My blog is mostly about wildlife, particularly birds, walking, days out, all growing things and anything else that comes to mind.
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Monday, 30 March 2009

A bit of Wisley and ........ Grebes

This was the sky colour on Saturday and

on Sunday morning!

And today? The day dawned cold and frosty but with glorious sunshine. Where to today? I needed to stay within easy reach of home so I looked up a couple of National Trust sites that are close together and not far from me - and guess what? Yes! they were closed on a Monday.

So off I went to RHS Wisley.

Started by going up to Battlestone Hill to see what bird life was about. Around the feeder area were a few Siskins, Great, Blue and Coal Tits; Robin, Chaffinch and a Nuthatch. Wandering around the gardens I heard Great Spotted Woodpecker and saw (down by the River Wey) a Green Woodpecker. In the Pinetum I saw a few Long-tailed Tits dashing through the trees.

Siskins on Battlestone Hill

Male Chaffinch

Wandering along the path at the bottom of the Rockery, other visitor were throwing bread into the ponds - which the fish obviously appreciated!

In the Pinetum, my first Red Admiral of the year - whey hey!

A pink Magnolia had suffered in the morning frost

but this Camelia seemed OK.

A Honey Bee (first one I've seen this year) was enjoying this Rhododendron flower

and buds about to burst!

and in deepest Surrey (and Wisley in particular) we have a Brown Bear!
(No doubt a bit quieter than OC's real life visitors!)

After a chat with Frank I headed off home. I'd had a phone call from my friend Hugh as I arrived at Wisley and, as he's hoping to visit Bushey Park to see the Grebes, I felt I should check to see if they were there and yes - they were.
As was this Mute Swan who was travelling at some speed having taken exception to a group of three Canada Geese who'd obviously wandered into his space. There's a female Swan on the nest nearby so this may be the cob!

And yes - the breeding pair of Great Crested Grebes were there and again their activity ensures the continuation of the species!
When I arrived, the male was down one end of the Boating pond whilst the female was around the nesting area. Her plaintiff calls went unheard for quite some time until finally the male arrived from the other end. After a while they started the courtship ritual with necks being stretched and some head swaying. All this was behind the two lateral branches that appear in the following pictures. A pity really as they looked splendid!
The female was reaching up to the branch above - I'm not sure why but if anyone knows.......

"Dancing" heads!

Just not to disappoint Roy, I shall be returning to Grebe HQ!


Warren Baker said...

I can smell those flowers from here Tricia. Well done on your first Red Admiral, yet to find mine!

mick said...

Beautiful spring flowers - the contrast with this side of the world is fascinating. Loved the Grebes - more again next time please!

Midmarsh John said...

Glad you got some sunshine at last. Love the flowers as well as the birds. I've just got to know - what is that tall tree in the middle of the garden?

Cheryl said...

Hi Tricia....I love this time of year when everything seems to be a voyage of is great when the bees and butterflies come back...

The poor magnolias do suffer when it is frosty....they are such beautiful blooms but I would not have one, they always seem to get damaged by our weather.....

Tricia said...

Warren: good luck for your first Red Admiral - with the weather improving it may be sooner than you think!

Mick: I'm sure I can find some more pics as time as on. But don't want to bore everyone!

John: Thanks. The tall tree is Eucalyptus Gunii. I planted it about 15 years ago when it was about 18" high! It's now about 50 feet and I've already had the top 1/3rd taken out. But the birds love it as a tall perch.

Neil said...

Excellent set of sightings and great photos. I havent seen much of my local grebes this year, something I will attempt to change soon :)

Anonymous said...


What an incredibly photo rich blog you have! And excellent quality too. Thank you. Keep up the good work.. all the best..

Tricia said...

Hi S Biddulph Thank you for your kind comments and for dropping in!

holdingmoments said...

Those blooms look stunning, really colourful. The Grebes lovely as ever, and the power in that Swan!
Great stuff.

Mel said...

Hola Tricia :)
Such a nice day! I enjoyed your excursion as much as if I was there!
Thank you for the pics and the walk, it is always a joy.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that Tricia.
Beautiful flowers and a nice red Admiral.
Reference the Mute. The 'Cob' has the bigger 'Knob'. (If you know what I mean) {:)

shirl said...

Hi again Tricia , wow… lovely images from your trip to Wisley!

Great to see the Admirals and the blossom but the Grebes stole this one for me. It must be wonderful to see theses dancing heads for real… goes green with envy ;-)

Tricia said...

Cheryl: it's a great time of year with so many "firsts". I love the anticipation of all the new growth and the flutters and dragons arriving.

Neil: Thanks. I really hope you get to see your Grebes very soon :D

Holdingmoments: The swan was amazing as he pushed through the water causing it to ripple as it did. Wonderful to watch.

Roy: :D I shall have to observe the swans more closely - although when they're not close together it's not that easy to spot the differences!

Shirl: good to see you here again :D

It's the first time I've seen any part of their courtship so a wonderful surprise and really good to be able to see it.

avalon said...

The sky looked very menacing on saturday! Its great seeing everything spring into life, great piccies as always you seem to capture the most beautiful things at the right time, thankyou for sharing them with us!

ShySongbird said...

Lovely photos again, the Camelia is beautiful and I love the frothy looking Rhododendron.
The female Great Crested Grebe looks like she was posing just for you! If she had been a little closer to the branch she would have looked like part of it!

Jayne said...

Lovely photos's yet again, I loved the floral ones so clear and sharp!!

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