Saturday 10 September 2016

This picture is rather indistinct, as it is cropped out of one taken on an iPhone, but you can see a Tawny Owl. It was taken in a garden at the north end of Palace Gardens Terrace, near the big villas of Kensington Palace Gardens with extensive back gardens. I think this is one of the numerous offspring of the Kensington Gardens Tawny Owls. If so, it's the first picture of any of them as an adult. Thanks to Abigail Day for providing this picture, taken by a neighbour.

When the leaves fall off the trees we will resume the search for the original pair. They have been heard calling and even seen a couple of times this year.

The male Little Owl of the pair near the Albert Memorial was visible in an oak tree.

His mate could also be dimly seen moving around in a neighbouring tree, and they were calling to each other.

The male Little Owl near the leaf yard was on his favourite branch, but he is so used to us that he didn't bother to turn round and look.

A Dunnock was hopping around behind the fence of the leaf yard.

No Mistle Thrushes were visible on Buck Hill. The showers had probably brought up some worms somewhere else. Instead, the rowan trees were full of Great Tits and Blue Tits, which had chosen this moment to hunt for insects there.

Several of the young Great Crested Grebes were fishing for themselves in the Serpentine.

This one caught a small crayfish, the first that has been seen in the lake since the last die-off a couple of years ago.

In the Dell, a Moorhen and a chick were in a huddle together, and the adult was preening the young one, taking the opportunity to eat any lice or fleas it found.

The other adult was building yet another new nest in the stream. I don't think they are intending to breed again. The nest might be simply a comfortable place to rest, but more likely they have an unstoppable urge to build nests, as Coots do.

A Greylag gander showing off in front of his mate chased away another goose and returned in triumph ...

... and they had a little display in celebration.

The Black Swan and the adopted cygnet were on the Long Water.

So were the dominant pair of Mute Swans and their three teenagers, but all the other swans had been driven off.

As usual on a rainy day, the absence of people from the Diana fountain allowed geese and gulls to come in and enjoy the carefully purified water. Here is a young Herring Gull having a drink.

A fisherman on the Serpentine caught a carp weighing 28lb 2oz.

There are even bigger ones for him to look forward to.


  1. I find this with Moorhens, the ones at my local park usually breed in the mail fork of a willow tree, but as soon as the chicks are ready to fledge they build a nest on the water.

    1. Thanks for the information. This seems to be their fourth nest, including the one they used for their eggs. The new nests are flimsy and don't last long.

  2. Do they release the carp or take them home? Jim n.L.

    1. Release. Have you ever eaten carp? It's like cotton wool full of needles.