This week I've had several appointments - all on different days and all seem to be roundabout late morning or early afternoon. As a result this has prevented a "day" out anywhere so I've had to stay local (or be domestic - painful!!)
This afternoon I managed to make Painshill Park - not been there for a while and wasn't expecting to see much at this time of the year.
Before I left I realised I'd lost my membership card. A phone call elicted the information that the receptionist could check I was a member and give me entrance to the garden. The cost of a replacement card - £5!!!!!
As I started taking pictures, my memory card became full; two pictures later the battery ran out so I then replaced that. I'd left my binoculars and "photography" glasses in the car!! Not the best of starts.
I heard Buzzards calling as I entered the park - but couldn't spot them. I walked along and on the lake were about 40 - 50 Canada Geese. I suspect some of these were this year's young. They were travelling up the lake and had decided that flying was quicker than swimming so had a game of leap frog - small groups flying up and overtaking the previous group.
Needless to say, I was on the "wrong" side of the lake and facing straight into the sun!
I then went over the Chinese Bridge which is normally where I first see the Great Crested Grebes and yay - there was one and it is definitely a young one.
A little further along I met Tim (a member of staff how was working on the restoration of the Grotto). He was able to confirm that it was a young one but the adults had left some time ago.
We got talking birds as usual. Tim has been around Painshill for nigh on 30 years (in one capacity or another) and was able to show me the trees where I would see Treecreepers and Nuthatches. In fact, a Nuthatch called just to confirm its presence. I now also know the two places where I'm most likely to see the "grumpy old man" which is the Terrapin and, ideally early in the morning, to see a juvenile Buzzard being fed by its parents.
I then met another volunteer I've come to know and he was, as usual, working on the reconstruction of the Grotto with Tim. As he walked towards me to have a chat, "his" robin flew down onto the table. The volunteer had been finding worms for the robin who came to see if any more were on the menu.
I walked up through the Alpine Valley and around by the Hermitage. On the way, I went through the Confier woods - I heard some high-pitched birdsong and, on looking up to the canopy way above me was rewarded with the sight of Goldcrests darting from one tree to another.
I walked on and finally came through the more formal gardens. Here, I managed to watch a male Common Darter who posed for me on a fence and post!
I bumped into Tim again on the way back and he pointed out where I was most likely to see Kingfishers. Whilst I didn't spot any today, I was delighted to see this male Banded Demoisell - quite late in the season I think?
Nearing my journey's end I came across this "hybrid" mallard - she was rather pretty...
and finally - this male Banded Demoiselle - wonderful way to finish my walk.
I followed Tim's directions and found the river where I'm to find Kingfishers; but not today it seems - I just found two fishermen. Hopefully next time........
But I then heard and got to see - a buzzard flying over between the trees.
Padstow & Lanhydrock
2 hours ago