Tuesday, 11 July 2017

The Dunnocks in the Rose Garden have bred. There were three to be seen. Here is one on a rose bush, I think a young one that has almost grown up, as it is beginning to get grey feathers on its head..

There are young Blackbirds all over the park. This one was eyeing some blackberries beside the Long Water.

A family of Jays perched in a small American oak tree near the leaf yard. The young ones were already independent. One flew down to the ground, where it discovered several bees and ate them.

These young Magpies were also independent, and were chatting to each other on a notice beside the Serpentine. 'Personally I'd have done the heading in Gill Sans and the text in Garamond.'

Charlie the Carrion Crow was waiting for me in his usual place near the Triangle car park.

He called Melissa and the two young ones over. When I had fed the parents I threw a peanut to one of the young ones, and while it was vaguely pushing it about a young Herring Gull grabbed it, crushed the shell with its powerful beak, and extracted and ate the nuts, all in five seconds.

During a heavy shower, a Feral Pigeon sat out on the terrace of the Lido restaurant getting wetter and wetter. It wasn't even sheltering under a chair. Eventually it flapped soggily away.

The rain kept the Little Owl in her hole, so no picture today.

The Moorhens in the Dell have chosen to make a nest on a rock under the small waterfall in the Dell. No one could say that it isn't a solid foundation, but the site is a bit exposed.

A female Great Crested Grebe was carrying a bit of weed to the place on the island where a pair nested.

I don't quite know what to make of this, as the family were far away on the other side of the Serpentine being looked after by their father.

The female does look like the one from this pair -- in the other pair that tried to nest there the female has a dark face. They can't be preparing to nest again when they have three young chicks to raise. Perhaps she was just keeping the nest in trim so that they can rest there at night.

The grebe nest on the Long Water should be hatching very soon. The Coots in the nest behind already have a fair-sized chick.

The Black Swan was at the east end of the Serpentine scratching his ear.

Blondie was near the Lido with her mate and just one small gosling. I saw her yesterday but could hardly believe it, as she is usually such a good mother and has already raised one fine brood this year. But accidents happen, especially when gulls are around.

A Mallard family was nearby. The rule with many birds is that when mother preens, the young ones do too.

The white Mallard has gone creamy yellow again. You don't notice him going into eclipse because his feathers are the same colour all year round, but in fact he has just grown a new set. They come out yellow and gradually fade to pure white.

The Mandarin family really are all right, as I had thought earlier. This is one of the two teenagers, which were at Peter Pan with their mother.


  1. Hi Ralph,

    Will be visiting Kensington Gardens very soon for my birthday and would like to spend a bit of time looking for little owl at the park. Please may you provide some detailed directions as to where to stand and look to see the best views of a little owl at the park currently. How do you get to the leaf yard anyway from the Serpentine bar and kitchen ??

    Thank you so much !!


  2. The leaf yard is in Kensington Gardens, halfway up the west side of the Long Water. It is the railed enclosure that has the Peter Pan statue on its east side facing the lake. The tree is an old, very broken sweet chestnut 50 yards from the middle of the south side of the yard, and it has brambles around its base. View it from the west side. On the left of the trunk, the second thick branch from the bottom has two horizontal slits in it next to the trunk. The upper one is the entrance to the owls' hole. The female owl usually perches somewhere near the tip of a branch at the top left corner of the tree, as seen from your viewpoint.

  3. when you say view from the west side, how do you get to the place to stand from the W Carriage Dr bridge?

    1. Walk south down the bridge, i.e. towards South Kensington, turn right immediately after the bridge, and you will be walking up the west side of the lake and will get to the leaf yard. I really don't think I can explain this any more minutely.

    2. Those Magpies have excellent taste in typography, despite their youth.

      Great to see Blondie again, even if it is with a diminished brood. I'm positive she is not at fault.

      Poor bee...

  4. Replies
    1. And also of course the typographic measure a pica or pica em. Jim

    2. According to Wiktionary:
      From Medieval Latin pica (“pica: a service book”), possibly from Latin pīca (“magpie”) after the piebald appearance of the typeset page (cf. pie, "disordered type"). The relation to the printer's measure is unclear, as no edition of the text in pica type is known.

  5. I've found my true typographic love.

    1. The roman is quite agreeable but the italics are annoying. Funny shaped letters soon pall.