Saturday, 7 May 2016

A Grey Heron chick in the lower of the two nests on the land side of the island was visible for the first time today.

There was an indistinct grey mass at the other end of the nest, but it was impossible to tell whether this was another chick or a parent's head. They were not begging for food when I passed, which would have shown whether there was more than one.

A dozen House Martins were flying around the Kuwaiti and French embassies in Knightsbridge, and were attending five of the stucco roses on the underside of the cornice where they build their nests.

All these sites were on the Kuwaiti embassy. The French Embassy used to be favoured, because its front faces west and is warmed by the setting sun, so that the building acts as a storage heater at night. But when the embassy was renovated a few years ago, all the nests were destroyed and the martins transferred to the other embassy and have never returned. It is possible that the builders put some kind of obstacle inside the holes to keep the birds out, which would be a sad thing to do. In most parts of the world, having House Martins on your house is considered lucky.

There are several Starlings' nests in the eaves of the shelter at the bottom of Buck Hill, emitting cheeping noises that can be heard from some distance away. Here a parent arrives with a meal for the chicks.

The Starlings from the nests in the plane trees beside the small boathouses were on the weathervane of the Lido, looking for an unattended table with food left on it.

A Mallard had six ducklings at Bluebird Boats, and was keeping them safe from the gulls for the time being by herding them into the shelter of the moored pedalos and under the platform.

This is the latest Egyptian Goose family on the Round Pond, still with five young.

The four medium-sized young of then other family are in good order, and so are the two of the pair on the Serpentine.

Usually when Coots build nests in silly places, they give up fairly soon. But this one has made a large nest on a corner of the Round Pond, and shows every intention of using it.

By the way, the Round Pond is not round. It has a complex shape of curves and points.

The Mute Swan nesting near the bridge was covering up her eggs with great skill before going on to the lake to feed.

The Black Swan's girlfriend was flapping her enormous wings, making him look quite small.

A Greenfinch was singing in a tree near the Italian Garden.

The male Little Owl in the chestnut tree came out on a branch to bask in the sunshine.

Some readers of this blog have told me that they like to look at past entries so that they can compare events in previous years. It was hard to get to a particular month, because Blogger doesn't provide links to individual months in past years. So I have made a set of links, and it's now in the right column.


  1. Hi, can anyone tell me where I find the owls?

  2. The Tawny Owls are occasionally heard and seen, but we still haven't found where they are spending the day. Here are instructions for finding the Little Owls. However, it is looking as if the second pair have lost the yearly battle with Stock Doves for ownership of their nest hole, as they have not been seen for several days. If so, they will be in one of the other oak trees nearby to the southwest.

    Little Owls 1
    The pair are in a tree near the leaf yard, which is the railed enclosure that has the Peter Pan statue on the east side. The tree is an old, very broken sweet chestnut 50 yards from the middle of the south side of the yard, and it has brambles around its base. View it from the west side. On the left of the trunk, the second thick branch from the bottom has two horizontal slits in it next to the trunk. The upper one is the entrance to the owls' hole.

    Little Owls 2
    From the Albert Memorial, walk north towards the statue of Physical Energy. When the path intersects the bicycle track, turn left and walk along the track for 50 yards, to the next path that crosses it. Right on the near left corner of the crossing is a big oak tree. Look left for a nearby plane tree. Between these two trees is another oak tree, and the owls' hole is in this. Stand under the plane tree and look at this oak. The hole is in a big branch sticking out the right hand side a little above horizontally -- a large round hole in a large round bulge in the branch.

    Little Owls 3
    You will need binoculars. Go to the southeast corner of the square enclosure around the sculpture -- that is, the corner on the path nearest to the bridge. Look up the hill to the old brick buildings on the left of the Magazine. One of them has a chimney. The Little Owls' tree is directly in front of that, and the hole is in the left fork of this Y-shaped tree. It's maybe 60 yards up the hill from the path. Don't step off the path when looking: any movement towards the owl makes it dive into its hole.

    1. Thank you Ralph for the detailed reply! I will look for them. I enjoy reading your blog regularly so thank you.

  3. I think the Girlfriend is still growing. She's going to be spectacularly large.

    Is if for certain that she is a girl, though? She's so massive.