Wednesday 26 October 2016

Both the Little Owls near the leaf yard were visible today. The male was in his favourite place in the nest tree, for once not being bothered by Magpies and Jackdaws.

The female was calling from the top of big oak tree where she has been for three days. A good deal of rushing around on the ground looking through gaps produced an unobstructed view.

The yew tree near Peter Pan is full of berries and doing good business, with Blackbirds flying in and out.

Tom took this picture of the Song Thrush in the same tree yesterday.

There was a large gathering of Starlings in one of the olive trees at the Lido.

The trees are much too young to produce olives, but I am told that the big old olive tree in the Chelsea Physic Garden bears fruit in spite of the English climate.

A Dunnock came out from underneath a bush in the Rose Garden with a small grub it had caught.

A Carrion Crow was bathing in the basin of the marble fountain in the Italian Garden.

Because Shovellers look slightly like Mallards, one is inclined to overestimate their size. Here are some on the Long Water beside two Tufted Ducks, and you can see that there is little difference.

The young Grey Heron at the Dell restaurant played idly with a dead leaf while it waited for a chance to grab some leftovers.

A Herring Gull on the Long Water was brandishing a little tuft of feathers. I think it must have pulled them out of some bird in a fight.

This is an Essex gull. When I first saw it on 5 October, its yellow plastic ring hinted at an exotic origin, but when I reported it, it turned out to have been ringed in Basildon, and that was the first time it had been seen since then, having travelled just 32 miles.

The people at Bluebird Boats are escalating their battle to scare the gulls off their pedalos. The plastic owl has been called back into service, and is being motored up and down the lake, which makes its wings flap in a vaguely realistic way. But I don't think the gulls are terribly frightened.


  1. Next time I fully expect to see a gaggle of gulls racing to plant themselves on top of the motoring plastic owl just to show that they can.

    The Little Owl is clearly looking at you with some curiosity!

    1. The Little Owls hardly pay any attention to photographers now, after nearly five years of celebrity. You have to take your pictures quickly when you arrive, when they look down to see what the movement is.

  2. It's very interesting to read about the birds you see returning to the London parks year after year. Earlier this month, I spotted a ringed plover in Santa Luzia, Portugal - the same place I saw her two years ago. The university of Iceland has been monitoring this bird since 2010 and she has been seen on the same shoreline in October for the last four years. I put a copy of the records at the bottom of my last blog if you are interested. Quite amazing!

    1. It's amazing how they return to exactly the same spot. My pet Black-Headed Gull EY09381 always tries to sit on the same post.

      I found your blog, but can't find the record of the plover.

    2. That's amazing - sounds like my house with our favourite seats!

      If you look at the post ‘Ria Formosa rediscovered’ dated 21 Oct and scroll right down towards the bottom, you will see two photos of the ringed plover and the table provided by the University of Iceland. It was a bit of a long post but the photos come after the white stork and Andouin’s gull. (It has the subheading ‘Update on ringed plover sightings') I also saw it in a scrape so the university say it is showing breeding-territorial behaviour which they haven't seen before on Wintering sites. Will have to go back next year!

      This link will hopefully take you to the right post:

      Really enjoy following your blog!

  3. Hi, I'm now visiting London and will leave tomorrow. I will spend my last day to do some urban park birdwatching. May I know where is the leaf yard in Kensington Park? Thanks a lot. You can answer me by personal email.

    1. Hi, I think I have found your detailed location description some time ago in the internet. Thanks for your information!

    2. Hope you've found what you need. The leaf yard is on the west side of the Long Water (and the Long Water is the name of the part of the lake that is in Kensington Gardens). The statue of Peter Pan is on the east side of the leaf yard, adjacent to the Long Water. The Little Owls' trees are on the south side of the leaf yard.

      You may run into me in the area of the Little Owls' trees around 11.30 on Friday morning.