The Tawny Owl family have returned to their nest tree -- for directions, see the entry for Saturday 7 April. We had looked long and hard for them for several days, but maybe they had been home all the time. It is getting hard to see through the leaves. The male owl was, as usual, sitting on one of the four horse chestnut trees between the nest tree and the path, the second from the north.
The male Little Owl has moved a short way, to an old sweet chestnut a few yards southwest of the chestnut where the nest is: 51.50752,-0.176543 . Sunny days bring him out to sunbathe. I think that these birds, who are of Mediterranean origin, feel the cold and take advantage of any warm spots, which is why you sometimes see them in holes in walls where the sun has warmed the masonry.
Our native Tawny Owls, on the other hand, are pretty tough.
One of the Coal Tits of the family group in the Leaf Yard was carrying a bundle of dog hair to a sweet chesnut near the southwest corner of the enclosure. Another sweet chestnut, near the Speke obelisk, is home to some Treecreepers. What a boon these old broken-down trees are to hole-nesting birds. They all date from 1690, when Kensington Gardens was laid out for William and Mary, who had decided to live out of town to get away from the stink of Whitehall and its memories of the ousted Stuarts.
Several pairs of Mallards were ambling through the shrubbery. Their nesting seems to go all right, but when the ducklings emerge on to the lake the Lesser Black-Backed and Herring Gulls make short work of them.