Monday 8 April 2013

About 15 Waxwings were flying around in the tall Lombardy poplars at the west side of the Vista.

Although they have often been seen in various parts of London this year, they seldom visit the park, and this is the first time I have seen them here.

After yesterday's attack, the Tawny Owls had sensibly moved their young into cover. This owlet was in the big California bay tree in the Flower Walk.

The Little Owl was visble again this morning, as usual in the second sweet chestnut tree west of the path, where we suppose that his mate is on her nest. We may get a better view of the proceedings last year, though the male owl is still a bit nervous after being attacked last year. If you approach nearer than 50 yards he retreats into his tree.

There are still over 20 Redwings among the trees at the south end of the Parade Ground near the bandstand, and the Northern Wheatear was a couple of hundred yards to the north of them, flying around among the trucks and tractors and perching on the plastic mesh fencing put up to keep people off the new grass.

The Great Crested Grebes nesting in the willow tree near the bridge are now well established and I saw them mating. Unlike most birds they take their time with this, and it is clear that both enjoy it. Sorry about the low quality of this photograph, taken through a lot of twigs and budding leaves.

Several Chaffinches were singing loudly in Kensington Gardens. After this one had finished, he flew down and ate a surprising quantity of pine nuts off my hand.

Other singing birds include several Goldcrests -- there is one at each end of the bridge -- Treecreepers between the leaf yard and the Tawny Owls' nest tree, Chiffchaff on the edge of the Long Water, and a Coal Tit in the Flower Walk.


  1. On Saturday evening both Little Owls were visible. The male (I presume) came out and perched for a few minutes and then flew between a couple of nearby trees briefly, and the female poked her head out for a minute or two and looked around before going back in. This was about 7.30pm-ish.

  2. Excellent news. Last year we were never sure whether they got around to nesting properly, and no one saw any young. Good luck to them this year.

  3. Hello,

    Could you possibly tell me where the best place to find the Little Owl is please? I notice you mention the leaf yard in previous posts, but I can't find this on the Hyde Park map.

    Many thanks,


    1. The leaf yard is a fenced enclosure in Kensington Gardens on the west side of the Long Water. The statue of Peter Pan is on its east side where it faces the lake. To find the Little Owls' tree, starting at Peter Pan, walk south (towards the bridge) along the lakeside path. When you get to the place where the railings turn right, away from the path, look ahead. Almost directly in front of you, less than 50 yards away, you will see a very broken-down sweet chestnut tree, part of the original planting of 1690. This is where the Little Owls nested last year. Here it is in Google Maps:
      The picture shows it in summer, fully leafed. When it is bare it looks very tatty indeed, almost dead.

      The next old sweet chestnut tree in a line towards Kensington Palace (roughly westwards) is where the Little Owls are now. This tree is obscured in the Google image but easy to see on the ground -- it is simply the nearest sweet chestnut in that direction.

      The leaf yard is so called because it's where the gardeners put the autumn leaves and let them rot into leafmould. It's surrounded by a band of shrubbery to conceal the dump.

    2. Lovely thank you, I will give that a go this afternoon!

  4. Isn't the female G-C-G the particularly dark individual who you mentioned a while back?

    1. I think the very dark appearance here is a trick of the light, but will check again. I also think that the lower grebe in this picture is the male (and that the very dark grebe is also male; males are generally more heavily built). Grebes are very vague about what sex they are, and take turns to go on top, at least until one of them starts laying eggs, which temporarily reminds them which one is female.