Sunday, 12 June 2016

The Little Owl near the Albert Memorial was out again, sheltering from the morning rain in the hole in the oak tree.

At the chestnut trees by the leaf yard, one owlet was calling from the nest tree and the other from the next tree up the hill. The one in the nest tree came right out in the open.

This attracted the attention of a Magpie, which chased the owlet into the leaves, only to find itself face to face with the furious father. The owl won this contest, and the Magpie flew away.

This picture shows you how small Little Owls are.

The rain pleased the Blackbirds, and males were singing loudly all over the park. This one on the east side of the Long Water had found some small squidgy invertebrate, maybe a small slug, to give his nestlings.

Trying to get a better picture, I came too near and he fled into a bramble patch, where I could hear the calls of nestlings. So now I know where the nest is. Luckily there seemed to be no Magpie watching -- though you can never tell with these acutely observant birds.

A Wren was also collecting food for its young, just along the path.

One of the Reed Warblers in the reed bed near the Diana fountain perched on a stem for just long enough to allow a quick picture.

The Black Swan is still in the same place near the bridge, and was preening his regrowing wings.

Jorgen says that his girlfriend is still with him, but has now gone so white that she is hard to distinguish from the other Mute Swans. One of the swans near him seemed familiar, judging mainly by its hulking size, but I'm not sure.

Jorgen also has an explanation for why the Greylag Geese on the Serpentine had seven goslings one day and nine the next. He was watching them when the gun salute for the Queen's birthday was fired, and this sent the Greylags into a panic and they scattered in all directions. When they regrouped they were mis-sorted. The Canadas and Egyptians did not panic. Possibly Greylags, which have been hunted for centuries, have evolved a fear of explosions. The species was all but wiped out in England, and had to be reintroduced from Scotland.

The Greylag broods were still nine, four and three. They were all just east of the Lido. Here are the nine all in a heap.

Soon they decided to try to shelter under their mother's right wing.

Blondie's young were also in a little heap.

She was preening herself a few feet away, then forgot about them and wandered off. It is amazing that three have survived.

The Bar-Headed Goose is still here. I hadn't seen it for several days, in the mass of Greylags that have come to the Serpentine to moult during June.

The Mandarin duckling was with its mother near the bridge as usual. It is taking on quite an adult appearance, and its flight feathers are growing well.


  1. The goslings 'heaps' are so lovely - what delightful photos. Mum trying to get 9 Greylag goslings under her wing is also quite a sight! Thank you.

  2. Hi there, I recently discovered your blog and think it is quite wonderful. I shall have to try to find the black swan as I've never seen it before. I live very close to the park and try to visit often. My children like to feed the parakeets and small birds such as robins and what I think may be great tits. Is there any way to search your blog to look for pictures of particular species?
    Am also loving the owlet pictures and the ducklings. We visited a friend who also lives near the park who, for the second year running, has had a duck lay her eggs in a window box and then abandon them. There are six ducklings being hand reared, they are adorable.
    Thanks for the lovely pictures and sorry for this rambling message!

    1. Thank you. Yes, you can search this blog for any word. The search box is at the left of the grey bar at the top of the window. The search is for exact words, so 'owl', 'owls', 'owlet' etc. have to searched for separately. Some browser add-ons, such as Ghostery, hide the grey bar; in this case, whitelist the site and the bar will reappear.

    2. Aha, I've got it now. Thank you. Although I am disturbed to read of the crow killing a parakeet!
      Will look for the owls later as I have to go through the park. Thanks again.

  3. thank you so much Ralph for this wonderful detailed blog i was actually looking for some birding spot in London and here i have everything with bird list :)

  4. Thank you. If you want some more unusual species near London, I recommend Rainham Marshes, a few minutes' train ride from Fenchurch Street station in the City. See this page.