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, 11 May 2009

Shopping - with a difference!

I didn't sleep that well last night (Sunday) and although the alarm woke me at the usual time, I must have gone back to sleep. Fortunately I had a text message which reminded me time was passing, but I don't like oversleeping!!

Decided a domestic day was needed. Some food shopping was necessary and the grass needed cutting; the filter in the pump of a water fountain also needs unblocking - the water's hardly coming through!

So, a bit after 10.00 a.m. I set off for the supermarket about 4 miles away from me.

Now - on the way to said supermarket, I have to pass Claremont Gardens (National Trust property); two areas of Esher Common and (with about 2 minutes detour) Painshill Gardens. I use the word "pass" rather loosely as today I had difficulty passing some of them! I managed to "pass" Claremont Gardens, but as I was approaching the small car park for Esher Common, my car (after undertaking all the correct driving procedures) found itself - in the car park - parked - engine switched off - boot open - and offering the driver her camera bag etc.

So, I couldn't upset my car and duly I headed off for Black Pond which is known for damsel and dragonflies. Very little about but the sun was fairly weak and the strong northeasterly wind was, I imagine, keeping everything fairly low down.

As I walked around the pond area two or three Chiffchaffs kept me company and over on the far side a Reed Warbler chuntered away.

I was heading back to cross the main road, when I was aware of small birds flitting across the path in front of me. Finally, I managed to locate a, by the looks of the gape, very newly fledged Long-tailed Tit!

That was about it for that side of the common, so I crossed the road and headed up throught the Ancient Wood. Bird song and a Green Woodpecker called. Not much to be seen though. So down the South Steps and along by the river. A couple of mallards and a moorhen swam about but nowt else. It's not a stretch of the river that normally has many birds though.

It was quiet and occasionally a dog walker would pass me with his/her canine companion. I was standing still listening when I heard more Long Tailed-tits; much fluttering in the branches of the trees growing on the slope to my left.

Finally I located them. A couple flew off (the parents I think), and the remainder settled down. I managed to get through the stinging nettles (thank goodness for denim!) and, with difficulty got a couple of reasonable shots.

Now, I think there are eight of them - but.....

OK - must get the shopping but when I got to the appropriate roundabout, the car wouldn't get beyone the first exit so it forced me into the car park at Painshill! Well, the sun was still shining!

Equally by now I was getting hungry (it WAS 1.00 p.m.) and Painshill have a cafe.

As I wandered around the start of the lake I was overwhelmed with Canada Geese and their Goslings. A group of four adults had 18 goslings between them. A further two sets of parents had four and seven respectively and a final couple had three - albeit theirs were very young ones.

At one point they all seemed to merge together and there was just a mass of little fluffly bundles!
So here's a selection - BEWARE cuteness overload!!

(Two of the three really young)

I walked around the lake. Now that the birds have paired and produced young it's very quiet. I saw a further group of young Canada Geese, and a couple of pairs of Greylags had four and seven young respectively.

I was delighted to find both Great Crested Grebes and they are building a new nest. This was added to while I watched. There was some lip service paid to courting in a little head waving but not with much enthusiasm. Despite this they stayed together whether alert or dozing. Somehow I don't think they'll produce further eggs now.

It seemed to be a day, for close ups of birds
Male Mallards have such amazing colours when lit by the sun.

When down by the river in the other part of the woods, I'd seen quite a few damselflies and Banded Demoiselles - but they wouldn't stay put for long enough.

However, towards the end of my walk I was aware of several damselflies coming out of the water onto the sun-shine yellow of the irises and the green of the water plants at the edge of the lake. It was amazing!! I then realised that the majority of them were Banded Demoiselles - fantastic!! I just stood and watched

So - put camera into action and I was there for some time.
I'm not sure which damselflies these are - so if anyone can help (not much detail I'm afraid!)
(Please click on the pictures to enlarge for the finer details of the Damsels and Demoiselles)

EDIT: Thanks to Warren and ShySongbird's HLH for the ID of
Common Blue Damselfly

The first male demoiselle to land anywhere where I could see it properly!

and probably the only female seen today

I'm assuming this is a shed skin..
EDIT thanks to Dean for the ID of Mayfly

EDIT - Thanks to Dean for advising that this is a Mayfly being a meal for the Demoiselle (I'd thought it could have been a skin being shed!)

Hey ho, time I wasn't there - it's now 4 o'clock and I still need some food!
Needless to say the grass didn't get cut and the pump didn't get sorted. But there's other days for that... and I'd had a great impromptu day's wildlife!!


mick said...

What a great day! The newly fledged Long-tailed Tit is fantastic as are all those others packed together on the branch. Goslings are definitely cute! but the damselflies on the iris are fantastic photos!

Liz said...

Wonderful photos Tricia, how cute are those LTT's??!?!?!??!!!

*keeps fingers tightly crossed for some to visit her*

I can't believe your car kept on taking you to the wrong place, my mum's used to do that too surprisingly! :)

Midmarsh John said...

Terrific photos all round, Tricia. Very hard to choose my favourites though probably the young LTTs all lined up and the first of the cuties.
Whatever you do, don't ever change your car :)

Miranda Bell said...

