Monday 19 December 2022

An unsuccessful expedition

A quick walk round the park before going off to a wildlife reserve in Essex to try to find a Water Rail.

The snow has almost completely melted. A Pied Wagtail hunted down the edge of the Serpentine past one of the few remaining patches.

Great Tits are cropping up all over Kensington Gardens demanding to be fed. This one was in a completely unexpected place near Kensington Palace ...

... and another appeared in a holly tree in the North Flower Walk by the Bayswater Road.

The better known path near the Albert Memorial really ought to be given its full name of the South Flower Walk, but no one calls it that, just the Flower Walk. A female Chaffinch waited to pick up a seed on the ground ...

... and a Coal Tit perched on a dead stem.

The male Little Owl near the Speke obelisk was out in an interval between showers ...

... but I couldn't see the one at the Round Pond, and a squirrel was looking out of its hole in the dead tree. I think a Little Owl can rout a squirrel if necessary: the male parent here managed to scare me off earlier this year when I got too close to his family.

The Little Grebe was still in the irises in the Italian Garden, but now that the ice is melting it will probably soon go back to wherever it came from.

A Cormorant scratched itself under the marble fountain.

Here are three fine pictures by Duncan Campbell of a Black-Headed Gull with food being chased to make it drop its prize ...

... which it did ...

... and a Common Gull darted to catch it.

The expected Water Rail didn't show up. A Robin eyed Tom and me sceptically while we waited for it to appear ...

... and some Mute Swans fell about as they landed on the ice.

A Little Grebe fished on the unfrozen edge of a pond.


  1. Water Rails are insanely difficult to spot. It would have been like finding a needle in a haystack. At least the Robin appeared there to console you both.

    The detail of the Little Grebe plumage in the picture is amazing!

    1. It's possible to get crazily close to the Little Grebe in the Italian Garden pool, so much so that I have to step back to get the minimum of 2.5m which allows my lens to focus. The bird is now quite used to people beside the pool.