Tuesday 14 January 2014

Some people still can't find the Tawny Owls' nest tree, so here is a guide.

This bench is on the west side of the path between the Physical Energy equestrian statue and the Speke obelisk. It is at exactly the halfway point between the two features; if you go to either of them you will be able to see the other. The owl tree is about 50 yards west of the bench, at the end of a small path trodden in the grass by the feet of many owl enthusiasts. It is a big horse chestnut tree leaning to the left (that is, to the south), with a distinctive broken trunk.

The male owl's favourite position at the moment is on the 'balcony' formed by a broken-off branch on the right side of the trunk as viewed from here, about 10 feet below the broken top of the trunk. He is so well camouflaged that he is quite difficult to see there, so here is a more distant shot than usual to give you an idea of the surroundings.

Sometimes he sits on top of the break in the trunk, where you can see him by looking in the direction that the camera is looking in the first picture.

Just behind the nest tree there is a beech tree with brambles around its base. The owls sometime spend the day here.

The small birds in the leaf yard were very hungry on a cold day, and arrived in flocks every time I went past the leaf yard. Two of the Nuthatches came down to take food from the top of the fence.

Nearby, a pair of Wood Pigeons were clearly in love.

But all this springtime activity will be put on hold fairly soon until the real spring arrives, and I hope it won't be like the miserable time we had last year, which disturbed almost all the birds' breding seasons.

A pair of Egyptian Geese settled in the Little Owls' chestnut tree, displaying noisily and probably upsetting the owls, who were nowhere to be seen. The iridescent wing coverts of these birds are green from one angle ...

... and purple-bronze from another.


  1. thanks Ralph for that useful guide to the owls neighbourhood.
    today i was delighted to see for the first time the little grebe thanks to your tips & i can see why you are so taken with it. it is a delightful dainty little thing & diving around the parapet of the italian garden. i had no idea it would be so small! thanks so much. a first spot for me. next...the kingfisher???
    Mark W2

  2. Thanks for the directions Ralph if the weather is good this weekend I will be there with my camera

    Chris H

  3. Thanks for the post. A friendly local took pity on me today and I finally ticked the owl and can get back to see it next time I'm in London. Next target is little owl which we don't get in Ireland either. I also ticked nuthatch and parakeet. ,( Northern Irish birder who was there around 0945).

    1. The Little Owls are difficult at the moment, only coming out of their tree at dawn and dusk -- in warmer weather they sunbathe during the day, but not now. At least I can tell you how to find the tree. This information is for those who don't know the park at all. Go to the bridge over the Serpentine. Walk northwards up the west side of the lake (the Long Water). After a couple of hundred yards you will find an area where the edge of the path is open to the water (the Vista). Go another 50 yards and you will reach a fenced shrubbery to the left of the path (the leaf yard). At this point you will be very near a broken-down old sweet chestnut tree. Look southwest from here to see another old sweet chestnut about 40 yards away. Look from this tree another 30 yards west to see a third old chestnut. This one has brambles round its base. This is the Little Owls' tree. If they are out you can usually see them from the west side of the tree, from a viewpoint under the edge of the fourth chestnut tree in the row which is almost adjacent to the third. They usually perch quite high up, often on the top left corner of the branches.