Thursday 24 March 2022

First picture of a Tawny Owl for years

A Tawny Owl has been heard recently several times around the area north of the Albert Memorial and in the Flower Walk. Today Michael Mac got the first picture of it on his mobile phone, looking out of the broken top of an oak tree. Later he heard it hooting but there was no answer, so he thinks it's a lone male. I hope to find it tomorrow.

A pair of Stock Doves occupied the former Little Owl hole in this area.

A Great Spotted Woodpecker drummed on a tree here, and another probed for insects near the Henry Moore sculpture.

It found a larva.

A pair of Jackdaws went in and out of their nest hole next to the leaf yard.

Several Greenfinches sang around the Long Water.

One of the young Grey Herons stood on a post at the Serpentine island ...

... and flew up to the nest where it landed neatly on a thin branch. It's really remarkable how well it flies after a couple of days' experience.

At the west end of the island other herons were milling around various nests. But none of them seem to have settled down yet, and judging by past years they may not breed till the summer.

But so far I have only seen one of the two flying around, and it's possible that the smaller one has not yet come down from the nest.

The Great Crested Grebes with their new chick are staying on the far side of the Long Water from the Peter Pan statue. I haven't seen more than one chick but it's quite possible that there are more on the parent's back.

The Coots under the willow near the bridge were adding twigs to their already large nest.

As usual, two were fighting on the Serpentine.

At the east end of the lake a pair of Moorhens amicably ate each other's fleas, but then for some reason one of them got annoyed and pecked the other.

A Mallard was keeping four ducklings in the safe shelter of the boat platform. But if they were to come out, the hungry Herring Gulls were waiting.

During the past week a single Egyptian Goose has been sitting in the same place on the Parade Ground. Clearly it's a male and his mate is nesting in a nearby tree. I hope they have the good sense to take the young ones down to the stream in the Dell, rather than to the open lake where they have little chance of survival.

Work on the Mute Swans' nesting island is now complete, and it has been covered with cut reeds to make it more comfortable. The dominant male swan has immediately claimed it.

The swans that were trying to nest behind the netting around the reed bed have been evicted, as they had to be because they would quickly have destroyed any new reeds that were planted. They were still on the Long Water. They will have to find another site and see if they can hold it against the dominant pair.

The pretty pink-flowered currant bush near the Vista attracted several bees, hard to photograph because the little flowers don't have much nectar and the bees pause on them for a mere second. I managed to get one picture of a male Hairy-Footed Flower Bee.


  1. Wow, strong contender for best piece of news in this awful year, the return of the Tawnies! I hope you'll be able to see them soon.

    1. I have a pretty good description of the tree, but I shall have to catch the owl when he sticks his head up. Hoping for a good picture, but we shall have to see.