Ugh, I'm really tired. That's my excuse if this turns out to be a short post (at least in terms of wordage, it's going to have lots of photos because I've got them all ready). I woke up at 5am in order to go for a run before I headed into London for the day. It was drizzling at that time, but had cleared up by the time I left Lancaster Gate tube station, and the rest of the day was dry and warm, though very breezy with intermittent sunshine.
I'd been checking out this fabuloso blog, the author of which has picked up where Des McKenzie left off in chronicling avian activity in Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, and saw that the Little Owls had been showing well lately. Great, thought I, as I have never photographed a Little Owl properly. The blog also had some directions to the correct tree, and a link to what was apparently a photo of said tree but I couldn't get that to open up. The directions seemed pretty clear - but when I reached the right spot I could see three different contender trees (all rather wrecked-looking sweet chestnuts), and my scans of their branches revealed no Little Owls. I decided to look at what else the park had to offer and keep checking back in the hope that another birder or birders would arrive to point me the right way.
I walked down to Round Pond, the almost-circular and rather bleak lake near Kensington Palace. It was not as teeming with gulls as I'd hoped, in particular there was a dearth of Common Gulls, which I know are abundant here in winter. I suppose it just isn't wintry enough yet.
There were, alas, no birders around the chestnuts. Feeling a little tired and defeated, I sat down on a bench, and watched a nearby chap feeding the little birds. Blue and Great Tits were flying down to take peanuts from his hand.
I decided to ask the bird-feeding chap about the owls, and to my joy he was fully clued-up and immediately led me to the right tree (it's the one ringed by brambles, for anyone else having trouble finding it) and the right place to stand in relation to it.