Sunday 25 September 2022

Stonechat at Kensington Palace

Julia found a female Stonechat in front of Kensington Palace and got some good pictures.

It was in a clump of Verbena bonariensis in the border to the south of the statue of Queen Victoria.

Both the adult Little Owls by the Round Pond were calling. The female could just be seen with difficulty in the plane tree where she was two days ago.

The male, in a tall lime, was unfindable. He has called from that tree several times in the past and I have never been able to see him. There are holes in the tree and I think he has been in one.

Later a teenager came out of the nest tree to have a look around.

A Feral Pigeon perched on the bench in the Flower Walk contemplating the late Alan Rickman's remark 'It would be wonderful to think that the future is unknown and sort of surprising.' Much as I have enjoyed his performances, I can't help finding that a shade obvious.

The female Coal Tit came out of a laurel bush to be fed.

Long-Tailed Tits hunted near the Mound Gate.

When Carrion Crows raid a table on the Dell restaurant terrace they look nervous and quickly rush off with their booty, unlike Starlings and Feral Pigeons which walk around confidently. They have a healthy mistrust of humanity.

A young Herring Gull on the Serpentine played with a leaf.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull had just missed a catch, and was soothing his annoyance by having a preen.

There are now at least 30 Cormorants on the two lakes.

A Little Grebe appeared on the Long Water near the Italian Garden. It must just have had a large meal, as it was resting and not diving as usual. 

Then it set off to the other side of the lake.

A young Grey Heron and a Mute Swan eyed each other warily east of the Lido. The swan is the mate of the murderous male whose territory this is, and she is pretty tough in her own right. It was the heron that gave up and flew away.

There was a second swan in the Italian Garden. You can see the sitting tenant in the background. They were keeping well apart. We'll see how this develops.


  1. I never thought female swans were violent. I always believed that fell to the cob's lot. Shows what I know.

    I think the pigeon quite agrees with you.


    1. They aren't as violent as males but I've seen them join fights. And of course when cygnets are involved, anything goes.

  2. Lovely shots of the Stonechat. There can't be many where it's perched on Verbena bonariensis!

    Obviously a big arrival of them around London yesterday. I had a record count of 11 on my combined adjacent sites & many elsewhere including an amazing 28 on Hampstead Heath.

    The Little Grebe looks like one of this year's youngsters.

    1. The flower bed where the Stonechat was seen adjoins an uncultivated patch with taller plants sticking out of the grass, good territory for a Stonechat.

      Yes, the Little Grebe seems to have faint traces of juvenile markings on its face. Might have flows in from Regent's Park or St James's Park, where Little Grebes manage to breed sometimes. Not a hope of that here with all the gulls.