Love the photos of the little long-tailed tits in particular - how cute are they! The adults are lovely enought but these are just adorable... Must admit love the ducklings too.

A good time of year for all the "Aw factor" photos!

looking forward to more pics - Miranda

Lynmiranda said...

I love babies, the birds that is (human babies are Ok) Great pictures of the Long-tailed tit's babies. Judging by your picture it looks like they might be having another good year for producing young.

Chris said...

Wonderful day even if the night was hard with you. I love the long-tailed tit colony on the branch. it is rather funny to see them all like this!! Very funny. The mallard portraits are exquisite!!

Steve said...

Great catch with the LTTs, Tricia. Cuteness abounds.

holdingmoments said...

So much better than shopping! :)
Great post, as ever Tricia, with superb pictures.
That line of LLT's, is a cracker.
The first gosling picture is a knockout! Definitely one for hanging on the wall.
Have to agree about the male Mallard, he is handsome when the sun catches him and shows his coloured head.
Damsels and Demos, brilliant!

Tricia said...

Mick - Thank you. The colours of the Banded Demoiselles are fantastic.

Liz - The LTTs did look wonderful all snuggled up together.

John - Thank you. I've never seen LTTs all lined up like that before. I shan't be changing my car for many a year!

Miranda - Thanks. LTTs are one of my favourites and I was lucky to get them sitting still!

Lynmiranda - yes it good well be another good year; if so that would be great!

Chris - thank you. Very cute but lovely to see them all in a row.

Steve - thanks and yes - Spring should be renamed "The Cute Season"

Tricia said...

Many thanks Keith - and yes, that sort of day beats shopping anytime!

I love birds but damsels, demos and dragons keep me fascinated for hours; especially at this time of the year when they're emerging!

Pete said...


damsels are nice

Anonymous said...

Oh lovely! I especially liked the baby bumbarrels sat all in a row. Almost couldn't bear to look at the goslings as there was so much cuteness!


Anonymous said...

Hi Tricia, the LTT images are just great. What a lovely family photograph. The Canada Goslins are cue of course and you have found plenty of Damselflies already.
Umm. You car has the will power of a drunken gnat. {:)

JRandSue said...

Love your Blog to bits,your Damsel
Images are excellent,very impresed.

oldcrow61 said...

Cuteness overload indeed, lol. Those babies are so cute. Wonderful shots.

swatson said...

cant believe that pic of the ltt's brilliant

Warren Baker said...

Nice post today Tricia. I think the Damselflies are Common Blue.

PS have you eaten yet!

Tricia said...

Thanks Pete. Right place, right time for the damsels.

Mara - rather a lot of "cute" about at the moment!

Roy - thank you. My car - no will power!? Sigh - you may well be right of course :)

John - thank you for your very kind comments. I did rather like the damsels - they're wonderful to watch!

OC - I think I might reach maximum cuteness overload level before too long :D

Sheila - I think the LTT babies will, for me, go down as one of those special moments!

Tricia said...

Hi Warren - thanks for the ID - I will check that out. Didn't really see enough of them for a positive ID.

And yes, thank you for asking, I have finally eaten! LOL

Anonymous said...

Hi Tricia.
What you thought was a shed skin, is a Mayfly, as is the other one, but that one is lunch.

Great set of pics btw.

The Early Birder said...

Well, well, easily diverted but worth it I'd say. If only it was as easy to skive off work!
Love the LT family portrait & the damselflies.

Tricia said...

Dean - thank you! Something about my own interpretation just wasn't ringing or looking true!

Frank - The phrase "gets easily distracted" was invented for my school reports! :)

I did wonder if the nest was close by but no obvious signs of it - probably too small to see in the well-leafed trees anyway.

Jan said...

Awww some very cute birdies there and lovely photos Tricia. You sound so like me, I always intend to do things around the place but can nearly always find things to do elsewhere which are far more important!

ShySongbird said...

'Ooooh look!', I screamed on a very high pitched note when I scrolled down to the LTT family, and HLH nearly fell off his chair! I have never, ever seen a capture like that Tricia, any magazine would pay well for it I would guess, it is really absolutely stunning, thank you so much for sharing it, you have made my day!

I loved all the other photos too, and now HLH has recovered from his ear bashing he says he is positive the damselfly is the Common Blue!

Tricia said...

Hi Jan and thanks. Distractions are normally good things eh!

J - Glad to hear HLH didn't actually fall off his chair! Lol

The LTT picture is definitely born out of patience - just watching for a time and then seeing them on the branch.

Thanks to HLH for the Common Blue ID

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

This is a very nice selection of photographs.

SPD said...

haha you def have the best supermarket trips mum. I love the photos of the damsels really clear and vibrant.
Thanks for yesterday too!
loads of love

Tricia said...

Leazwell and Abe - thanks for visiting and for your comments!

SPD - it was an excellent day wasn't it! (Pity about the weather on our supermarket trip today though)

neil said...

great photos, I hadnt realised so many damsel species had now emerged. As for ids, the first damselfly pair are one of the red eyed specis, Im fairly sure theer Small Red-eyed damselflies, your demoiselles are banded demoiselles (just in case you didnt already know).

Great LT tit family portriat btw :)

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