Monday 9 January 2017

The top Grey Herons' nest on the island had two birds in it.

The bottom one has also had a pair in it, and the middle one is sometimes occupied too, so things are definitely going ahead.

The pair of Mute Swans that nested on one of the reed rafts last year are also getting aggressively territorial. After the male had chased all the swans near the raft away, he had a militant display with his mate ...

... and then climbed on to the raft and threw out a couple of swans that had been cowering in the corner.

This raft has still not recovered from the swans nesting there before, when they ripped out all the plants so thoroughly that nothing has regrown. They will probably move to another raft and trash that as well. To do this they need to break down the fence around it, but they don't seem to have much difficulty with that.

There was just one Gadwall, a female, in the water nearby. They never nest in the park, but they do in the gardens of Buckingham Palace, where suitably regal duck houses have been provided for them.

A few more more Red Crested Pochards have arrived, and were resting and preening on the island.

A Blackbird was bathing in a puddle in the Rose Garden.

One of the resident pair of Coal Tits waited next to the feeder for some larger birds to leave.

On the ground underneath, the usual Dunnock was picking up the spilt birdseed, dodging among the Feral Pigeons which were doing the same.

A Robin waited on a bench for a quiet moment so it could go down too.

A couple of Long-Tailed Tits were leaping around on a bush near the Italian Garden. I didn't see a larger flock, but it's too early for them to split into pairs and begin the long labour of building their complicated nests.

The female Little Owl near the Albert Memorial came out to the front of her hole. There were some Stock Doves in the tree, rivals for the possession of the hole, and she was keeping a wary eye on them.

The female in the lime tree near the Henry Moore sculpture was also out. This hole was invaded by Rose-Ringed Parakeets a few days ago, but there has been no sign of them since then and it seems that the owls have seen them off, at least for the time being.


  1. Ralph - greetings to the land of the tube-less! :-) I just returned home and want to thank you again for owl guiding for me on Thursday. I came away with some nice shots, and also got lucky with the weather on Friday to watch some Ducks On Ice at the wetlands. I hope that next year this time I will find you well and still eager to amuse us with your blog.

    1. Always a pleasure to show people round the park. And it was a lucky day for owl fanciers.

  2. Such a lovely photo of the robin, they have such character.

  3. I went for a quiet stroll in Kensington Gardens this afternoon and instead got a squawking horde of Parakeets that wouldn't shut up. They seem to have the avian version of Tourette's. I wonder what might be the selection advantage of such a continuous din - and whether there'll come a time when it will work against them. Do you know of any other avian species that generates so much aural pollution?

    1. It's a call for keeping together when they fly through the dense trees of the jungle, I think. But, as you say, it does seem louder than the flocking calls of other birds.