Wednesday 22 February 2023

Little Owl on a dark day

On a dark drizzly day it was a pleasant surprise to see the Little Owl at the Round Pond.

There was movement on the other owl tree at the Speke obelisk, but it turned out to be a Song Thrush, which flew away before I could move round for an unobstructed shot.

A Blackbird looked for worms in the grass on the Parade Ground, and another dug a deep hole among dead leaves in its search.

A Redwing had better luck.

A flock of Starlings combed the grass by the Diana fountain. I think they were finding wireworms, the small stick-like larvae of click beetles.

The Grey Heron on the island guarded the nest. Paul reported hearing a tremendous racket when the other parent arrived earlier, so there's probably more than one chick.

But for the moment the other parent was taking it easy on a comfortable patch of grass on one of the floating baskets.

A young Herring Gull couldn't find anything more exciting to play with than a bit of soggy cardboard.

Another picked up a packet of almonds covered in quinoa, realised its mistake and hastily dropped it.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Back was after a more substantial meal.

The Little Grebe in the Italian Garden was under the fountain, apparently enjoying the deluge.

The Great Crested Grebes on the Long Water were attending to their nest in the willow. It's quite hard to see and I fear that when the leaves come out it will be completely hidden.

The Mandarin found by Duncan Campbell on Monday was on the next tree. There's no sign of a female so far.

A picture by Duncan of the Black Swan on the Round Pond with water drops adorning his neck.

He also photographed a Lesser Black-Backed Gull looking hungrily at the two Egyptian goslings.

Sadly it got its chance shortly before I arrived, when a wretched dog owner let his pet drive off the parents. The gull saw its chance and snatched one of the young. So now there's only one.

I don't know how many the Egyptian on the Serpentine has now, as she was sheltering her brood. When she was disturbed -- again by a dog -- three goslings emerged, clearly not all of them as she was still sitting with outspread wings.

Mark Williams reports from St James's Park that Long-Tailed Tits are easy to photograph, as they are coming to a fat ball feeder in the feeding area by the leaf yard.

The Long-Tails here used to be equally easy at the mealworm feeder in the Dell put up by Andrea. But the mean-spirited park management made her take it down, and now you need hard work and luck to get a good shot.

Another picture by Mark from St James's: the first butterfly of the year, a Red Admiral.

Our first butterfly was a Small Tortoiseshell in the Rose Garden on the 15th. Usually the earliest butterflies here are Brimstones, but I haven't seen any yet.


  1. Why would they take down Andrea's feeder? Are they so soul-less that they can't countenance someone else's kindness?
    Poor gosling. I'm biting my tongue not to wish karma to recoil on the dog owner's head.

    1. The park management decided to have a purge on all feeders, including those which were patently doing good. Don't expect logical thought from these blockheads.

      In the afterlife the dog owner will be chained to a rock while his liver is pecked out very slowly and painfully by a tiny but furious gosling.

    2. You paint a great image .

  2. Will be looking for the tortoiseshell on Saturday :) Livid to hear of yet another selfish, thoughtless dog owner :l

    1. The Small Tortoiseshell was in the Rose Garden, much the best place in the park for winter insects because of the continuous availability of some kind of flower.

      It was two dog owners, one at the Round Pond and one by the Serpentine. I feel sorry for dogs, deformed and de-brained by selective breeding, but I have no kind thoughts for their thoughtless owners.

  3. I sometimes wish the law was enforced. It is an offence to allow your dog to chase or injure birds. Also, instead of the silly total ban on feeding of birds, they could enforce the littering laws which involve throwing down and leaving. Then there are cyclists. GAH!

    1. It's months since I've seen a policeman on foot or on a bicycle. They drive round in cars not looking out of the windows. Saves paperwork.

  4. Sadly ignorant dog owners are too commonplace these days!

    Another great shot of the Little Grebe having a deluge!

    I've still to see a butterfly this year. I've seen so many photos of others sighting, but don't think I'll see one in the next couple of days.

    1. The Rose Garden is a particularly good spot for butterflies, as it is for bees, because of the year-round flowers.