Saturday 25 October 2014

There are at least six Jackdaws in the park, so it seems that they must have bred successfully after their arrival earlier this year. Two of them were near the Tawny Owls' tree, and the other four were in the Diana fountain enclosure picking up grubs and worms in the grass. Here one of them has found an insect larva.

Another welcome return: the Black-Headed Gull with the ring number EY09813 has arrived back on the Long Water. It was perched on its favourite post at the Vista, and flew over straight to me and caught pieces of biscuit thrown up in the air.

This bird was ringed as an adult by Roy Sanderson on 18 January 2012, and has come to Kensington Gardens every winter since.

The Egyptian Geese at the Round still have their eight young. They were on the edge of the water and weekend visitors were giving them bread, which is very bad for them and can cause the growing birds to develop 'angel wing'. The pond has notices telling people not to do this, but they are too small and it is really a lost cause.

Two Great Crested Grebes were fishing over the wire baskets near the Serpentine bridge. They caught several medium-sized perch. Here one of them shoots past the other under water.

A single Mistle Thrush was perched in a rowan tree on Buck Hill. It showed no inclination to pick the berries. Maybe it had already had a lot, and was full.

A flock of Long-Tailed Tits and other tits flew past Peter Pan. When a Long-Tailed Tit looks straight at you its face looks almost like that of a tiny owl, because of its very frontally set eyes.

These must help them in their headlong flight through the twigs, though the birds are so tiny that they can't have much depth perception. Even Little Owls, much larger than tits, have to bob their heads from side to side to get a good impression of depth.

The male Little Owl was in the chestnut tree next to his nest tree.

The male Tawny Owl was in the beech tree next to his own nest tree for most of the day, but moved to the top of the nest tree in the middle of the afternoon.


  1. Did you have to cover your eyes to get that close to the jackdaw?

    On another point, the Corporation of London has jolly illustrated signs at its managed park ponds warning people not to feed the ducks bread, instead to try lettuce or seeds and "see how much they like it!" So I tried lettuce one day. The coots loved it, the moorhens were lukewarm or distracted in a dispute. Just one duck liked it lukewarmly, and despite her and the coots' example, a large number of other ducks wouldn't touch it. Aw! Jim n.L.

    1. Yes, I walked up to it with the camera in front of my face.

      Afraid that the park birds are spoilt beyond redemption. But it was a noble experiment.

  2. Johanna van de Woestijne26 October 2014 at 21:47

    I love the thrush with the berries. Very festive. Altogether again a lovely series of photos. About the food for birds, do you think people would be inclined to buy suitable bird food if it were offered for sale within the park near the bird feeding areas? The San Francisco petting zoo had a one armed bandit that ran on quarters and would dispense small bags of suitable food, which the kids could feed to the goats in the petting zoo. It was great fun and kept the goats in good food supply.

    1. It's a lovely idea. But the only places where anything could be sold are quite a long way from the main bird feeding area at the leaf yard. There is a snack stall, open only in summer, near the Flower Walk, but it's harder to feed the birds here if they don't know you. Also, I'm concerned that if any sale of bird feeding stuff went ahead, parents might buy packs for their barbaric children who would try to grab the birds, and the whole feeding operation would be wrecked.