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....

Monday, 30 November 2009

Light and dark

Grey skies, sunshine, torrential rain, hail and very cold winds. If nothing else our weather in the UK is varied; but I'm not complaining - my home is dry and, since the local authority put in a flood relief scheme in the 1950's (before I lived where I do), my home is dry and not under flood water. I have a lot to be grateful for.

Last Friday I went down to Sussex to give my daughter a lift back up this way. Her car (a 1979 Mini) was ready having had some work done to get it through the MOT! It passed. When the car was being filled with petrol, the tank gave out. It's now gone back to it's carer and hopefully will be ready to come home again this coming weekend!!

I went a bit earlier and had a "walk" along the beach. I started into the wind and although I took some shots of Turnstone and Dunlin they were too poor to save. I couldn't hold the camera still in the wind! But the grey skies and very occasional glimpses of the sun made for some interesting shots.

And today, I managed to escape and get out to stretch my legs. Only went as far as Bushy Park and again, had a mixture of sunshine and very dark skies!

The wind was strong so I headed off for the Woodland Gardens; the colours are good at the moment.

It seemed, after that part of the walk, as though everything was up in the trees.
This squirrel, one of three, was eating high up

and precariously balanced..

teetering towards the end of the branch
where it sat and ate oblivious of...

being out on a limb!

A Grey Heron flew up into another tree...

I'd been attracted to it by the noise of several protesting Ring-necked Parakeets. They either start dive-bombing the Herons or they fly off. In this instance (there were about 15 of them), the 11 (ish) that are in this picture, got bored waiting for the Heron to go and left.

On the way back to the car, the sun briefly glimpsed through the cloud as this Red Deer Hind turn back to see who was there..

Got back to the car in the dry!!

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Strange orange light in the sky..

Today as dawn broke, the sun also stopped being shy and shone brilliantly.. and no, I'm not hallucinating; least I don't think I am!

I'd arranged to meet Hugh at the London Wetland Centre, so was pleased it wasn't bucketing down for a change.

Before I left, and just after the sun arose, the early morning birds were around in the garden as usual and, in addition to about 15 goldfinches, the usual mob of Ring-necked Parakeets were around. As the light wasn't too bad I managed a picture or two of some of them.

In the apple tree - best feeding station for miles around..

and when you arrive in the garden, you perch on a branch of the Eucalyptus tree.

So off to Barnes. This Great-Crested Grebe obliged us whilst having a fishy meal..
followed by a wash and brush up and...
a quick drink..
before having a look to see what else was around!

Later on, from the Peacock tower, something had sent up a large(ish) flock of Lapwings...

The sun then disappeared behind threatening grey clouds, so we decided a cuppa was a better option.

On the way back, a Mute Swan landed on the water near us.

The Bittern was in its usual spot, but unseen by us. When asking when it had last been seen, the reply was "about one and a half hours". We headed for the cafe....

A pleasant morning in the sun... A rarity in itself.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

A bitty day....

The sun was shining and the sky blue at about 7.15 a.m. this morning. It stayed that way so I headed out. I reached the car park at my destination when the heavens opened! I came home and the sky blackened, the rain came down in torrents and the gale blew!!

By early afternoon, the sun had come out again so I grabbed the camera and headed off for Bushy Park - the wind was still a gale so I headed for the Woodland gardens for some shelter.

Unintentionally, the camera setting was on Black & White which I noticed after I'd taken this picture!! It's "different"!

Posing in it's true colours

The Red Deer are more relaxed now the rut is over although the males are still with the females. I suspect before long, the males will be on their own again.

The dying vegetation of Autumn provide good background colour for this male Mallard

And a young cygnet peeped above the stream-side grass

Needless to say, the gulls were posing as normal whilst trying to catch the bread thrown up by children.

(for Paul :) )

And an Egyptian Goose was having its feathers ruffled by the wind.

Not much after that as the sun was covered again by grey cloud so I headed off home. So a quiet afternoon..

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Blue sky at Barnes...

Given the forecast stated heavy rain this afternoon I headed of for fresh air, exercise and birds at Barnes.

Yesterday, I'd had another visit from the Sparrowhawk who seems to like this particular branch of the apple tree. The secateurs are coming out tomorrow to remove the dead twig....

The sun shone for a bit and I saw that rarity again - blue sky!!

This little Grebe came a bit closer than normal and fortunately the reeds in front of the hide have now died down a bit!

Everything else was too far away for any reasonable pictures. However, on my way back to the visitor centre, I came across a flock of Long-tailed Tits and also.....

I was looking into the sun, but was hopeful...

So I managed to walk underneath and around to the other side and I wasn't disappointed!
Chiff-chaff; one of three of them.

S/he then did a little hop

before turning around to face the other way.

Further around the sky clouded over and the wind got up, causing this Wren to have a bad hair day!

I'm sure this is the same frenetic Grey Heron I saw the other day. Again it was jumping up and down and "pecking" at vegetation in the water.

And finally, as the rain started on my way out, this cygnet decided it might as well have a sleep.

And so to do some food shopping and finally home; the promised rain had arrived now!

Sunday, 15 November 2009

A Bittern sighting again...

My apologies as, once again, my posts are becoming like buses - nothing for ages then....

I awoke this morning to find that, as dawn broke, the sun came out and the sky was blue; and the wind had dropped. So I headed off for the London Wetland Centre in search of birds and Bitterns. Nothing particularly noteworthy in terms of birds; the water level after the torrential rain had risen considerably; not good for waders!

But the Bittern was finally spotted in a different place from where I'd seen it before. It stayed shy for most of the time but eventually ventured a little nearer the waters edge before disappearing into the reeds again. Miles away so only a record shot.

Whilst we stood waiting and waiting, this Canada Goose flew overhead.

Finally I abandoned my watching post and came across this Great Crested Grebe having a stretch..

Up in a bush as the day wore on, a Robin serenaded me with it's wonderful song. There's something about Robins of which I shall never tire...

A Shoveler posed on my way out..

and the sun caught the Swan statue at the foot of Sir Peter Scott.

As the sun was getting lower in the sky, I popped in to Bushy on the way home. Loads of people about so didn't stay long and hadn't the daylight time to go much further into the park.

A Mallard caught the sun as it preened

And the ever present Black-headed Gulls were competing for food as usual..

Lovely to have the sun and no wind or rain. Charged the batteries somewhat....
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