Thursday 28 May 2020

Very glad to say that the Little Owl near the Henry Moore sculpture has returned after a week of absence. She was in her usual place in the alder tree. 

Jackdaws wandered in the sun-parched grass below, looking for insects to eat.

The singing Reed Warbler near the Italian Garden came into view long enough for a hasty picture.

A Wren near the bridge scolded some predator loudly.

One of the young Great Tits could be seen in the bushes.

A Coal Tit in the Rose Garden waited for me to fill up the feeder.

A Grey Wagtail hunted along the edge of the Serpentine. This is an adult male with a clearly defined black bib.

A Grey Heron fluffed out its feathers beside the small waterfall in the Dell.

The pair of Lesser Black-Backed Gulls on the Long Water shared a Coot chick.

It was not one of the chicks from the nest in the Italian Garden.

The four chicks in the nest at the Dell restaurant are all right too.

The Mute Swan family were feeding at the Lido. The adults dipped for algae. The fast growing cygnets need more protein in their diet, and were feeding on small insects and Daphnia water fleas.

Two new sightings of insects. I thought this one on a palm tree in the Dell was a Banded Demoiselle with the dark bands on its wings concealed by shadow. But Conehead 54 is pretty sure that it's a Beautiful Demoiselle with uniformly coloured wings, and if so it's the first sighting of one in inner London.

A Speckled Wood butterfly rested near the leaf yard.

Someone has done a chalk drawing on the Buck Hill shelter, adding interest to this drab but useful structure.


  1. Great news! So relieved to see our beloved Little Owl. Maybe she went away on a bit of an adventure? ("It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to").

    Lovely to see the young Tit too. Adorable little thing.

    1. Who can say what goes through a Little Owl's mind? Probably not much, as their enormous eyes take up most of the space in their skull leaving little room for a brain. But she is a much loved bird whom I have known for more than eight years, and she has been sorely missed.

  2. Lovely shots Ralph of the Reed Warbler, Wren + the 2 LBB Gulls.

    Most exciting though- that's no Banded Demoiselle!-Look at that wing- it isn't banded-it's fully dark. You have to the best of my knowledge the first inner London record of a male Beautiful Demoiselle!!! Brilliant! They have been spreading eastwards, have colonised the Wandle area in SW London, get records from the Enfield area & I was shocked to find a female in my garden last year in Greenford. Think you have my e-mail- would love a copy of this photo for my next Odonata report at the end of the year. Great find, Ralph.

    1. Are you sure that the dark wing isn't just the result of the awkward lighting as it perched between two palm leaves? Are there confirming feaures in other parts of its anatomy? i did see it flying before it landed, and my impession was that the dark blur of the moving wing was broad, not a line such as you would see with a Banded Demoiselle, but that was just a very brief view.

      The picture you can download is the best available, as it was quite a distant shot and the original is of no higher quality. Please feel free to use it if it's adequate for your purpose.

      Meanwhile I will keep an eye on the place -- the top of the Dell Waterfall -- and hope for a better view. The midges over the pool ought to attract it.

    2. Obviously I didn't see it in the field but the colour looks uniform to me in your photo & looks like a classic male Beautiful Demoiselle. This species often perches in the shade & when I've seen them at Bookham Common they are usually in this situation & I'm guessing the dell approximates to that.

      Personally I can't see it being a male Banded Demoiselle but look at some images yourself of both species. If it's a shadow it's a perfect imitation of the real thing.Hope you can re-find it!

    3. Thanks very much. How exciting. I looked for it twice today without result, but of course will keep looking and hope for a definitive picture.