Sunday, 25 May 2014

A fine Sunday had brought a lot of owl fans into the park, including several families with young children -- and what better way to begin a lifelong love of birds than by seeing the splendid Tawny family? All three owlets were visible on the hornbeam tree ...

... and their mother was on a plane tree a few yards to the north, just far away to avoid being pestered by them.

We didn't see the father. Evidently he is keeping well out of the way during the daytime.

Later, one of the owlets moved away from the other too. It was troubled by flies and, when one of them walked over its eye ...

... that was the last straw, and it had a good scratch to get rid of the pests.

The Little Owl in the chestnut tree hadn't come out, hardly surprising on a day when hordes of people were milling around. However, we have news of a third pair of Little Owls, and they have been heard and seen with four chicks, though I haven't seen them myself. Nor do I know exactly where they are, but it is somewhere between the Speke obelisk and the Bayswater Road, I think a bit west of the obelisk. This is where Little Owls were seen two years ago when they first arrived in the park, but they have escaped notice between then and now.

A Carrion Crow was amusing itself by harassing a Grey Heron on a post in the Long Water at the Vista, repeatedly flying low over its head and swiping it as it passed.

It had been doing this yesterday too. There is no love lost between herons and crows. Eventually the Heron gave up and flew away, uttering hoarse angry cries.

The other heron under the marble fountain at the Italian Garden was having a hard time seeing the fish it wanted to catch. It had cleared a small patch in the floating weed and was peering through it.

Here is a brief and rather noisy recording of a bird call I heard in a bush near the Italian Garden -- a short phrase repeated exactly again and again. I ought to know what it is, but shamefully I don't. I could only see the bird briefly with the sun right behind it, so it was just a black outline and I couldn't see what colour it was. It was about the size and shape of a Chiffchaff, maybe a little larger and with a slightly longer tail. I've looked up sound clips of all the birds answering that description that were likely to be there, and have come up with nothing. Can anyone help?


  1. Common Whitethroat? But I don't know it at all well. Jim n.L.

    1. Yes, after listening to several recordings I think you're right. Many thanks.