Sunday, 1 June 2014

A single Black-Headed Gull turned up on the Long Water today -- a very common sight in winter but unusual in June, when they should be away at their breeding grounds in northern Europe or on a British landfill site. Here it is on the farthest of the posts opposite Peter Pan, scratching its ear. It has already lost most of the dark brown feathers on its head that are its breeding plumage.

The Tawny Owl family had settled somewhere I couldn't find them. If they are not in their usual place and the owlets are not calling, it's next to impossible to find them.

However, when I was searching for them the pair of Goldfinches came over and the male started singing in a treetop, occasionally breaking off to take a bite out of a catkin. Here he stretches his wings shortly before flying away.

While I was still looking for the owls, standing still and looking at the tree through binoculars, a Red Admiral butterfly arrived. After flying around me it settled first on my hand, then on my shoulder. It's a shame that no one else was around to take a picture. Here it is on the much less exciting background of a stone.

The male Little Owl came out on to his usual branch on the chestnut tree.

On the Long Water, a pair of Coots in a nest with two chicks found the Mute Swan family coming too close for comfort, and sallied out to threaten them.

It did work, and the swans made a small detour around the nest.

A Blackbird was scolding something noisily in a tree near the Bayswater Road.

I wondered whether it might be the newly discovered family of Little Owls, which I have still not manage to see. But it turned out to be just a Carrion Crow.


  1. It's remarkable how insects such as butterflies, which must come with a fair deal of circuitry for recognising a larger animal, are sometimes so nervous of humans and sometimes so carefree. Separately, this is such a disappointing time of year as to what blackbirds can be found mobbing. They have to be so quick and persistent against corvids before any might pick up on the whereabouts of one of their gobby fledglings. Jim n.L.

  2. That is a great capture of the Blackbird "scolding" action. I can almost hear him.

  3. On saturday evening the Owlets were in the hornbeam close to the path and closest to the leafyard. I could only find them when they started hissing - which was around 9:15 PM.