Monday 1 April 2019

The male Little Owl near the Albert Memorial, not seen for some time, was out on a branch of an oak tree a few feet to the west of the nest tree.

When I went past later, he had moved to the next tree ...

... and was preening.

The Mistle Thrushes in the Dell have lost their nest, probably predated by Magpies. There is plenty of time for them to start again. One was in a tree between the Dell and the Rose Garden.

A Blackbird perched on a blossoming branch beside the Serpentine.

A Blackcap sang in a tree beside the Long Water.

A pair of Great Crested Grebes on the Serpentine congratulated each other ...

... on having sent a rival flying away.

Tom was at the RSPB reserve at Lakenheath, and got this picture of a grebe that had caught a very large fish ...

... which it didn't manage to swallow.

A Little Grebe could be seen from the Italian Garden, far up the Long Water. It wouldn't come any nearer for a better picture.

When two Coots start a fight, others join in.

Another brood of Egyptian geese has appeared on the Serpentine, with nine goslings.

The pair with two goslings are still all right, but the pair who had six yesterday are now down to five. The goslings have a dangerous tendency to wander off by themselves, and their mother has to keep calling them back.

Canada Geese with white speckles on their head turn up on the lake from time to time.

Although all the Canada--Greylag hybrids have speckled heads, this goose looks to be a pure Canada. An inherent tendency to get speckles is simply amplified by hybridisation.

A pair of Mute Swans are making a nest on the east end of the island, outside the fence.

This is a good place, as the water protects them from all but the most adventurous foxes (and as far as I know a fox has never swum to the island) and the fence protects them from the dominant pair of swans who always nest inside the enclosure.

The male swan on the nest at the Lido had a confrontation with a Grey Heron.

The young herons on the island were climbing around and stretching.

A film crew had hired the solar-powered boat to film a couple in a pedalo. The pedalo was towed along by a motor boat to save the actors the dreadful task of having to pedal themselves.


  1. Maybe if the actors had been pedalling, there would have been too much noise. As always an interesting read.

    1. The pedals go round anyway when the boat moves. It was being towed quite briskly, and their expensive little knees were fairly pumping up and down in a passive way.

    2. Ralph was that an April 1st spiel about saving the actors having to pedal hard? Surely it's mainly to get a good steady fly's eye shot from the larger vessel? Well you got a rise from me anyway then.

      Do you know if the Lakenheath fish (Ide?) was a goner? Would be such a waste of a wild life. Jim.

    3. April the first has been cancelled this year, since the government is more absurd than anything a mere jokester could imagine. I don't think the people in the boat were steady at all. They were being towed at a brisk 5 mph, well over the top speed of a pedalo, and the rotation of the pedals was making their knees go up and down like the rockers on a Merlin engine.

      I don't know what happened to that fish. The grebe had to abandon it, and fish are pretty hardy.

  2. Aha! Thought I saw a Little Grebe on the Long Water this afternoon, but didn't have binoculars or a zoom lens (and didn't entirely trust my eyesight).
    In the bushes near the Henry Moore was a small flock of Great Tits, away from the madding crowds feeding the parakeets by the leaf yard, but only one was bold enough to come to my hand. Always a delight!

    1. There are Great Tits all over Buck Hill that are happy to come to the hand to be fed. I think they move around the park more than we suppose.

  3. Hello, great read as usual. Do you know what’s the update with tawny owls at St James Park. And have you seen the peregrines on the barrack? Not sure about the weather but planning to come on Sunday, would you mind me accompanying you if you’re going to the park? All the best.

    1. I haven't been to St James's Park for a while or heard news of the Tawny Owls. I always publish anything I hear about them.

      I'll be in the park on Sunday as usual, and will probably run into you.

  4. Hi Ralph,
    the speckled female Canada goose has been a semi-resident on the lake past 4 years I think, she is mated with a male Canada goose, they are both fairly old and she is now semi-blind. THis year they decided to stay on the lake permanently ( most birds seem to abandon the lake in March before returning in late May and June ( unless they had babies I guess ).

    I believe she is just too old now to fly somewhere else. I have noticed many old birds stay on the lake until they die.

    1. She did look rather elderly. I think I've seen her before, but not sure as there have been several Canadas with speckled heads on the lake in recent years.

  5. I'm sure there is some symbolism about the state of civilization in hiring a motor boat to prevent some highly paid professionals from making any kind of physical effort.

    Back to birds - love the black and the white in the Blackbird picture. The Little Owl looks so funny peering down at you!

    1. Reminded obscurely of Nero's fake Olympic Games, where he is said to have entered the four-horse chariot race in a chariot drawn by ten horses.