Friday 17 November 2023

A Wigeon and two Little Owls

Wigeon is not a rare species, but seldom seen in the park. This drake on the Round Pond was restless and seemed nervous. It took off when a Herring Gull flew over it.

Another photographer had noticed it from the other side of the pond.

A party of Starlings enjoyed a splash together on the edge ...

... several Pied Wagtails were hunting insects ...

... and two Mallard drakes had a furious battle, probably over a female.

When I went past the pond in the morning the female Little Owl was sitting well down in her hole and you could only see the top of her head, not worth a picture.

So I came back later, as it happened from the Italian Garden, a route that takes you past the sweet chestnut tree near the Speke obelisk where another pair of Little Owls used to nest. They abandoned that place when they found that last year's drought had killed the tree so there was no leaf cover. In fact I hadn't seen either of them since 22 January. But as I passed the spot I got that feeling that you get when an owl is staring at you and turned round, and there was the male in an oak, displaying his mighty eyebrows.

Two Jays picked me up here and followed me to the Round Pond ...

... where I found Julia photographing the male owl, who had come out on a branch to enjoy the sunshine. He looked down curiously, but both Julia and I are on his list of harmless people and he wasn't bothered.

However, one of the Jays landed on a branch above him, and that did make him uneasy.

He soon retreated to his nest hole. A Jackdaw observed the scene from another branch. These don't trouble him as the other more aggressive corvids do.

Ahmet Amerikali got an extreme close-up shot of a Goldcrest which popped out of a yew tree in front of him.

A partly eaten carcass of a Feral Pigeon was lying on the edge of the Serpentine near the Lido restaurant. The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull's mate was standing on the edge ...

... but didn't seem interested in it, and the male was away. Evidently it was their second kill of the day. Even gulls feel full sometimes.

Two Common Gulls perched on the buoys at the Lido. This is one of their usual places but they haven't all arrived yet.

Two Cormorants were catching carp by the bridge with great efficiency, getting one every few seconds.

Greylag Geese flew out of the Diana fountain enclosure over the heads of the passers by.

The lone Gadwall drake was at Peter Pan, looking dapper in the sunshine.

A Harlequin Ladybird took advantage of a sun-warmed iron railing near the Queen's Temple. They sometimes hibernate inside the temple.

The enormous Caucasian Elm in the Rose Garden was looking magnificent in its autumn colours.


  1. Good to have a Wigeon. I wonder if that young chap looking at it is Samual Levy? Don't know him personally but he put a message out yesterday saying it was there. I do remember seeing a couple of Wigeon on the Long Water some years back.

    Another fine Goldcrest shot by Ahmet.

  2. Yes, Tom also said he thought that was Sanuel Levy. You might mention this picture to him as he might find it mildly amusing. At least the duck is in focus.

    Before the opening of the Barnes Wetland Centre, Rainham Marshes, Walthamstow etc., we used to get quite a lot of minority ducks here: Teal, Wigeon, Garganey, Pintail. Now those places have attracted them more and we very seldom see one.

    1. 😂 yep, that's me cracking photo. It had been there around an hour when it flew around. I was quite glad it did fly as hadn't seen one in the parks before and was slightly worried that it was going to be from a collection somewhere. To be perfectly honest it was always out in the middle and looked a bit twitchy most of the time I was there.

    2. Yes, it looked very unsettled the whole time I was watching it. Probably won't be there now, though I shall go and look.

  3. That's a wonderful picture of Samuel taking a picture of the passing wigeon, and I'm glad to be able to put a name to that face!
    How can you tell when an owl is looking at you? Your ability to spot them looks almost like something of a telepathic connection.

    1. I have no idea how anyone gets a feeling of being observed by an owl or any other creature or person, but it does happen. Maybe you've already seen a subliminal hint that hasn't penetrated through to consciousness.