Saturday 14 February 2015

More snowdrops are coming out all over the park. These are near the Italian Garden. A Blackbird with more practical things on its mind was hauling up a worm in the midst of them.

Although there was nothing remarkable to be found, it was a good day for seeing the ordinary small birds, with a Dunnock coming out on the lime tree near Kensington Palace where the feeders are hung ...

... a Nuthatch coming to take food from the railings of the leaf yard ...

... and a Wren in the shrubbery at the northeast corner of the bridge.

The young Grey Wagtail appeared briefly near the east end of the Serpentine, showing off its remarkably long tail.

This feature is not just ornamental. In summer, when the bird is chasing flying insects, it fans its tail feathers out widely to make sharp turns.

The Scaup is still on the Round Pond, having been in the park for more than a month.

It has been fascinating watching him change colour. You would never mistake him for a female Tufted Duck now.

Two visits to the oak tree behind the Albert Memorial didn't find the Little Owl. However, the Jackdaws are now well aware that I go past this spot regularly and fly in as soon as I arrive to demand peanuts.

The male Tawny Owl spent the whole day outside on his usual tree.


  1. I saw two herons nest-building on the island this afternoon. The male swooped onto the ground to find suitable twigs to take back to the female who arranged them. Is it likely to be serious or coot-like behaviour?

    1. The last two years, they have started building nests and then abandoned them. We can only watch and see what happens.

  2. Hi Ralph, last time I went to Kensington Gardens around round pond where lots of chestnut trees grow but didn't find tawny owl, can you tell me where exactly it inhabits? and what time of a day does it usually come out? Thank you :)

    1. Tawny Owl: find the path that runs between the statue of Physical Energy and the obelisk that is a monument to the explorer Speke. Exactly half way along it is a bench, on the west side of the path. From here, walk west (slightly to the right of right angles to the path) for 50 yards, to a tall horse chestnut tree with its trunk broken off about three quarters of the way up. This is the nest tree. The male Tawny Owl likes to sit in the broken top of the trunk. Either owl or both may be round the far side of the trunk about 10 ft lower, sitting in the scar of a broken-off branch which provides a kind of balcony for them. The female owl also likes the beech tree a few feet away from the nest tree, and you can see her by standing under the nest tree and looking up at the beech. Her preferred perch is on a branch near the top of the tree, which from your viewpoint is directly in line from the trunk; she sits on a twig coming out of the right side of this branch.

      Little Owl: start at the leaf yard, the fenced enclosure with the statue of Peter Pan on its east side. At the southeast corner of this enclosure there is an old battered chestnut tree. Look for the next one, a few yards away to the southwest. Then look for the one after that, at a slightly greater distance and up the hill a bit. It has brambles round its base. This is the Little Owls' nest tree, and the male owl's favourite branch, when viewed from the north side, is at the top left corner of the tree. One or both of the Little Owls may also be high up inside another chestnut tree adjacent to this on the uphill side, and visible from the north or west side of this tree.

      Other Little Owl: start on the north side of the Albert Memorial and walk north towards the statue of Physical Energy. When you get to the bicycle path, turn left (west) and walk until you come to the first intersecting path, which crosses at a very shallow angle. On the near left (southeast) corner of the intersection there is an oak tree. The nearest tree to this, also an oak, tree has the Little Owls' hole in it. You need to view the tree from the south side, that is, the side away from the path. Seen from this side, there is a thick branch sticking out slightly above horizontal about 35 feet up the trunk, with a large bulge in it and a large round hole in the bulge.