Thursday 30 April 2015

A Reed Warbler has been singing in the reed bed near the Diana fountain for the past two days. As usual, it is exceptionally hard to see among the dense reed stems, and this is the best picture I could manage in half an hour of trying.

Reed Warblers bred here last year. Let's hope they manage it again and we have some young ones to admire. They are less shy and easier to photograph than adults.

The Mute Swans' island has been taken over by a pair of Canada Geese. This one was seriously engaged in moving the reeds around to make a comfortable nest.

A Grey Heron has discovered that there are lots of fish in the Italian Gardens ponds. The water is too deep for it, so it is standing on one of the boxes in which waterlilies were planted.

It gave up and left while I was there. A minute later a perch swam across the place here iy had been.

I threw a peanut to a Jackdaw beside the Serpentine and a Lesser Black-Backed Gull got to it first. It opened the shell by simply crushing it with its powerful beak.

Jackdaws and other corvids hold peanuts on the ground with one foot and peck them open.

A Carrion Crow was having a bath in the little pool at the top of the waterfall in the Dell, a popular bathing spot for birds of all sizes.

The Hobby was in the same tall plane tree as yesterday, still calling every now and then as it waited for its mate to arrive from Africa.

The male Tawny Owl was also in the same place as yesterday. He was heard hooting this morning.

But no one has yet found the owlets again.

The male Little Owl was looking out of his nest hole.

The female was also seen earlier in this tree, but as usual fled inside as soon as she was spotted.


  1. Hi Ralph,
    I'm an ecology student at Imperial College and a keen follower of your blog. Would you mind sharing the detailed location of the little owls please? I'd love to see one.


    1. To find the usual pair of Little Owls, 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 owls' nest tree from last year, and they are still sometimes seen in it. However, they spend most of their time on the chestnut tree a few yards to the west of it, and they seem to be nesting here now. View from the north side. Near the top of this tree there is a diagonal line of big holes, and you can often see one of the owls here.

    2. Cheers, thank you! I will visit them sometime.

      Oh yes as a side note, I'm currently helping to conduct a research survey (on behalf of Imperial College and Making London Nature-Smart) looking at the collective monitoring of London's wildlife by groups and individuals such as yourself.

      If you would be willing to participate, please kindly take the time to fill in this research survey ( before it closes on 8th May 2015 (Friday). It should take no more than 10 minutes.

      If it interests you, we would be happy to share with you the eventual findings of this research.

      Thank you.

      Kind regards,

      BSc Biology with Management
      Imperial College London
      Silwood Park Campus
      Making London Nature-Smart Group /

  2. I couldn't paste the survey link in the comments, but I've put it as the url for my name.

    Do contact me via e-mail ( if you have queries about it!

    Thanks again,

    1. Sorry, the survey is impossible to complete accurately, and one of the questions doesn't work at all.