My blog is mostly about wildlife, particularly birds, walking, days out, all growing things and anything else that comes to mind.
To view pictures in larger format, just click on any picture for the picture gallery....

Saturday, 31 January 2009

Which Robin?

Last January (2008), a bird-ringer visited my garden and ringed several birds. One of which was a robin and, I believe, was my regular robin that my grandson and I named "Mr. Chips". I've had two robins visiting recently, one of which keeps me company in the garden - albeit from a distance and the minute I move, he's off. Today was different.

I've been gardening all day - I ache all over - but I got a lot done and enjoyed it. And I had company. Now today's robin was ringed; he also kept very close to me (sometimes he was only a couple of feet away and not at all concerned if I moved). I used to talk to Mr. Chips (OK so I'm a little crazy) so today I started to talk to the robin - he, like Mr. Chips wasn't at all fazed by this and just carried on his search for worms. So - I've concluded that it probably IS Mr. Chips.

My second robin appeared not long after I came inside - s/he wasn't ringed so I know I have at least two in the garden.

Whether or not he's Mr. Chips - he was a great companion to have whilst I worked. I'm now going to collapse to recover whilst you enjoy (I hope) some pictures of my gardening assistant.

Friday, 30 January 2009

A wander around Bushey Park

I was in need of exercise today having been fairly unavoidably sedentary over the last day or so. Consequently after having done some shopping and met a friend for coffee this morning followed by stopping in briefly at home for a quick sandwich, I headed off for Bushey Park for fresh air and a stretch of the legs. Dull day by the time I got there, and I walked around the Woodland Gardens today, ending up by the Boating Lake just before coming home.

My first sighting was of two Song Thrushes and immediately after by two Kestrels; next observations was a Great Spotted Woodpecker and I heard a Nuthatch and a Wren. This in addition to the normal suspects found in the park.

And... as my legs won't function without a camera over my shoulder....

A garden visitor from the other day..

Posing male Mandarin

who felt some preening was in order

Spot the odd one out?

I'm sure there's far many more Jackdaws about than in the past...

This is MY landing post....

and I'm having a bad wing day..


and Catkins... Yay!!

and I can't miss out the snowdrops.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Esher Commons - restoration or desecration

In 2005 Elmbridge Council proposed and identified their plan for "restoration" of the Esher Commons areas. There was public objection to this - there still is. The plan was formulated to cover a five year period with work being completed by 2010. Some of the objections were raised in August 2007.

One of the recent reports (in late 2008) by Elmbridge states the following

Four areas have undergone restoration works this year; a block around Black Pond, a block to the east of Black pond stretching to the newly restored area cleared in the first year, together with expanding existing areas to the south of the A3 and around Oxshott Bog. (6.5 ha, 16.1 acres in total)
I hadn't been to Black Pond since last autumn - only a couple of months ago it seems. On Monday of this week I went there - I was horrified at the bare open areas around the Black Pond area which had been heavily wooded so recently.

The main thinking behind this clearing debacle is to let the ground return to heathland - to allow heather to grow back - to allow boggy areas to redevelop and attract wildlife. My question is: what about the wildlife that depended on the heavily wooded areas and the trees for the normal life?

I spoke to two or three people on my walk - they, like me, were very saddened at so much clearance and without any plan of replanting. The Council, in their Countryside booklet, have added that the clearance of the trees will allow folks to enjoy the "views". Are these cleared areas what you would describe as a "view" to be enjoyed? I wouldn't!!!

This is what I found..,..,
Ferns growing in a rivulet running through the trees. No shade from the trees = no ferns!

One of the paths between the trees which give shade in the summer, structure in the winter and creates lovely long vistas along the pathways!

This is an area to one side of the pathway from the main road to Black Pond. It used to be a thick wood. I imagine that this is one of the areas to be returned to bog land.

Here you can see (on the right) the pathway to Black Pond. This used to run between wooded areas - it's now open on both sides.

Ice on one of the ponds.

and Black Pond itself. Note the tree line around the pond - how long will that remain?


This is rather strange - a row of about half a dozen trees has been left in the middle. Perhaps they've had a stay of execution.

If you enlarge this picture you'll notice all of the three trunks is marked in red. Does this mean it will stay? or go? I'll find out in due course.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Is it Spring - continued

My post today is a continuation of my visit to Hampton Court on Monday
(see yesterday's post below).

Having turned around 180 degrees and leaving the riverside, I now entered the grounds of Hampton Court Palace. One of the advantages of being there on a Monday at this time of the year, is that there were very few people around.

I'll leave you to continue the walk....
Of course, every outing at the moment has to have a posing Robin :D


and Snowdrops all around

High up on one of the roofs

Left-hand side of the front of the Palace

This is just by the Tiltyard Cafe

and in the Wilderness area

In a few weeks, the wilderness area will be carpeted with daffodils

And around in the "back garden/yard" of the Palace

Now around the Privy Garden (very formal!)

A Beech "tunnel"

Monday, 26 January 2009

Is it Spring?

Today the sun shone; it was warm; in fact, it was very warm - for the time of year that is! And I felt for all those of my readers who had to work today instead of being able to enjoy the weather - especially after the atrocious rain we had over the weekend.

I'd had various plans for today. Plan A - I was going to meet a friend I hadn't seen for a while. This was superseded by Plan B - which was to give a lift to my daughter to collect her errant car. Plan C - well as Plan B hadn't happened and therefore it was too late for Plan A, Plan C came into operation. Which was - a walk down by Old Father Thames at Hampton Court and a wander around Hampton Court Palace Gardens.

I started off at Molesey Lock. It was quite evident that the rain over the last few days, had swollen the river considerably. In some places it was well up over the river bank. There had been a "flood alert" over the weekend, which means that low lying ground was at risk. However, the Thames did not burst its banks and, hopefully, the water will have time to subside before any further water is added to it.

I took quite a few pictures today, so this post will be continued on another day.

Cormorant that swam into the lock.

From Molesey Lock looking upstream

Molesey Lock looking downstream

Hampton Court bridge

The "hoop" in the picture below is the top of a handrail and not normally below water!

This is the Mitre Hotel and normally you can sit outside; but today you'd need a wet suit and breathing apparatus. The posts are light posts!!

The "bush" by the post shouldn't be under water!

and neither should this grass

Pollarded trees

Behind me as I took these pictures are the grounds of Hampton Court Palace and the Palace itself.

To be continued.....
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