Monday 2 December 2013

Every time I visit the Tawny Owls on their beech tree they seem to be a little closer together. Today they were actually touching. The one in the foreground is the female, and you can see the wings and tail of the male who is sitting on top of the main branch next to her.

I don't know whether this is a sign that two fierce birds are gradually coming to be fonder of each other as the nesting season approaches -- it might be pure chance, and anyway they have had more than a decade as mates and ought to be fairly easy with each other by now. But at other times of year they usually perch well apart from each other. During nesting the female is completely dependent on the male to bring her and the owlets food. She emerges briefly once a day for a drink of water -- I wonder how the owlets cope with this, as they can't come out at all until they are beginning to be airworthy.

The female Little Owl was flying about restlessly in her chestnut tree, but paused for a few moments so I could get a picture of her.

Dusk was approaching, and probably she wanted me to go away so that she could start hunting on the ground. Little Owls have relatively long legs and can run fast after their insect prey.

On this mild day a Mistle Thrush was singing unseasonably in a tree near the Serpentine Gallery. And on the Long Water a pair of Great Crested Grebes made a rather half-hearted attempt at their courtship dance with bits of weed -- they were too far away for a good picture.

On the edge of the Serpentine two Black-Headed Gulls were performing their curious display in which they trot around with their wings akimbo jeering at each other.

This is certainly a display of rivalry rather than affection, as it ended in a scuffle.

A Cormorant tried to scramble on to one of the posts near the island. It fell off and swam to the next post, where it tried again and this time just managed to climb on.


  1. It seems very clear to me that the black headed gulls are doing the Lambeth Walk! You go, gulls!

  2. How could I have been so silly as not to notice? (If mystified, see picture here).

  3. Congratulations on getting such a good sighting and PHOTO of the femal Little Owl. You must be pleased.
    I have just been to a small but inspiring exhibition of the work of a contemporary Greek iconographer. Ground breaking. I must get back to painting again before I completely lose my nerve