Friday, 3 May 2013

Little Owls and sunshine at Kensington Gardens, London

Today was one of those impromptu days, where I hadn't really decided what I was going to do, but was glad I did what I did. I'd been wanting to get back to Kensington Gardens since I'd heard the Tawny Owls and their owlets had been seen. The Little Owl was also apparently showing more and more. So once I'd woken up this morning and checked the weather forecast, I headed off there. I set myself three target birds to photograph today - Tawny Owl, Little Owl and Treecreeper  - and I got two of them. The one that failed me was the Tawny owl. I did see one of the adults, but it was so buried in foliage that none of my photos came out.
As most of my birdy friends know, the Treecreeper has become my 'bogey' bird so far this year. I've not seen one, let alone be able to photograph one. Today while I was sitting on a bench taking a phone call, one flew straight on to the tree in front of me. Ending my call as quick as I could, I then had to get my camera focused on the rapidly climbing bird. So the result was one photograph in focus taken half way up a tree ! But at last I've seen one. The next 'bogey' bird on my list is the Bullfinch.
The Little Owl was the bird that made my day worth while today, especially as I fell over twice and have hurt my ankle and knee again (and broken the hood on my camera lens). I was very close to giving up and going home after my second fall, but then the male Little Owl popped out, and persuaded me to stay.
My mate, Gina, came down to join me and we had a very pleasant afternoon slowly strolling around the park, and par-taking in a glorious more-ish large Bloody Mary by the water.
Other birds of note seen today, were lots and lots of Great Crested Grebes. I spotted at least three nests with birds on, but also spotted at least eight other birds, sometimes grouped together, sometimes chasing each other, and sometimes doing a bit of practise 'dancing'.
We also saw Mistle Thrushes, Blackcaps, mating Greylag geese, a couple of mixed hybrid ducks and geese, large numbers of Mute Swans and Egyptian Geese, the usual garden birds and Ring-Necked marmites, our first fledged Blackbird and, of course, good numbers of Jays.
Kensington Gardens has to be one of the best places to see and photograph Jays. They are so used to humans, that they allow you to get very close. If you have peanuts or pine nuts to give them, all the better. Great and Blue Tits will take food from your hands here too.
So despite being in pain for the majority of the day, it turned out to be a good un-planned one.
watching me watching you. Little Owl - this is probably the male, the female was seen twice with him but very briefly. At this time of year she will either be still incubating or will be staying with her chicks.
sleep Little Owl
yawning Little Owl
watchful Little Owl
My first ever photo of a Treecreeper. I aim to get a better one than this, but it will do for now.
One of several Great Crested Grebes seen today
Jay watching Gina throwing down some pine nuts for it
Mistle Thrush
Get a room ! Mating Greylag geese
Mr Greylag after mating
Hybrid x Mallard
Hybrid X Canada Goose
Every day I faithfully read Ralph Hancocks blog, Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park Birds. His knowledge of the parks is second to none, and he has been visiting the parks for decades. He is the only 'blogger' I know that does a daily blog, so it's invaluable if you want to know where a certain bird has been seen within the past 24 hours. The link to his blog is below......


  1. Sounds a great day and lurve your owl pics!! Nice one Wendy :D

  2. Fab blog Wendy....we had a resident Bullfinch up until a week ago. Not seen him for a while....

  3. Great blog Wendy. That Mistle Thrush image is fabulous.

  4. Loving the little owl pics!!!