Wednesday 10 October 2012

A Little Owl was heard calling a short way north of the Albert Memorial, more or less where the Tawny owlets were first seen this spring. It is not clear how many Little Owls there are in the park. When they first appeared at the beginning of April, they were heard and seen in three places some distance apart: just south of the leaf yard; in the southwest corner of Kensington Gardens near the Long Walk; and on the north edge of Kensington Gardens near Lancaster Gate. This could have been the same pair of owls moving around, both then and now, or there might really be three pairs. Also, last year when a Little Owl was seen in the park for the first time, it was in Hyde Park near the Bluebird boat hire cabin, and it flew away towards the garden of the Ranger's Lodge.

Today I saw a Pied Wagtail for the first time since the start of the Olympics and the destruction of the place where they usually congregate on the Parade Ground. It was on the roof of the Serpentine Gallery. A welcome return. I have often seen Pied Wagtails here: they like slate roofs, which harbour small insects in the narrow spaces between the slates.

The four young Great Crested Grebes from the nest near the bridge have started fishing for themselves, though without great success at the moment. I watched them investigating a place near the bridge where their parents have been hauling up fish without much effort for several days. This young bird had dredged up something, though it looks more like a bit of twig than anything edible.

I went to the Round Pond to check on the late brood of Egyptian Geese. There are still nine. Here they are with some ever-hungry Starlings closing in on them to grab a few biscuit crumbs. Young as they are, they seem to be able to shove the Starlings aside.

A Jay was rooting around on the ground near the Dell, occasionally turning up some small creature. Their grey eyes give them a sharp, intelligent air, and in fact they are as bright as they look.

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