Wednesday 18 February 2015

The male Tawny Owl had moved round to the 'balcony' on the north side of the pair's nest tree.

He is extraordinarily well camouflaged against the background of the broken branch, and two seasoned owl watchers walked straight past him without seeing him. There is a hole at the back of this place, allowing the owl to climb up to his nest and the top of the broken trunk in a moment in case his mate is troubled by Magpies.

No one could find either of the two pairs of Little Owls, despite several visits.

A Dunnock had caught a small insect on a lime tree near Kensington Palace. There are already a lot of small midge-like creatures in the air as the weather warms up.

The Maned Goose is still on the Round Pond, and this shot of it resting shows its 'mane', which is oddly horse-like in appearance. The soft-edged pattern on its chest is not out of focus, it really does look blurred.

Blondie the Egyptian Goose had flown up to the Round Pond. She was being eyed up by a male and liking it, to judge by her calls.

I met Virginia Grey, who told me that another pair of Egyptians is already nesting in a hole in a tree to the north of the pond. I will try to find and photograph this nest.

Also in the Round Pond, a Starling was bathing with wild abandon.

Birds do get carried away when washing. This Mute Swan on the Serpentine was diving and flapping enthusiastically for over ten minutes.

On the shore, someone throwing bread attracted a Common Gull, which sailed gracefully in to grab some.

After I published a picture of a white, but not albino, Feral Pigeon yesterday, Andy Sunters sent me a picture of one that really is an albino, taken beside the Serpentine last September. It has very pale legs and beak, and pink eyes though these look slightly dark in contrast to the brilliant white feathers.


  1. There seems to be a myth that window gnats are so named because they are attracted to light. I see them more on the outside of windows, as if they are looking for somewhere dark to lay in, like bark recesses. Maybe it is their flightless stages that birds particularly look for in rough bark. Once (indoors) I had one buzz my ear, thank goodness I waved it away! They seem remarkably fast in flight.

    Incidentally, I had things dancing above my head in a garden at dusk already a week ago, whatever they are.

    I once came across an all-white pigeon behaving like a disorientated fancy bird, and wonder if most are escapes or their close progeny. Jim n.L.

  2. I am deplorably ignorant about insects. Probably the tiny gnat-like things so often seen in the park are different species at different times a year. But they defy inspection, and even when you get a glimpse of one in the beak of a bird it's usually impossible to tell what they are.

    I think that white pigeons can occur naturally in the ordinary feral population. When -- for reasons unknown to me -- the natural colour scheme of wild Rock Doves collapsed among the urban population, anything became possible. I did a survey of pigeon colours in this blog over a few days at the beginning of February 2013.