Sunday, 29 September 2013

A pair of Nuthatches in the leaf yard have started coming down to take food again, as they did in the spring. If you put nuts on the fence they perch in the bushes and whizz out at frequent intervals to grab them.

They seem to be taking the nuts away to store them rather than eating them on the spot, a sensible precaution as winter approaches. While they were doing this, occasionally they were attacked by a Robin which considered the bush its territory, but just shook it off in a rather blasé manner.

A male Blackbird was bathing in the little pool at the top of the waterfall in the Dell. He looked tatty and balding around the head, because it is moulting time for Blackbirds. He will be as smart as ever in a week or two.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull was also at work on the Serpentine, picking the last few bits of meat off the latest victim.

The dark streaks on its head are an adult's winter plumage. In summer the head is pure white, and the other white parts are pure white all year round. Third-year Lesser Black-Backs have more extensive streaks on their white parts, even in summer.

A pair of Coots were fighting near the boathouse.

Outside the breeding season, these fights start for no clear reason, and sometimes four of them all fight each other. Possibly they are trying to establish a pecking order in the tribe. But they seem to enjoy fighting for its own sake, and often make gratuitous attacks on Moorhens and ducks.

The eldest Great Crested Grebe chicks were in high spirits, playing at fishing (though not catching anything) and chasing each other around. Here one of them collides with a parent.

And the Little Owls both appeared, though as usual the female rushed into her tree hole at the slightest movement. The male is now completely unworried by people as long as he is at a safe height in his tree.


  1. Could you tell me where the little owl tree is? I come up there often but never see the little owl.

    1. It's near the leaf yard -- the square shrubbery that has the Peter Pan statue on its east side. Go to the southeast corner of the leaf yard, next to the path that skirts the lake. Here there is a very old sweet chestnut tree planted on 1690 when Kensington Gardens was set up by William III. Look southwest from here to the next sweet chestnut a few yards away, next to a fork in the path. Go beyond this tree a few yards to the west, and there is a third sweet chestnut tree, This is the tree where the Little Owls nested. They can often be seen from the west side of the tree.