Saturday 16 March 2013

A wide search over the Tawny Owls' area failed to reveal any owlets, though of course they could be anywhere in a circle half a mile across, in which there are thousands of trees. Will keep searching. If the owls have kept to their usual schedule, this is the time they should be bringing the family out.

The Great Crested Grebes' nest under the willow tree near the Serpentine Bridge is now occupied.

They haven't laid any eggs yet, as I was able to see when the sitting bird stood up. You can get an adequate view of this nest from the parapet of the bridge, but the willow twigs will burst into leaf soon and it will impossible to see anything from the bridge, the path or the other side of the lake.

Another pair of Great Crested Grebes were searching for a nest site along the edge of the Serpentine island. There is no really good place on the whole island; even the overhanging bushes at the east end are in water that is too shallow to prevent raids by Grey Herons. More overhanging trees and bushes would be a help here.

A flock of Long-Tailed Tits landed in an alder tree near the Queen's Temple. Here one of them takes a moment to preen itself before setting off again on the endless bug hunt.

Near the owls' tree, Charlie the Carrion Crow turned up with as much of a discarded sandwich as he could carry.

Crows often cache the food they find, which is a good idea with durable nuts but not so good for a sandwich.

There is a small encampment of Common Gulls at the southwest corner of the Round Pond. Here are six of them. The two on the right of the picture, flanked by Black-Headed Gulls, are second-year birds beginning to grow their adult light grey feathers. All of them will be leaving soon for their breeding grounds.

There are more rabbits on the east side of the Vista, including four young ones. Sadly, the park people plan to mess this area up. There are notices announcing a crazy 'improvement': a spiked fence all around the Henry Moore sculpture -- although access to it is already barred by the spiked fence along the edge of the path. The enclosure will be planted with flowers.  I don't like Henry Moore's sculpture, but there is no doubt that he intended his works to be sited on open grassland such as the bleak Yorkshire moors, not in a tacky little box of railings.

They will also be putting in extra drains here, although it is the west side of the Vista, not this side, which is a permanent swamp and really needs something done about drainage. The  park management's obsession with structures and barriers is really out of control. They are also digging up the place where the path from Queen's Gate crosses the Flower Walk to lay some kind of ornamental paving to 'emphasise' the crossing. This is right next to the area that is constantly vandalised with hideous giant marquees for commercial exhibitions, and is now permanently lost to the public.


  1. Thanks for pointing out the parakeet hole in the plane tree yesterday. I stopped to have a look today and the behaviour quite mystified me. Parakeet 1 perched on a branch was approached by P2. They sat together happily for a while before P2 flew up to the hole and poked its head inside. It wiggled about a bit then returned to P1 and indulged in a lengthy beak to beak episode (exchanging food?). P2 then flew into the hole and disappeared from view. Meanwhile P3 who had been observing from a distance flew down and snuggled up to P1 without objection. I was then distracted by a lady from Prague intrigued by the presence of "parrots" in a city park so I don't know what happened next.

    Later near the pumping station there was a bird with nondescript plumage, apart from a brilliant red top mohican, worrying the grass very much like a starling would do - a woodpecker?

    1. That'a normal behaviour for a pair of Ring-Necked Parakeets that are just settling down into nesting.

      Do you think the other bird you saw could have been a Green Woodpecker? Apart from the red top they are noticeably green, so I wouldn't describe the plumage as 'nondescript'. Also, they are fairly large as woodpeckers go. Can't think offhand of what else it might have been.

    2. Thanks. Yes, spot on. I've searched for green woodpecker pictures and the less spectacular of them look very much like the bird I saw.