Sunday 31 July 2022

Great Spotted Woodpeckers at the leaf yard

Two Great Spotted Woodpeckers called at the southwest corner of the leaf yard. There is usually a pair here, picking insects from the deeply fissured bark of old trees.

The female Coal Tit in the Flower Walk picked delicately at a pine nut. Where they get a chance they live in stone pines and eat the seeds out of the cones, but in this case it came by way of a shop and my hand.

Two flocks of Long-Tailed Tits moved along opposite sides of the Long Water, one on the east side near the bridge...

... and another on the west in a variegated holly tree.

A Reed Warbler came briefly into sight below the Italian Garden.

A human slob's litter is a Carrion Crow's lunch. Where would we be without these useful scavengers?

A pair perched together in a tree by the leaf yard.

The female Little Owl at the Serpentine Gallery looked out from chestnut leaves parched by the drought.

The horse chestnut favoured by the female Little Owl near the Round Pond is in even worse shape from Leaf Miner attack as well as lack of water.

One of the owlets was in the same tree.

Neil got a well composed picture of two of the owlets, better than I could manage yesterday. I think they were in a horse chestnut south of the previous one, which for some reason is less damaged.

Better news for Great Crested Grebes: at least there is a pair on the Serpentine. Previously I had only seen one on its own, a sad state for these uxorious creatures. I couldn't get a picture of the two together good enough to publish, so here is one preening.

Although there are several Red-Crested Pochards on the Long Water, there seems to be only one on the Serpentine. All are male, as can be seen from their red bills and eyes despite their sober eclipse plumage.

A fine picture by David Element of a Common Pochard drake diving, making the little leap that diving ducks do to help them to submerge.

(Grebes don't have to bother with this, because they can increase their density by flattening their feathers. Then head down and one kick and they're under.)

There are lots of Emperor dragonflies at the Italian Garden, both on and under the terrace.

A good shot of a Meadow Grasshopper from Neil.


  1. I can't get over how very beautiful their white bellies are. 'Uxorious' must be among my favourite English words, too!

    I still think Little Owls must be very curious about humans. Perhaps they notice the facial resemblance having frontal eyes, same as we do with them.

    1. Yes, you can't stare properly without frontal eyes. It would be interesting to see an owl at a safe height and a cat confronting each other.