Tuesday, 27 September 2022

Little Owl on a rainy day

There was a very obstructed view of the female Little Owl near the Round Pond in a plane tree. It was just starting to rain and she soon flew away to find shelter.

The familiar Robin the the Flower Walk was not put off by the drizzle, and perched on my hand to take five pine nuts.

The Parnassus Frieze of famous artists and architects around the base of the Albert Memorial has a small cornice to protect the marble from rain. Feral Pigeons sheltered under it. This one was looking at William the Englishman, the architect who completed the east end of Canterbury Cathedral in the 1170s after the original architect, William of Sens, fell off the scaffolding.

In a clear interval the Long-Tailed Tits that hang around the back of the Lido were leaping around in a poplar. 

There was a Chiffchaff with them, but I could only get a distant shot when it came out in a treetop.

A Carrion Crow drank from a puddle.

Another was at the top of the Dell waterfall pulling up the mat of algae growing on the edge. I don't know what it was trying to achieve, and maybe it was just playing.

A pair of Black-Headed Gulls displayed and called affectionately to each other on the edge of the Serpentine. For a moment they jumped at each other, but I'm sure from their other behaviour they are a mated pair and not rivals.

One of our regular gulls, EZ73323, was back on the notice beside the Serpentine where it likes to stand.

A young Grey Heron and one of its parents saw someone throwing bread to some gulls and decided they wanted some. The Lesser Black-Backed Gull with pale feet is one of the new lot of pigeon killers, but was only after bread at the time.

All the posts at the island were occupied by Cormorants, so this one had to stand on a moored pedalo.

Four more Great Crested Grebes have arrived on the Serpentine, and were sitting together as grebes do when they have just flown in.

There are also some more teenage Mute Swans, I think three of them as there were six young ones on the Serpentine and three of those grew up in the park. They are older than our local cygnets, which are not yet flying.

The male swan in the Italian Garden and the newcomer are learning to tolerate each other's presence. The male lost his mate several months ago and it's possible that the newcomer will pair with him. She would have to be careful about approaching this aggressive old bird, who might easily attack and even kill her.

A Mandarin drake on the far side of the Long Water was already back in his gaudy breeding plumage.

A Red-Crested Pochard drake was well on the way to growing his bouffant hairdo ...

... and the Shovellers are also getting brighter.

A surprise appearance at the leaf yard: a cart from the royal stables.

The huge mass of flowers still being laid by people at Buckingham Palace after the Queen's funeral is gathered up nightly and taken to Green Park to separate cellophane wrapping and letters from the flowers. It seems that the letters are kept, though I don't know what happens to them. There are also innumerable Paddington Bears which are given to charities if they are not too stained and soggy. The flowers are brought to the leaf yard to be composted; it takes three trips a day to move them all. There were three royal servants on the back of the cart, all dressed in sombre magnificence, hardly the clothes for shovelling rotting flowers but things have to be done in style.


  1. She deserved no less.

    Is she female swan courting the male then? It looks to me that she is trying to test the waters.


    1. Not so much courting, perhaps, as a cautious approach to sound out the likelihood of extreme violence in a confined space.

  2. Sheltering pigeons are hardly good news for marble. Jim

    1. True, but they don't seem to have done it much damage in 150 years. The cracks at the top look more serious, though you have to remember that all the stonework on the memorial is just cladding on an enormous iron frame.

  3. Hi Mr. Ralph, I think that duck is not mandarin but wood duck drake..