Thursday, 4 April 2013
The first Tawny owlet has been seen, in a tree just to the north of the Flower Walk a few yards west from the crossing with the path from the Albert Memorial. This fine picture was taken by Paul Turner.
When I arrived a few minutes later it was already snowing and the owlet had turned his face to the tree. This was the only owlet we actually saw, but some Magpies were protesting at a laurel bush nearby on the north side of the Flower Walk border, and we think there were some more owlets in the bush.
Both parents were in the tall evergreen tree whose leaves I photographed yesterday (and I still don't know what kind of tree it is), about 50 yards west of the Albert Memorial path crossing. They were partly visible from the north side of the Flower Walk, but not from the central path of the walk. Here is the best picture I could manage of one of them, taken in terrible light and falling snow.
Since these owls have owlets, there can be little doubt that they are the familar couple from earlier years, well to the south of their usual area and taking advantage of the shelter of the many evergreen trees in the Flower Walk.
One of the Northern Wheatears was still visible on the Parade Ground, flying around very actively but tending to shelter underneath trees. Again, this is one of Paul's pictures, taken at a considerable distance.
As the weather worsened, the bird flew off in the direction of the shrubbery around the Lookout, probably to take shelter.
There were about 25 Redwings, fewer visible than yesterday, and a few Fieldfares. Mostly they stayed around the southern end of the Parade Ground. They were extremely shy even by the standards of Redwings, and flew away in a flock if approached.
In contrast, this Mistle Thrush near the Serpentine Gallery was quite phlegmatic about being photographed.
It is one of a pair nesting in a row of lime trees, though probably nesting is on hold until the vile weather improves a bit.