Saturday 23 February 2019

The two Grey Heron chicks were in a very active mood. Towards the end of this clip you can hear their clacking begging call.

The heron nest which was built some time ago on the south side of the island now has a sitting bird in it, so with luck we can expect more chicks soon. It's hard to photograph from the other side of the lake, and through twigs.

There is a new nest on this side of the island, not yet completed. It's the fifth nest this year.

The other two nests on the north side of the island, facing the shore, are still occupied but I can see no sign that eggs have been laid yet.

Yesterday David Element saw a Lesser Black-Backed Gull chasing a Rose-Ringed Parakeet, apparently hunting it quite seriously.

The parakeet was able to escape the gull by dodging inside the gull's rather large turning circle. But gulls are clever, and they will probably find a technique that works. By the way, another picture not shown here has a close-up of the gull's eye, and it is clear that this is not the notorious pigeon killer, who has distinctive eyes with a ring of dark dots.

There was a Peregrine on the barracks, another predator of parakeets.

To continue the subject of birds that eat parakeets, several people had a serious hunt for Tawny Owls on the evening of the 20th. One female could be heard, probably in the woodland on the east side of the Long Water. On the morning of the 14th, Des McKenzie had heard a male in roughly the same place. It's good to know that there are a pair here, but unfortunately this area is closed to the public so we shan't be able to photograph them.

The Little Owls in the lime tree near the Henry Moore sculpture are quite close to this place, but the two seem to be able to exist together. They hunt at different times, Little Owls at dawn and dusk and Tawnies mostly at night.

A Mistle Thrush is nesting in a plane tree in the Dell.

A pair of Jackdaws were at a nest hole in a big oak outside the southwest corner of the leaf yard. This picture was taken on the shaded side of the tree, and I didn't see the upper Jackdaw, which is why the picture is badly framed. Will try to get a better one.

A pair of Goldcrests chased each other through a yew tree near the bridge, and the male sang.

A Treecreeper was also singing on an oak near Queen's Gate. I probably wouldn't have noticed this excellently camouflaged little bird if it had remained silent.

A Dunnock sang from the top of a blossoming tree near the bridge.

Last year this pair of Coots successfully built a nest in three feet of water next to the Dell restaurant. Now they are repeating the feat. The restaurant is being refurbished, so they have moved a few yards along the shore.

The two pairs of Moorhens in the Italian Garden fountains are active and certainly preparing to nest. One of them paused on the edge of a fountain, getting saturated but Moorhens don't mind this.

One of the Great Crested Grebes from the island hurried along the lake.

A Canada Goose on the Serpentine enjoyed a thorough and splashy wash.

This pair of Mallards is often seen resting on the fallen trunk of the willow next to the bridge.


  1. Hi Ralph, I really enjoy your blog and would love to see the Little Owls. What time of day is best to spot them? Thanks!

  2. Early morning and late evening are best, but they can be sen at any time during the day especially if it's sunny. The owl near the Henry Moore sculpture is your best bet at the moment. For a map of the owl trees, type 'map' in the search box at the top left of the window, which will take you to the entry for 6 December last year.

  3. That's an incredible picture. It is certainly a logical step for a Lesser Black-Backed Gull to try their luck with Rose-Ringed Parakeets, but I would think parakeets are even harder to take than pigeons (unless you are a peregrine, of course, but if you are a peregine, most everything is fair game). No doubt the clever gulls will come up with something.

    1. Perhaps the best way to take parakeets is to do what Tawny Owls do: take advantage of their habit of perching on bare branches on the tops of trees and dive to grab them.