Thursday 16 December 2021

The Little Owl on Buck Hill was again hunkered down in the dead leaves of the disused squirrel drey, but showing well enough to reveal a mighty pair of eyebrows, so this is certainly a male.

The owl first seen here was a female, so we have a pair.

At dusk he came out of the leaves, waiting for the people to go away so he could start hunting, and his small narrow shape was unmistakably male. Females are both larger and rounder.

The Mistle Thrush on Buck Hill guarded its rowan tree fiercely, but didn't notice that a Redwing had sneaked into the top and was eating the fruit.

A Great Tit ate a pine nut I gave it, pecking delicately at it and enjoying each morsel.

A Carrion Crow perched on a No Swimming sign.

I'm sure they can read.

A Pied Wagtail ran up the edge of the Serpentine.

A young Herring Gull gave a Cormorant a disapproving stare as it fished under the boat platform.

Another played with a stick.

This Black-Headed Gull perched on the head of the goddess Diana in the Rose Garden looks as big bas a Herring Gull, but that's an illusion because the statue is less than life size.

The Great Crested Grebes on the Long Water and one of their teenagers were trying to persuade a Coot to leave its nest so that they could use it.

If the Coot won't go, the technique is to annoy it so much that it loses its temper and jumps into the water to attack them. Grebes are much more agile in the water than Coots, and even one can win easily.

Another pair of grebes is nesting under the willow by the bridge. The nest can't be seen clearly through the remaining leaves, so here is a picture of one of the grebes going to it to carry on building.

Tufted Ducks often tag along with groups of larger ducks, in this case the Gadwalls in the Italian Garden fountains. Perhaps it gives them a feeling of safety.

Tom was at Rainham Marshes and got an excellent picture of the lone male Dartford Warbler. It looks as if it's going to spend the winter there.


  1. Love that top shot of the Little Owl- what is I believe known as cryptic camouflage.

    Got to admire those rebellious Crows!

    1. Also very warm and comfortable for the owl. They are at their northern limit and do seem to feel the cold, unlike Tawnies which will happily stand in snowdrifts.

  2. Ralph - this morning 17 December almost full house of thrushes in and out of rowans Buck Hill: blackbird (3+), mistle thrush (2, one singing briefly from another tree), song thrushes (2) and several redwing. Fieldfare only absentee. David.

  3. Replies
    1. I got video (though not very good) of all four species today.

  4. Very glad to learn we have a pair now! The Little Owl's mighty brows do remind me of Gandalf's a little bit.

    I must praise the Grebes' clever tactic to outmaneuvre unpersuadable Coots. Coots will fall for anything provided a fight is dangled in front of their nose.

    1. Haven't found where the Little Owls are nesting yet. That tree is too young and thin to have a hole, so the squirrels' drey can only be a day shelter.