It started with a ..... text yesterday. Grey Phalarope, Rick Pond, Hampton Court Park. OK - that's on my doorstep, but the pond - where in the park is it?
Hampton Court Park is also known (and probably more correctly) as Home Park . This park is mostly open ground with many oak trees. It has entrances off the River Thames Towpath and further away in Kingston upon Thames; from here you can drive up to the Golf Club - the golf course occupying quite a large part of the park. Apart from this, it is open park land without any facilities - which is good!
So on Friday, with not that much time to spare, I trotted off to find Rick Pond. I started from Hampton Court and walked about 1.5 miles. There was only one pond I could think of but that didn't marry up with where I was expecting to find the pond. I asked one of the groundsmen and he suggested that it must be that one - he didn't know of another. Well, it wasn't - I was sure - and by then I was out of time. I met said groundsman on my return. He then remembered where the other pond was - hey ho. So off home I went for other commitments.
I may have dipped on the bird, but I did see a small group of Fallow Deer blending in with the background.
TODAY - SATURDAY
My daughter was going into Kingston-upon-Thames and suggested I joined her and my grandson for a walk along the towpath. This we did but went through Home Park which is bordered by the towpath.
Hampton Court Palace from the road bridge. The river is very high at present, from all the rain we've been having.
Huge bunches of mistletoe adorn this tree in the palace grounds
I found Rick pond - was impressed with the size of it - it's very open - one birder looking around - plus me - BUT no Grey Phalarope. Not really surprised it had probably long gone since yesterday.
So we continued our very enjoyable walk into Kingston, having rejoined the towpath from the park. Our journey (from my daughter's home) was probably about 4 miles.
Kingston Bridge appears in the next two pictures
(if you look very closely that is.....)
View from Kingston bridge looking upstream
Having reached town, it really reinforced in my mind when I never go in at a weekend - particularly with the run up to Christmas - it was packed. We did our minimal shopping and fled for home; we cheated and caught the bus most of the way back.
I think I shall sleep tonight.
3 hours ago