Thursday, 14 July 2016

The third family of Little Owls, on Buck Hill above the Henry Moore sculpture, haven't been heard or seen for some time. But today as I was going past I heard an owlet calling from a tall lime tree just to the north of the one with the nest hole. I couldn't see the owlet in the thick leaves, but its father was out on a branch.

The Little owlets near the Albert Memorial were also calling, and one of them was visible in a horse chestnut tree a few yards southwest of the nest tree.

A young Blackbird was calling from under a bush in the Dell.

Its father found a worm for it under the railings.

This rather drab bird is a year-old male. It takes them a while to develop their smart yellow bill and eye ring.

There was also a young Robin in the bushes, still with the spotted juvenile plumage that makes them look like miniature thrushes -- and indeed like the young Blackbird above.

In fact the Chat group to which Robins belong is classed with the larger thrushes in the family Turdidae.

More young birds: one of the recently fledged Grey Herons was on the shore of the island playing with a stick, picking it up and dropping it.

I haven't seen a heron playing before, but play seems to be part of the development of all predators, preparing them for later life.

The young Grey Wagtail was jumping around the little waterfall in the Dell.

There isn't much water going over this fall at the moment, as the filter in the outflow of the Serpentine is partly blocked and needs cleaning out.

In the goose nursery on the south side of the Serpentine, a Greylag gosling was washing and flapping its little wings.

The Great Crested Grebes nesting in the reeds on the Long Water have eggs. I could see three.

The Coot nest built in the middle of the Long Water has collapsed, as it was bound to do eventually -- it was only attached to a few small submerged sticks. It was only moderately windy yesterday, but the direction of the wind allowed the normally calm Long Water to become ruffled, and this is the result. The Coots were industriously repairing it.

The Black Swan was cruising up and down the Serpentine, calling from time to time. I think he had mislaid his girlfriend.

There was a Small Tortoiseshell butterfly (Aglais urticae) on a thistle in the scrub on the west side of the Long Water.

These areas in Kensington Gardens have been allowed to become remarkably overgrown this year, and some of the nettles are eight feet tall. It's good for birds and butterflies, though people are getting caught on brambles protruding several feet through the railings.


  1. I was a drab bird at one year old!


    Could I ask for your attendance here for a few moments of your time:

    A comment would be great.

    1. Birds have the sensible procedure of starting grey, and getting it over quickly. Have commented under own name, but of course there's moderation.

  2. Tons of lovely youngsters today. The young Blackbird and the Robin take the prize today though: glory be to God for dappled things!

    Did the Black Swan find the Girlfriend?

    1. No, when I left him he'd got as far as the bridge and started back on the other side of the lake. The other swans were scattered everywhere.

    2. Two days ago he was trying to impress her by chasing the lone cygnet. After several minutes of distress calls an adult mute came charging along with wings raised but it turned out it was only interested in challenging the black swan and not protecting the cygnet and the black swan went back to bullying the youngster, which scurried off into the middle of the lake still crying. Can I take a bad parenting order out against its parent?

    3. It is a sad fact that swans are not nice to each other, and there is nothing we can do about it.