Monday 27 April 2015

A day of interesting reports, but not enough photographic evidence.

First, the female Tawny Owl was seen with three owlets this morning by a regular visitor -- not sure who, as the news was passed on to me by Lida, to whom thanks. They were in a tree near where the Kensington Gardens bicycle path crosses the path from the Albert Memorial to the Physical Energy statue. I spent half an hour this afternoon looking for them here but without success. There are some oak trees on the west side of the crossing which are already quite far into leaf, and these seem the most likely trees as the planes and limes don't have much foliage yet.

Second, Stephen saw a male Bullfinch near the Tawny Owls' nest tree. These are quite rare in the park.

Third, Noel saw what was almost certainly the elusive Water Rail skulking in the brambles where the Cetti's Warbler hangs out.

And fourth, I heard the familiar cry of a Hobby and just managed to see it flying away.

It was in the double line of plane trees that flank the path from Physical Energy to the Speke obelisk. Hobbies come in from Africa with the Swallows, Swifts and House Martins, which they eat on the way.

Back to more ordinary news. The male Tawny Owl was in the tree next to his nest tree, not where he has been in the past few days but high up on the west side.

The female Little Owl showed briefly in her usual hole, which is probably above this year's nest.

There was a fair-sized dead fish, a roach, in the shallow water at the edge of the Serpentine near the Dell restaurant. It was not visibly injured, so probably the Grey Heron had not speared it. It may have died of exhaustion after spawning. The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull was here, but apparently had not noticed this tempting meal, because he was taking bits of bread from a visitor.

A flock of Pied Wagtails was running around on the grass on the south side of the Serpentine. They can only hunt here on weekdays, as there are too many people at weekends.

A Mute Swan was washing himself nearby. I have photographed this many times before but it is always fun to watch this immensely splashy procedure.

A Mandarin preening is also a common sight at Peter Pan, but it is a colourful spectacle.

The fountains in the Italian Garden are not working yet, which has allowed the Coots to do more work on their nest and line it with fresh leaves. Here the male brings the female a bundle which he has gathered from one of the clumps of water plants in the pool.

Update: A Common Sandpiper has been seen on the edge of the Serpentine, according to a report on the London Bird Club Wiki.

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