I started watching the garden birds at about 7.30 this morning and in the following 90 minutes these were my visitors:
2 Robins - quite happy with each other
1 Wren - which is a very rare visitor to my garden
2 Great Tits
3 Blue Tits
6 Ring-necked Parakeets
6 Feral Pigeons (about 26 later in the day!!)
1 Blackcap (male) - yes he's still here.
Not a bad start.
The weather today is cold but dreary and I had to have some exercise. Where to? Well, I felt on the last day of the current year, I wanted to be loyal to my local patch so went for a walk this afternoon, very well wrapped up, to Bushey Park.
About 90% of all the ponds were frozen over and the (main) Boating Pond had just a couple of Canada Geese on the largest part where normally, it would be covered in birds.
I'm going to digress and have a rant now - Yes the ice was thick, you didn't need to do anything but look to know that! Around the edges of the pond is mesh wiring with large stones filling the area; this is to protect and reinforce the pond edges. Today however, a great number of these not-so-small stones had been thrown out onto the ice by visitors. This is not good. It now means that some of the reinforcement of the banks is missing and, when the ice melts, these heavy stones are going to sink to the bottom of the pond where they are not going to do any good and could become a nuisance to wildlife. Why, oh why, do people have to be so inconsiderate!!
An example of stone-throwing
OK - rant over!!!
I had a wander round the Woodland Gardens, and some of the usual residents were coping in the cold; there the water is mostly moving so not so much ice. Although the light was dreadful I did manage some pictures but, with one exception, you will have seen all the subjects before but.... it is 31 December 2008.
The highlight of the day was this Mistle Thrush
Four Mute swans were flying over
and on the Diana Pond, it was time for a preen
Canada Geese - skating...
A coot showing its very blue feet.
and the Mallards, Coots and Gulls were sleeping or moping about..
I don't know why, but seeing Black-headed Gulls in trees always looks odd to me.
and this 1st winter BH Gull has also seen something odd!
In the Woodland Garden, the Cape Teal
and a male Mandarin Duck; there were 4 pairs of Mandarins and a lone male.
Not a bad day's birding for the last day in the garden and local patch.
I wonder what 2009 will bring?
Some Waxwings would be nice...................
Small and Essex Skippers.
15 minutes ago