Friday 25 March 2022

The Tawny Owl poses for his portrait

The male Tawny Owl was showing well in the broken top of an oak tree near the Albert Memorial.

He stayed there all day.

I think it best not to publish his exact location. He would be disturbed by a lot of people turning up and quite likely doing stupid things like playing owl calls to get a reaction.

Apart from that sighting it was a pleasant but uneventful day. I spent some time unsuccessfully trying to get pictures of the Greenfinches near the bridge, but they stayed in cover. Only a female Chaffinch came out to be photographed.

A Jay in the Flower Walk waited patiently for a peanut to be offered.

I think the Grey Heron often seen on a high vantage point at the northwest corner of the bridge is always the same one. It also favours a dead Chinese privet tree and a tall lamp post.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull, in his usual place near the Dell restaurant, shared his latest kill with his mate.

The Great Crested Grebes under the willow near the bridge were fishing near their nest. They still haven't got any eggs. In a way that's a good thing, since the chances of chicks surviving at this time of year are slim -- there aren't enough small fish yet. They have plenty of time to breed later in the year.

Coots were fighting again on the Serpentine. There are simply too many of them, at times more than 300.

A Coot nesting in a silly place on the edge of the Serpentine looked up apprehensively as a Greylag Goose went past.

This Canada--Greylag hybrid is seen only occasionally. I think it just flies in from time to time.

The Egyptian Geese nesting in a dead tree near the Henry Moore sculpture have brought out seven new goslings on to the newly rebuilt gravel bank below.

A pair of Egyptians landed in the stream in the Dell. 

The solitary Egyptian male that has been sitting nearby on the Parade Ground wasn't there today. So it looks as if the pair are together again but they don't have any goslings, either because the eggs failed or because gulls took them all on their way down to the water. Sad, but Egyptians are so prolific that there is no danger of them dying out.

A Mute Swan washed enthusiastically.

A deserted Coot nest provided insects for a pair of Mallards.

In the Flower Walk borders, a native Seven-Spot Ladybird was a pleasing change from the usual invasive Harlequins. I think the plant is a Heuchera.

The Pulmonaria that attracted so many bees is now withering, and this male Hairy-Footed Flower Bee was feeding on some polyanthus that it had previously ignored.

A hoverfly rested on a hellebore leaf. This is Eupeodes luniger.

It has the clumsy common names of Common Spotted Field Syrph and Common Spotted Eupeodes, so it's probably better to stick to the scientific one, which refers to its vaguely crescent moon-shaped spots.

To end, with another owl -- this one in Helsinki, a Great Grey Owl in a splendid photograph by Jukka Tiippana.

He says that it has become a favourite with the human residents who miss Bubo, the Eagle Owl that lived in the national football stadium but sadly died a few years ago. They bring mice for the owl, which it gladly accepts.


  1. Fantastic you have managed to get good shots of the Tawny Owl. It would be sad if it has no mate?

    Confirm the Heuchera ID. I agree with you on the names of hoverflies (& this applies to other tax that have only recently invented English names), so I usually use the scientific name. A few seemed to have well established names such as Marmalade fly & Hornet Hoverfly, but the majority of books dealing with hoverflies only have the scientific name, so giving these unwieldy English names just confuses things.

    1. I wonder how these long and clumsy vernacular names get dragged into being. They certainly aren't traditional.

  2. Morning Ralph,

    Have the red crested pochard left the park? Couldn't see any today, though did have a pair of Mandarin on the Long Water

    1. Red-Crested Pochards seem to come and go at random. Nothing to do with the seasons. I think they fly in from St James's Park, where there are quite a few.

  3. Tawnies, Tawnies, yaaay!

    Does the wonderful Great Grey Owl starring in the picture live in the stadium too? That'd be astounding.

    1. No, the Great Grey Owl lives somewhere else in Helsinki. There are limits to coincidence, even in the real world.