Sunday 31 March 2024

Two owls for Easter

A very happy Easter to all readers.

Surprisingly for a busy Sunday with grey and slightly chilly weather, both the female Little Owls were out. The one at the Round Pond was in a horse chestnut tree near the nest tree -- though in fact I expect the pair to choose a different nest hole this year, as the bottom of the tree now has a squirrel family in it and the top has a pair of Stock Doves, always serious rivals for Little Owls. If anyone finds them at what looks like a new nesting place, I would like to know.

The owl at the Serpentine Gallery was in a classic Athenian pose.

At Mount Gate, a Jay and a Blackbird looked picturesque in a blossoming cherry tree but in fact were having an angry and noisy dispute.

One of the Coal Tit pair is now always waiting for a pine nut.

The Robin pair perched on the railings below.

A Robin in the Rose Garden shrubbery had found a larva on a branch.

A Wren stood on a spindly stump by the leaf yard. 

A Blackbird sang in new horse chestnut leaves by the Queen's Temple.

A Blackcap was singing nearby. They are very hard to film, as they constantly jump around in the branches.

The Grey Heron at the east end of the island has been sitting in the nest for 34 days now, so something should be happening soon.

Pigeon Eater, who has been with his mate for several days, was alone. It seems likely that she is now nesting on the Dell restaurant roof, but there is no way of being sure without using a drone.

The Black Swan and his Mute girlfriend have settled down to making a nest in the reed bed just east of the Lido swimming area.

The male swan 4FUK, no longer dominated by the killer swan 4DTH, is getting more and more aggressive. He was pointlessly persecuting a group of swans near the Lido.

A pair of swans were making a nest on the grass by the outflow. Swans often start nests here but so far the attempt has never lasted.

No Egyptian goslings could be seen by the boat hire platform, but the single survivor at the Lido is still with us.

A Mallard has just produced 13 ducklings. They were beside one of the small boathouses.

The Pochard x Tufted hybrid is now a permanent feature of the Lido. He was dozing, but opened one orange eye for a moment.

The willows and horse chestnuts are the first trees to come into leaf, but now others are following. This is a wych elm near the Hyde Park bandstand.


  1. Hi Ralph, happy Easter to you as well....that one little gosling is doing SO well to have survived this far.....classic Athenian pose, you say ? in their Latin name athene noctua ? interesting owl,just like barn owls !!..regards,Stephen...

    1. It's the side-on pose used on Athenian tetradrachm coins, worth 4 drachmai. On dekadrachm coins, worth 10, the owl appears frontally with wings half open,

  2. Have often noticed blackbirds and jays being spiky with each other: despite the difference in size, they seem quite evenly-matched in combat.

    Worth mentioning that we have two juvenile blackbirds out at St James's Park now. Have never seen them out so early in the year before, so it's a big and very welcome surprise. The male parent (Little Blacky) is undertaking the feeding duties. and makes frequent visits to me for sultanas and pine nuts. :)

    1. I've seen Mistle Thrushes attacking Magpies and Jays and usually forcing them to leave. This contest seemed more or less evenly matched: the Jay could chase the Blackbird but the Blackbird came back.

      Good news about the Blackbirds nesting early in St James's Park. Here I know of two nests currently on the go, but no young yet.

  3. Why shouldn’t you tell an Easter egg a joke??..

    It might crack up!…
    You’ve been the best

  4. Happy Easter to all! Χριστός ἀνέστη!
    Coming down too more prosaic things: are all those ducklings from that single Mallard? I seem to have vague memories that ducks were very vague about which ducklings were theirs and successful mothers would poach ducklings from other mallards just by virtue of ducklings following her.
    A splendid day, made all the more splendid by the male Little Owl doing a fine impersonation of one of his glorious forebears.

    1. Yes, I'm sure all those ducklings are from that Mallard. They can manage as many as 18, though how they keep all those eggs warm is a mystery.

      All Little Owls are glorious and have a presence far larger than their actual size.