I have, currently, my Grandson staying with me and this morning the heavens opened and it tipped it down. By lunchtime the wind had chased the black clouds away and left us with scudding white clouds, a little blue sky and a small amount of sunshine.
So after a quick bite to eat we headed off to Richmond Park for some exercise and fresh air.
Walked around the wooded area and down to Pen Ponds. These are two ponds, at completely different levels, separated by a causeway. The lower of the two ponds was playing host to.....
A family of 8 Mandarin ducklings who were swimming about in the wind-whipped water. It was blowing a gale by now!
We noticed that one of the little ones was often swimming by itself and then..
my Grandson noticed that it had a nasty and bloody injury on the back of its neck :(
We continued walking as about a dozen Swifts shot around us and dipped, skimming the pond water as they went - great to watch and listen to their screaming as they again whirled overhead.
A pair of mallards came into land as we stood on the bank, trying to stay upright in the wind.
Coming into land...
"Mission control - we have lowered the undercarriage"
"We are ready to touch down..."
"We are touching down, can't abort landing now..."
"We have touch down"....
"Mission control - we have landed"
A very large rough area covered with tufts of grass and last year's dead bracken has several warning notices around it - this is to keep walkers and their dogs away to protect the nesting area of Skylarks. We heard a few and I think it was the young calling. Nothing was flying! But I head a different song and then finally saw this lone Reed Bunting perched up nicely.
Having completed our circuit of the pond and coming back to our starting point, we came across this Mute Swan family of 5 cygnets.
Dad was being very aggressive and an Egyptian Goose was firmly chased away..
whilst this female Mallard dared to come rather close..
and hastily changed course at the last moment
Off swam the Swan family but..
Dad was being unnecessarily aggressive this time. The Mandarin and her youngsters were huddled by the bank having a rest, when the Cob, hissing loudly, pecked at the mother bird. This caused them to swim off.
(Click to enlarge and the Mandarins will be found in the bottom right-hand corner of the picture)
Now, I asked myself, could the Swan have been a contender for causing the injury to the young Mandarin duckling. We'll probably never know.
Having been battered about quite enough by the wind, we headed back to the car - just as the heavens opened again.
But we'd had a wander and some excitement so now - back home.
Lovely White Hawk
4 hours ago