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!!
20 hours ago