Tuesday, 2 February 2016

One of the other pair of Little Owls appeared today -- the ones in the big round hole in the oak tree north of the Albert Memorial.

There were also a pair of Stock Doves and several Jackdaws in the tree, both rivals for nest holes. Two years ago the owls were forced out of this tree by Stock Doves.

The familiar Little Owl wasn't visible today, but there were two Treecreepers on his chestnut tree. Here is one, happily upside down.

There was also a Long-Tailed Tit, which looked rather odd. This turned out to be because it was gathering spider's webs to build a nest, and had picked up a bit of tissue paper with the web. Like so many other birds, they have been misled by the westher into nesting crazily early.

A Dunnock perched on a bramble near Peter Pan. These shy birds seldom come out into the open and look at you.

The Jackdaws used to be shy and hated being stared at. Now they plonk themselves down in your path and stare at you until you give them a peanut.

The Black Swan is also demanding food from anyone who looks a hopeful prospect. Here he is at the terrace of the Dell restaurant.

The Egyptian Goose which hangs around the restaurant was asleep on one of the tables, among all the people having lunch.

Two of the siblings of the familiar speckled Canada-Greylag hybrid goose have shown up on the Serpentine.

But our old friend with his wonky gait and tendency to fall over is almost certainly dead, the victim of a fox. There was a sad little pile of feathers on the grassy bank at the Lido bathing area.

A Black-Headed Gull had a new plaything, a stunted plane seed. A full-sized one would have been too heavy to make a good toy for a small gull.

The usual Kingfisher was in his usual place on the west side of the Long Water.

I wish he'd find a station where you didn't have to photograph him from the other side of the lake.


  1. What sad news :-(
    It's like losing an old friend. I'm so very sorry.

    1. Poor goose. It was inevitable, though. We never knew what was wrong with it, but it was in a sad state.

  2. Enjoyable read as always.
    Have you ever considered a teleconverter for shots like this Kingfisher? (Something I am thinking of).

    1. I have a 1.4 teleconverter which would put my 450mm lens up to 630mm. But these reduce the brightness of the image by an amount in this case equivalent to one f-stop. Today's (Wednesday's) picture was taken at the slow speed of 1/160th second, the slowest I can manage with a handheld camera, at f5.6, the widest aperture available at full zoom. This got the ISO down to 200, so I got a sharp image. If I used a teleconverter I would get an image 1.4 times as big but the ISO would go up to 400 and the picture would be more grainy, so it would actually be less sharp. I may use the teleconverter in summer when there's a lot of light and you don't have to worry so much about ISO, but not in winter.

  3. That's a smashing little owl picture Ralph. You must be pleased with that.

    1. Thanks. It was a lucky shot. Haven't seen him in that hole for a long time.