Wednesday, 19 June 2013

The Tawny Owls appeared again, in the next horse chestnut tree to the north of their nest tree. It is remarkable luck to be able to see them at all in the middle of June. Only the adults were visible, though probably the young owls were not far away. Here the female stretches out a foot, possibly in a gesture telling me to go away and leave her in peace.

There was no sign of the Little Owl, despite the warm sunshine. This was because a Carrion Crow was sitting threateningly on the end of his usual branch. The Tawny Owls had also been having to put up with scolding by Crows, Magpies and Jays -- which is how they came to our notice, of course.

The very visible Coots' nest on the post near Peter Pan has become quite an attraction for visitors. Several people exclaimed in amazement as they manoeuvred their latest decorative addition into place, a McCoy's crisp packet whose shiny gold bits appealed to their taste.

On the edge of the leaf yard, a young Robin was preening its speckled juvenile plumage.

The pair of Song Thrushes between the Serpentine Gallery and the bridge are daily becoming more imperturbable. You can go up and more or less poke a camera in their faces, and they just stare at you.

The pair of Common Terns are still on the Long Water, and the female is still sitting on her post expcting the male to bring her fish. He didn't seem to be catching as many as on previous days, but it seems unlikely that two birds could eat their way through the fish stock, so probably the fish had just moved into the shade on a sunny day. After a while he gave up trying and sat on a post and preened himself.

The Reed Warblers are still singing on both the Long Water and the Serpentine, and the House Martins were putting up a good show at the east end of the lake.


  1. Could you remind me of the location of the Little Owls' tree? I think it's one of the 2 Sweet Chestnuts near the leafyard (that look rather derelict until fully in leaf)- but which one? Might have been craning my neck at the wrong one. I would presume he sits rather high up? Thanks.

    1. It's always hard to describe the position of a tree; the best way I can do it is as follows. Starting at the Serpentine bridge, walk northwards up the west side of the Long Water as if you were going to the Peter Pan statue. When you get to the corner of the shrubbery which contains Peter Pan, but you are still 50 yards short of the statue, you will see an old broken-down sweet chestnut tree just a few feet from the railings. Look back over your left shoulder to the next sweet chestnut, which is next to a fork in the path. From here, look up the hill to a third sweet chestnut. This is the tree in which the Little Owls are nesting. The branch in which the male owl usually sits is on the far side of the tree from your viewpoint, branching horizontally off the broken trunk about 15 ft from the top. His usual perches on this branch cn be seen from the west side of the tree. The Little Owl is more likely to be out on his branch if the sun is shining , and is also more likely to be seen early in the morning than later. However, he pops in and out at unpredictable times. If you miss him once, try again later.