Well what a day! Had a pottering about morning then decided I would have an early sandwich and go out. Packed the camera bag and bins were in the car. Heard some birdsong that I didn't recognise so looked out into the garden - grabbed the "indoor" bins and WOW - there were three of what I believe are a Lesser Redpolls - and if someone can confirm or otherwise, I'd be delighted! (I've compared the Lesser and the Redpoll in the book but I'm still not sure)
Frantically unpacked the camera and managed to get these very much record shots but nonetheless....whey hey! - a first for my garden.
So where was I going?
My daughter very kindly gave me a year's membership of Painshill Park for my birthday so, as the weather was not too exciting, I decided to stay local and went for my first visit as a member. I like Painshill Park - it's not a formal garden but is a park as the name suggests. It has some rather interesting features in terms of the follies, many wooded areas, covers a large area with some hilly bits (for exercise), birds and is only "just up the road" so to speak! So off I trotted!
Last year there were a pair of breeding Great Crested Grebes and they successfully raised three young. So, I wondered, would they be there this year?
All the water fowl were in aggressive and pairing mood. An aggressive mute swan certainly didn't want this "intruder" in his patch.
Saw Canada Geese, Greylags, three broods of Egyptian Geese (4, 5 and 7 goslings!!). Coots everywhere and one had laid a single egg in its nest. Mute swans and some of last year's cygnets were very evident but in the minority were, unusually, the Mallards.
(Now isn't that a thrilling photo! Lol)
As I walked through the middle island I was watching the water and, wow, spotted two Great Crested Grebes way out on the lake. It was quite a distance to negotiate to get round the to right spot and no guarantee they wouldn't have moved back to the bank I'd just left.
So nothing ventured, nothing gained and I shot off at a fair old lick!
And it paid off. I must have watched them for about an hour and a half. Initially they were quite happily just swimming about. Then they started that wonderful call they have. The came closer together and, facing each other, they began to sway their heads from side to side.
This went on for several minutes and they then swam about on the lake.
A coot came close by and was very positively and aggressively chased off by (I assume) the male Grebe! Interestingly this activity seemed to produce a reaction and one of the Grebes dived down and came up with some weeds....
they then started to "dance" - only one of the grebes came right out of the water but I was transfixed as I stood there watching them.
WOW - this is the first time I've observed this springtime ritual and feel privileged to have witnessed it - fantastic!!
As I turned to leave that particular spot, I heard that wonderful "mewing" sound and looked up - yes, a Buzzard winging it's way over the tree tops. Only the 2nd time I've seen one here.
Following all that excitement, I wandered back slowly towards the car and home. On the way this Greylag was having a stretch.
Just a few "scenic" bits as I wandered about.
A piece of nature's sculpture
The Chinese Bridge - it was from here that I watched the three Grebe chicks last Spring.
This is the Grotto. Entirely man-made but fascinating nonetheless.
I do enjoy what Nature presents us with - even after the tree has gone.
From inside the Grotto looking out through one of the "windows"
Well, what a day - one full of marvellous surprises. I'm now about to enjoy a glass of the red stuff and my evening meal.
Thank you SPD - for the membership (which means I can keep an eye on the Grebes and other birds) and also for many return visits for some much needed exercise on a more regular basis :D
I still have a smile on my face now!
20 hours ago