Thursday 16 October 2014

Both the Little Owls were out in their nest tree today, sitting a few feet apart but too far away for a good shot of the pair. So here is the male, who was preening himself ...

... and the female, who tolerated our intrusion quite well for once and did not fly away.

The male Tawny Owl was also in his nest tree, troubled by flies landing on him. Occasionally he would shake them off, but they would return in a few seconds, attracted by the warmth.

There were two different wagtails in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, looking for insects on the old limestone pavement. This is a Pied Wagtail ...

... and this is a Grey Wagtail, which has has just caught something.

Coal Tits have been rather hard to see this year, with none coming to be fed beside the leaf yard. You could only hear their distinctive iambic song, which continued right to the end of September. So it was a surprise to find a pair leaping around in the trees near the Lido. They were too high up for a good picture, but I am publishing this one just because I was glad to see them.

The Little Grebe was still on the Round Pond, fishing busily in the middle. On the wooden platform that is the grebe's usual haunt, a Black-Headed Gull was eating chunks of watermelon with evident enjoyment.

Its meal was interrupted by a pair of Canada Geese which drove it off and finished the watermelon themselves. This fruit got a much better reception than the salad I photographed a few days ago, which gulls and geese both tried but didn't eat. Perhaps the vinegar in the dressing put them off.

A Cormorant was fishing inside the semicircular wall under the marble fountain the the Italian Garden. It was fairly hauling out perch. Here it tosses one to turn it round, because a perch's spiny dorsal fin obliges even a Cormorant to swallow it head first.


  1. I i still look out for sparrows but always in vain. I thought with our excellent weather this summer they may have shown up. Will they ever return? Sue

    1. I think they are slowly advancing again. They are already back in North Kensington, for example.

    2. That's so good to know. Thank you. Sue

  2. Hello this is on the subject of the Egyptian gos/ducklings (I have been calling them goslings but now know better!) I haven't been to Hyde/Kensington since September but work very close to Regents Park and there is also a family of eight young there. I think they're up to three weeks old now and seem to be thriving. They must have good parents and having got this far I think will probably get them to adolescence at least, at least if it doesn't suddenly get very cold. I got very disspirited after reading your blog once, when I had been to Hyde/Ken really trying hard to see hobbies, owls and wagtails, and not even managing on that occasion to see a grebe. And then reading your entry for the day and you'd seen a sparrowhawk harrassing a hobby! But still great to know what is there. Mischa Borris

  3. Thanks for the information. Egyptian Geese, being native to Africa, have no idea of the northern seasons and tend to breed at odd times.

    As for seeing things, it's just luck and persistence. I miss a lot, and at the moment am often failing to identify small birds flying overhead that might be exciting autumn migrants, but are just too far away to recognise.