Friday 4 May 2018

The male Little Owl at the leaf yard stood guard in front of the hole where his mate is nesting.

He was a bit restless.

The field maple tree where this pair sometimes take their owlets is being fenced off, as it is very old and likely to shed branches. But it is a valued tree and the gardeners don't want to cut it down. The owls will appreciate its seclusion, and it will still be possible to take perfectly good photographs with a long lens.

A Jay came down to drink from the Serpentine.

A Carrion Crow on a rail at the bridge shone in the sunlight.

There was a pair of Mandarins on the path below.

And behind them a Grey Heron went carefully over the wire baskets where the perch hatch, looking for a fish unwise enough to stick its head out.

Two herons posed under the Henry Moore sculpture. I think he would have liked them, and made a Standing Figure and a Reclining Figure.

This heron sunbathing in the nest on the island is more like something Barbara Hepworth would have carved.

The Great Crested Grebes at the island still have at least once chick. Two were reported the day before yesterday, but I could see no sign of the second.

The Coot nesting at the Dell restaurant could't decide on the perfect place to put a leaf. Rearranging the furniture passes the time.

Gadwall drakes are the least showy of male ducks, but their markings are beautiful.

There has been a pair of Song Thrushes at the south end of the leaf yard for several years, and the male always gives a good performance.

The Reed Warbler's song is scratchy but complex. You only get a still picture here because he was invisible, deep in the reeds.

There are some very strange plants in the Dell. I think this is a New Zealand tree fern. Its curled new front looks like a Celtic bishop's crozier.


  1. I totally agree about the elegence of the Gadwall. And thank you for all the other lovely pics and videos

    1. Mandarins are a bit too Clarice Cliff for me.

  2. How long would a Grebe chick survive if not fed? We are on safe ground now, I hope.

    To me that strange Austral plant looks like a nest of pine processionary caterpillars. Not going to link an image, no sir. Brrrr.

    In the Coot video a Spanish-speaking child can be heard in the background. I can only make out that he repeats "madre mía" (roughly, "My Goodness").

    1. I don't think we're on safe ground, or rather that the grebe chick is on safe ground. This is the wrong time of year for grebes to breed on this lake, where small fish don't appear till midsummer. There may be one survivor, as there was last year, or none. Grebes are amazingly attentive parents, but this is a time of famine. (And for those who love these little stripy chicks, it's like having to watch Grave of the Fireflies every year.)

      The Spanish child was indeed looking at the Coots' nest. It's a large and impressive thing, directly under the balcony.

  3. Oh God, you are right. I only hope there is a happy afterlife for them, by the lovely light of the fireflies.