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, 28 December 2009

Barnes and Bushy

This morning was beautiful; clear blue sky and the sun shone brilliantly and its warmth could be felt. I headed off to the London Wetland Centre for some birds. The Bittern had been seen (and photographed) walking across the ice - but it was nowhere to be seen this morning. There were very few birds about and also few people.

Very few little birds about either - a few Long-tailed Tits were flitting high up but not much else stirred the branches.

Most of the birds worth a photograph were the usual ones but good to see nonetheless! Although most of them decided to leave as I arrived.

The Christmas Robin of course - always a favourite..
High overhead a gull soared past..
A crow found a meal in the top of the tree
Whilst a starling shone in the sunlight..

This magpie saw me coming and decided it wasn't hanging around..

and another crow decided this tree was worth of closer inspection - coming in to land!

Excellent sunshine for showing of this male Mallard's colours..

and a Moorhen gingerly walked across the frozen water

(my apologies for the large size of the previous pictures - forgot to change the settings!!)

Called in at Bushy Park on the way back. Numerous gulls around and the Boating Pond was mostly frozen. However, this made for some pictures of birds in reflective mood!

A gull talking to itself..

Female Mallard

Medley of birds in reflection..
This Canada Goose had difficulty on the ice..
and this Coot could hardly keep upright without flapping its wings..

And away from the water, a Jackdaw had a scratch.

After this the light was fading so home for the usual cuppa.....

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Sunday, 20 December 2009


As dawn broke, the sky revealed itself and gradually the sun came over the horizon. High up in the Eucalyptus in the garden, sat a Ring-necked Parakeet. Who would think it was mid December and below freezing!!

My recent winter visitors have included: Song Thrush and Redwing, the latter on four different days now. And this morning also yielded a Nuthatch. It's the latest in the year and, for the longest time, I've seen Nuthatches visiting - fingers crossed they'll stay around..

Still no snow here (thank goodness), but very very icy - not nice!

I needed to do some Christmas-related shopping and so left to arrive in town as the shops opened. Despite this I still had to drive high up in the car park. Shopping done as fast as possible and, with temper still remarkably intact, I headed for home and a quick sandwich.

I felt I had to make the most of the sunshine and headed over to the London Wetland Centre. The pathways were treacherous and it was exceedingly difficult to remain upright. I just walked around one side of the reserve; it was difficult looking in the bushes and up in the trees for birds, whilst trying to keep an eye on the icy patches.

Several Cormorants flew over..

and some Canada Geese

Around in the usual spot, the Chiff Chaff was still about; but made it quite clear what it felt about having its picture taken..

In the same group of bushes, but high up in the trees, this Goldfinch was not so bothered.

I slithered my way back to the visitor centre; disappointed at the lack of birds out on the water but it was, in the main, mostly ice and the water levels (or ice levels) still remained high after all the rain.

Home for a cuppa!

Friday, 18 December 2009

A nippy walk around Hampton Court

Snow? What snow? Unlike the rest of South East England, my small area didn't have any snow at all by morning. Whilst I heard of traffic chaos, electricity failures and school closures, together with a village in my own county being cut off by snow, my area remained resolutely normally coloured with just a hint of snowy white looking more like a heavy frost!

After a domestic start to the morning, I need to stretch my legs so decided to walk for a bit around the River Thames and then visit Hampton Court Palace Gardens.

Starting off along the side of the River Thames and looking underneath the bridge at Hampton Court towards the Palace - looks just like a sandy beach down on the right-hand side of the picture (if you look squinting through one eye with the other one closed )
and on the other side looking up river

the usual Mallards were around
Looking down river now towards Kingston upon Thames
and of course, the endemic Black headed gulls surveying their world..

Now inside the Palace grounds, this tree was covered in huge collections of mistletoe just like this "bunch"

The "front door" of the palace. I wasn't allowed in as I hadn't got a ticket - and I wasn't paying for one... I only wanted to go into the courtyard for some pictures, but - hey - "you haven't got a ticket so you can't come in"..
These sit on the wall just outside the main entrance to the palace

and mounted above the front gate
Round in the "back garden"

I wasn't really looking for birds but just enjoying the scenery, however, I couldn't resist the Wood Pigeon sitting on top of an ivy covered gateway.

And on my way out, a few Redwings flew over. One stopped in a nearby tree but played hide and seek before flying away...

Pity it hadn't posed as well as the Jackdaw.
And even the Coal Tit wouldn't come out of the shade of the branch.

It was rather nippy in the cold wind but it cleared the cobwebs nicely.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

It snowed.....!!

I'd arranged to meet Frank today for a birding walk around Richmond Park. The day dawned bright and clear and the sun was shining on frosty ground. The bird feeders were empty so as dawn broke I was out in the garden filling up the feeders - and shivering whilst I did so. Must have been minus something in terms of temperature.

By the time I'd set off to meet at the allotted time the sun had gone and it was now very cloudy. Hmmmmm thought I, don't like this very much. Having met in the car park, we walked down to Penn Ponds. En route some Ring-necked Parakeets were on the ground drinking - something I don't see very often. Managed a very poor shot - a bit of green on frost covered ground.

We walked on and by now the odd snowflake was appearing. The light now was very poor. Down on the "pond" a family of Mute Swans were having a preen.

indulging in some synchronised drinking and
blowing bubbles to pass the time!
before having a wash and brush up.

Quite a few Tufted Ducks around - looking cold. Others out on the lake were Pochards and the usual invasion of Coots!

The other pond was looking just as cold and the ice had also formed on part of this pond too.

It then started to snow in earnest ....

We walked further around towards a large herd of Red Deer. These were mostly stags but there were one or two females with young.

The, by now large snowflakes, were making focusing difficult even using manual focus.
One Stag had the right idea and hunkered down amongst the dying bracken.

The snow increased in intensity and I reluctantly returned the camera to its bag. And finally, we arrived back at Pembroke Lodge for a welcome cuppa (and, shhhhh, not to mention a rather tasty piece of chocolate cake - consumed only, of course, to give us enough energy to make it back to the cars in severe cold).

Blue and great tits were about and the odd Goldfinch. A male Great Spotted Woodpecker flew up into a tree and we saw a Green Woodpecker bounding away. As we were climbing back up the hill, a Kestrel flew down which we glimpsed briefly before it disappeared into the falling snow.

Difficult to imagine the much warmer day down in Sussex yesterday, or..

the sunset locally the day before.

And as I type, the snow is still falling - more is forecast for Friday when it could be worse...
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