Monday 1 July 2024

Goldcrests nesting again

The female Little Owl at the Round Pond perched in the lime tree. I only saw later, when I looked at the pictures on the computer, that she was holding a caterpillar that she intended to feed to the owlet, which was evidently inside the nest hole in the dead tree. She was waiting for me to go away so that she could fly over without revealing the location of the nest (though of course I knew perfectly well where it was).

The male was in a horse chestnut on the other side of the nest tree.

This isn't a good picture, as it was snatched in a hurry and I only got one shot. A Goldcrest came out under a bench in the Flower Walk carrying a bit of plant fibre, and whizzed away into a tree. There must be a pair building a second nest. I've never seen a Goldcrest on the ground before.

A flock of Long-Tailed Tits moved through the trees in the Rose Garden.

Blue Tits jumped about in the top of a hawthorn tree near the Steiner bench. This is a young one, grey and green rather than adult blue and yellow.

There was a Coal Tit in the same tree, but it wouldn't give me a clear view.

A Wren climbed around in the dense leaves of a hornbeam, coming partly into sight from time to time.

The young Grey Wagtail -- I think there's only one -- is now independent and was hunting along the shore at the Lido restaurant. Its grey back and bright underside make it wonderfully well camouflaged in these surroundings.

A Grey Heron has been fishing for several days in the same spot under the parapet of the Italian Garden. The mats of algae provide cover for fish, which the heron grabs as soon as they come into sight.

Cormorants are beginning to return to the lake as this year's young fish get large enough to interest them. Two preened on posts at Peter Pan.

The young Great Crested Grebe here is diving a lot now, but this is still just play and it's not catching anything yet. It saw its father with a fish and rushed over to grab it. The adult dived to find another.

Three young Egyptian Geese rested in a huddle at the Vista, but the middle one was fidgety and disturbed the others. One tried to hold it still, but it wriggled free.

There are two pale Greylag Geese moulting on the Serpentine. We've seen the very pale one already -- picture in the blog entry for 5 June. This one is darker.

A patch of phlomis in the Rose Garden was visited by several Buff-Tailed Bumblebees.

The oxeye daisies attracted a small bee about ³⁄₈ inch (1 cm) long. It looked to me like a Leaf-Cutter Bee, a species of Megachile, but I was far from sure. Later: Duncan Campbell thinks it's not one, but rather a Colletes, probably C. daviesianus.

There was an even smaller fly, about which I have no idea.

The pomegranate bush behind the Big Bird statue is flowering, and there are already some small developing fruits.

Repairs to the bridge are beginning in earnest. Only structural repairs will be done this year. The replacement balustrade will have to wait till next summer.


  1. Hi Ralph, a lovely cheeky pic of the wren peeking out from behind a leaf..very cute !!....they DO seem to be taking their time over repairing that bridge, we have the very problem with bridge damage on the grovesnor bridge over the Dee...there does appear to be ALOT of green algae on the have mentioned to me in the past that your email address is on the larger (?) version of this blog.accesable by computer and NOT smartphone, I guess ?..would you be interested in receiving a "bird report" for a place called rostherne mere? .it could prove interesting,maybe.and of course, the barn owl pics ...regards,Stephen..

    1. Repairers of historic buildings are few and always busy, so work on the bridge has to take its place in the queue.

      Thanks, I'd like to see some of the best Barn Owl pictures. Will put one on the blog if appropriate, but note that the blog format requires images that can be cropped into landscape format 1600 pixels wide and 1200 high. Square and tall pictures simply don't fit.

      Rostherne Mere is out of my orbit, though. Thanks all the same.

  2. It's funny how different the expressions of both Little Owls are. She looks a bit aggravated and he looks like he's narrowing his eyes at you!
    I forgot to comment in yesterday's entry how extraordinary it was that you had to shoo away the Heron from your path. That's just amazing to me.

    1. I think you probably need years of close observation of owls to understand their expressions and attitudes. I certainly haven't managed it, even with a few individuals of a single species.

      The park herons are like no others. They are used to being fed and now they demand it. They are also secure from harm because of their VTOL power. One flap of those enormous wings and they're way above you and out of reach.

  3. I saw at least three Peregrines yesterday. There may have been four but I only say three. Two were flying and two I believe, were chicks.

    1. Hooray. I had a look at the hotel yesterday evening but missed them. Will keep looking.

    2. I spotted two perched on the tower today but I dont know if they are chicks or not

    3. I saw one today at a great distance, from the path leading from Queen's Gate to Physical Energy.