I was expecting to have a commitment today, but it didn't materialise so, on the spur of the moment, I went over to Barnes (The London Wetland Centre) arriving there at opening time - 9.00 a.m. But they opening times have changed so had a thirty minute wait until 9.30 a.m.
However, whilst waiting I was listening to a Reed Warbler singing away and a Mute Swan was posing nicely.
Large numbers of Sand Martins about nesting in the Sand Martin Bank and also very many House Martins. Walking through I and a LWT volunteer, stood for some time trying to see a Sedge Warbler than was so close to us. We only managed a glimpse of it's head it was so well hidden.
Later on, Marsh frogs could be heard all around.
Nothing spectacular in terms of other birds as, although I didn't know it then, the best was yet to come. I was treated to the sight of a hovering Kestrel but was shooting against the sun, so the picture is not even good enough as a record short.
On my way to the Peacock Tower, I was delighted and entranced as I stood watching a party if eight young Long-tailed Tit fledglings and managed to get some reasonable shots.
Near to time to go home, I came across a family of Little Grebes, Mum, Dad and three young. They were only a few feet away and stayed there for quite a while.
At one point a Coot came around a corner of reeds behaving very aggressively towards the Little Grebe family. Instantly they all dived and one parent resurfaced only to be chased yet again by the Coot. This lasted quite a few minutes until the Coot finally disappeared with no harm done. Phew!
Whilst admiring and photographing the grebes I met two other birders and keen photographers; so a very friendly and enjoyable conversation ensued about birding and cameras and lenses etc. If either of said gentlemen ever get to read this, thank you for the conversation.
I'll let the pictures tell the tale now.
(Note: double clicking on the pictures will enlarge them, and the
pictures of the Long-tailed Tits and Little Grebes will benefit from a
Posing Mute Swan
Young coot having a bite to eat
And, one of the stars, a Long-tailed Tit fledgling
(probably my favourite of the LTT pics)
Please do not adjust your set, as they say -
these pictures ARE the right way up!
And the Little Grebe family....
This one has a great deal of "aawwww" IMHO
I'd never realised that the youngsters wore spectacles!