only one pair of grebes has ever had this simple idea.

This Common Gull is less than a year old, but is beginning to grow grey adult feathers on its back.

A brief sunny spell brought one of the Little Owls out of the hole in the oak tree near the Albert Memorial.

But by the time I got round the lake to the lime tree near the Henry Moore, gloom had set in again.


  1. Just how many greylags do Her Majesty's foot-soldiers deem to be sufficient her subjects wish to know?

    1. There are up to 400 in midwinter during frosty weather, whether the park people like it or not. Many of our resident Greylags commute between the lake and the river.

  2. Hello, love the photos. I am in London today and tomorrow and would love to see the little owl and the woodpecker. I will take my 6 y/o to the Science Museum at 10 and plan to scann the Albert Memorial before then (9ish).

    Would you be around by any chance?


    1. No, sorry, I shan't be in the park till about 11.30 tomorrow. But 9 is a good time to see the Little Owl in the oak tree. Here again are the directions for finding all the Little Owls. Although number one is not coming out much at the moment, he is more likely to be out early than in the middle of the day. The other have no schedule at all.

      Little Owls 1
      The pair are in a tree near the leaf yard, which is the railed enclosure that has the Peter Pan statue on the east side. The tree is an old, very broken sweet chestnut 50 yards from the middle of the south side of the yard, and it has brambles around its base. View it from the west side. On the left of the trunk, the second thick branch from the bottom has two horizontal slits in it next to the trunk. The upper one is the entrance to the owls' hole.

      Little Owls 2
      From the Albert Memorial, walk north towards the statue of Physical Energy. When the path intersects the bicycle track, turn left and walk along the track for 50 yards, to the next path that crosses it. Right on the near left corner of the crossing is a big oak tree. Look left for a nearby plane tree. Between these two trees is another oak tree, and the owls' hole is in this. Stand under the plane tree and look at this oak. The hole is in a big branch sticking out the right hand side a little above horizontally -- a large round hole in a large round bulge in the branch.

      Little Owls 3
      You will need binoculars. Go to the southeast corner of the square enclosure around the sculpture -- that is, the corner on the path nearest to the bridge. Look up the hill to the old brick buildings on the left of the Magazine. One of them has a chimney. The Little Owls' tree is directly in front of that, and the hole is in the left fork of this Y-shaped tree. It's maybe 60 yards up the hill from the path. Don't step off the path when looking: any movement towards the owl makes it dive into its hole.

    2. Thanks a lot for the directions. I will definitely give it a go tomorrow (I do have binocs ;)

  3. Why do the park keepers prick the Greylags' eggs, is it because they foul the grass? Are they doing it to all the "geese" then - unsurprisingly it's said to be a downside of Egyptian Geese as well as the Canada. Jim n.L.

    1. It is the business of park keepers to interfere with Nature. They try to keep the numbers of Greylags and Canadas down, but can do nothing against Egyptians, which nest secretly and safely up trees.

  4. Is that why there are so many Egyptians in the park these days? Surely by doing this the park keepers are artificially giving an unfair advantage to the Egyptians?