Friday, 4 March 2016

A Sparrowhawk circled high over the Serpentine and was observed by Takaki Nemoto, who took this fine picture.

There were other predators around, and the Egyptian Geese at Bluebird Boats are down to five young. But they were following the instruction to look both ways.

One of the young rabbits near the Henry Moore statue was grazing peacefully under the eyes of four Grey Herons wanting it for lunch.

On the other side of the enclosure, a worm met its end in the beak of a Song Thrush.

A Kingfisher was looking for fish on the usual post on the Long Water.

A Lesser Black-Backed Gull gave the camera a menacing pale-eyed look as it called to its mate.

The Black Swan and girlfriend number one came over to be fed by some girls. The girlfriend bit one of them painfully on the hand.

Some Tufted Ducks were prettily lit on the Long Water.

And so was a Blue Tit in the yew tree near Peter Pan.

A Little Owl looked out of the oak tree and puffed itself up to emit a loud call.

I found the second box that had been put up for the Tawny Owls, in a lime tree a few yards south of the original nest tree. It is only 20 feet above the ground, much too low. The first box is 30 feet up, which is a bit too low as well.


  1. Pauline Gilbertson4 March 2016 at 23:30

    Whoever is in charge (Royal Parks Authorities?) should welcome you onto their advisory panel, Ralph. You must know more about the birds in the parks than anyone. Such a waste if a nesting box is badly sited. I would think that the Little Owls need all the help they can get, to encourage successful breeding.

    1. Pauline Gilbertson4 March 2016 at 23:32

      I meant the Tawnies!

    2. I think the Tawnies have already found a new natural hole in a tree. In past years they have started nesting remarkably early, one year in late December so that the owlets emerged from the nest on 28 February. Probably caused by inner city temperatures being a couple of °C above the surroundings.

  2. What's the rarest bird ever to have bred in the parks?

    1. Two birds have bred here just once: Mandarins and Red-Crested Pochards. These are quite common species, though both have only recently established a native population. Hobbies are rarer, but one pair of these nests here and breeds every year.

  3. How many mute swans are there in the park and of this number how many are juveniles? How many breeding pairs are there?

    1. A bit over 100, but swans arrive and leave.
      Eight at the moment, I think.
      As many as can find nest sites. In most years, three or four pairs.