So today starts my year list of birds and beasties. It started in the garden as dawn broke this morning.
Great Spotted Woodpecker (female)
Crow (from the garden)
(also had a Fox visit the garden)
and for the first time ever, in all the time I've had RN Parakeets in the garden, I saw one down on the grass - it was with three starlings. So that's an all-time first!!
then later (and additionally) at Kew Gardens
Goldcrest (saw one three times in completely different places)
23 on the bird year list in total so far..... not a bad start.
Jackie had given the heads up that Kew Gardens, to mark it's 250th anniversary was letting visitors in for free today. Given they now charge £13 per visit I thought this a good opportunity. Grey, grey skies again and not much light for pictures, but I wanted to experience the tree top walk. Equally, as Jackie and her husband Phil with a couple of friends were also going to visit, it provided a great opportunity for us to meet up - in the flesh as it were! It was lovely to meet you and many thanks for the coffee Jackie :D
I'd planned to park in the road but needless to say, there weren't any spaces so I headed off for the car park. I was expecting to pay £3.50 but this had now increased to £5.00 OK, thought I, it's still cheaper than the entrance price. It became even cheaper as, just as I was getting into my car, I offered my parking ticket to a new arrival - the driver insisted we went halves so I ended up paying £2.50 - sorted!
A few pictures -
The 118 stairs up to the top. About half way around the walk, I (and others) were aware that the whole structure was swaying. This became even more noticeable as I lined up the camera to take the picture of the Temperate House! Not a pleasant sensation, so I didn't linger, which rather spoilt the occasion!
A view of the Temperate house - not seen it from this angle before!
Near the main entrance
Around the lake
Song Thrush (wrong lens!)
(I've cropped this from a very much larger picture)
Around the Rock Gardens on my way out
And a very colourful resident having a dust bath (but I can't claim this one for my year list - BR please note :D)
The gardens were packed with people by the time I left, which was hardly surprising, and I was glad I'd arrived in the morning. Not sure, given that I know the gardens so well, that I'd want to spend £13 visiting them again in the near future though. But I'm glad to have met Jackie and Phil, experienced the tree walk - and, the highlight of the day, - the Goldcrest(s)!