Tuesday, 14 June 2022

Little Owls at last

At long last Little Owls have turned up again. One was found near the Round Pond this morning by Jabir Belmehdi, who sent me a photograph taken on his phone.

I went up and, after a bit of searching, found her.

She deserves a video too.

The other Little Owl was reported by Nick Abalov, flying around the west side of the Serpentine Gallery. This is probably one of the pair we saw last year, based in a horse chestnut right against the north side of the gallery. I couldn't find it this morning but will keep looking.

It was a warm day. A Carrion Crow sunbathed near the gallery.

There was a commotion of small birds in the bushes near the bridge scolding the local Magpie family above them in the trees. A Blackcap came into view for a moment.

A Grey Heron looked down intently from a planter in the Italian Garden fountains. There are carp in this pool, both large and small, but it didn't catch one.

The Mute Swans that nested on the island in the Long Water came to Peter Pan with their two cygnets, sadly reduced from the original five. The local Coots have done better and still have four chicks.

The swans farther down the Long Water still have four cygnets ...

... but that's nothing to a pair in Battersea Park photographed by Joan Chatterley, which have eight.

Joan also found some Mandarin ducklings there, grown large enough to be out of immediate danger from gulls.

The combined Canada Goose family swept past the Serpentine island in a compact group.

There are two broods of Egyptian Geese on the Round Pond, one now teenage size ...

... and the other considerably younger. The Egyptians on the Round Pond are highly territorial because the other family is always in sight on the open pond, and there are hostile displays and chases.

There were four Pochards on the gravel strip in the Long Water, three drakes and a female. We don't usually see that many in summer.

A lot of Common Blue Damselflies were flying around in the undergrowth behind the reeds at the bridge. A mating pair were knocked off their perch by a rival male.

Yesterday Conehead 54 mentioned that there might be Wool Carder Bees in the Lamb's Ears flowers in the Rose Garden, and sure enough Duncan Campbell found some. They are very fierce, and this one was attacking a Honeybee.

He also got a good picture of a female Black-Tailed Skimmer dragonfly in the lavender patch.


  1. Great day! Little Owls again!
    Are all those eight cygnets from the same family, or are some adopted? Goslings are sometimes vague about who their parents are!

    1. I don't know. Not my park. But I've seen a brood of eight cygnets more than once.

  2. Monday I paid my first visit to Ruislip Lido for some time & the pair of Mute Swans there also had 8 cygnets.

    Good to see the Little Owls again. Saw one of our youngsters at Warren Farm on Saturday where we have 2 breeding pairs.

    After my comments about Wool Carder Bees yesterday, I sat by my front garden for a couple of hours & saw my first 2 Wool Carders of the season that love the self-seeded Purple Toadflax at the front of the house. As well as looking good it's a good plant for a number of insects. Common Carder Bees love it too & I often find the distinctive caterpillars of the Toadflax Brocade on it.

    1. Something that's puzzling me now: it's clear why a Wool Carder Bee has that name. But what about a Common Carder? Does it card anything?