Saturday, 13 April 2013
All the Tawny Owls were visible today, with difficulty: one adult in each of the two tall evergreens in the Flower Walk, and the four owlets in the more easterly of these trees. One of the owlets is considerably older than the others, and already quite brown -- this one is shown in my blog post for Sunday. The remainder are still completely grey and fluffy, and tend to cluster together in a confused heap. All three younger owlets are in this heap, but you can only see the top one clearly.
The Little Owl was out earlier, but it started to drizzle, so he didn't emerge again.
There were two Common Redstarts in Kensington Gardens, both spotted by Des: a female on the bare earth around the Henry Moore statue, and a male on a patch of leafmould under a tree near the part of the Flower Walk where the owls are. These are quite rare visitors to the park.
One of the Willow Warblers was visible on the east side of the Long Water, in the willow tree containing the Great Crested Grebes' nest, opposite Peter Pan, pictured yesterday. It was dashing about catching insects and hard to see through binoculars, and quite impossible to photograph.
Speaking of grebes' nests, the pair by the reed bed at the east end of the Serpentine have built a new nest, and are clearly feeling the joys of spring.
Again they have built their nest outside the netting when they could just as easily have gone inside -- the netting reaches only to water level and is easy to dive under. They clearly prefer nests made of twigs and weed to nests of reeds, although many Great Crested Grebes make these successfully. I suppose it is a matter of what they are used to.
On the shore above this reed bed there is a milling throng of Mute Swans mixed with a fair number of Egyptian Geese. When the fighting for dominance has settled down, a pair will probably nest here, as it has already been a successful site. Here some swans loll around in front of the memorial to Queen Caroline, wife of George II, for whom the Serpentine and Long Water were built in the late 1720s.
A Treecreeper was flitting around in Kensington Gardens on the path from the bridge to the west side of the Vista.
It was near the stump of a fallen tree with strips of bark flaking off it, just the kind of place where a Treecreeper would build a nest. I wonder whether we shall see something here.