Wednesday 15 January 2014

The number of Shovellers is increasing. Today there were at least 50 on the Long Water, plus a few stragglers on the Serpentine. At the moment they are still hanging around aimlessly in a loose group, but there are now enough for them to begin one of their grand circular processions, which will provide a much better photograph than this boring shot of some of them.

The Jackdaws were visible again today. The most that anyone has seen is four -- at least so far. Here one of them has found a pale grub under a tree near the Speke obelisk.

Two Little Grebes have been seen together on the Long Water, and may well have both been present for months. But they haven't been calling to each other, which would have shown that there was more than one. Theoretically they remain silent in winter, but in previous years they have been quite audible at this time, and all the year round.

As well as the black-faced Mute Swan on the lake, there is another one with unusual markings. The black part of its face has missing areas of black pigment, so that it is patchy black and pink. The swan seems to be perfectly healthy.

Some Pied Wagtails were running around the edge of the Round Pond.

Suddenly one of them uttered a plaintive squeak and rushed under a bench. It had spotted a Sparrowhawk passing overhead.

The Tawny Owl was in his usual place, looking superb as usual.

After yesterday's guide to the Tawny Owls' tree, here is one to the Little Owls' tree, though it is harder to show in a picture. This shot was taken from the path at the southeast corner of the leaf yard -- that is, 50 yards south of the Peter Pan statue. Here there is one of the very old and tatty sweet chestnut trees planted in 1690, which you can see in the foreground. An irregular line of old chestnut trees extends up the hill. Seen from this viewpoint, the second one is in front of the Queen's Temple (note the blue canvas, I think that metal thieves have stolen the lead off the apse). The third tree, up the hill to the right, is the Little Owls' tree. It has a bramble patch around its base.

At present the only times the Little Owls are visible are at dawn and dusk, when they come out to hunt. The cold weather has stopped them from coming out to sunbathe, as they were doing earlier.


  1. NI birder again. I saw two jackdaws on Monday in a very obvious dead tree near the Speke Monument. Looked like they were investigating a nest site

    1. There's a hole in one of those trees near the obelisk that seems to interest them -- well, two of them, I suppose. Jackdaws used to be common in the park till a few decades ago. Perhaps the growing Carrion Crow population pushed them out. Hope they manage to come back permanently.

  2. Thank you very much for both of these guides. I do not need one for the Tawnies any more but it will be a useful reference if I need to teach anyone else - at a distance.