Not been able to blog much recently or visit my friends' blogs either - for the latter, my apologies but hopefully I will catch up before too long.
I managed a trip over to Barnes on Sunday to meet up with a friend. It was bright and sunny and despite the overall cold, the sun definitely had some warmth in it. Not many birds about and those that were, were having to find a bit of unfrozen water.
But the "collection" birds were entertaining. These Hooded Mergansers were hilarious to watch as they bathed in the freezing cold water.
Bit annoyed that I'd chopped the wing tip, but they move so fast!
And these were dozing in the warm sun..
Had a short walk in Bushy this afternoon..... very briefly the sun came out and the low angle lit the trees and frozen water.
Earlier in the week I had a walk in Bushy Park; it was bitterly cold and windy but the sun was out and the sky was blue! It wasn't to last though was it!
Didn't realise until I got this pic on the PC that the Black-headed Gull was sporting a ring.
Over in one of the "gardens" a resident mute Swan was preening on the frost covered ground.
The pond was mostly frozen and these two Ring-necked Parakeets seemed desperate to drink. It is very rarely that I've seen Paras on the ground. On the one main previous occasions they were at their roost and coming down onto the water-logged ground for a drink. These two were trying unsuccessfully to drink and just sliding about on the ice instead.
A chance shot as I heard this Mistle Thrush flying over - pointed the camera and at least got something even though not as I would like it to be.
A Young Deer was tugging at this branch in the expectation of a meal.
And - frozen in time - leaves where they fell and were trapped in the ice.
It's been a funny old week. The temperatures have dropped significantly and frost is about most mornings now.
Had a walk in Bushy Park and was pleased to see the Chiloe Wigeon is back on the pond again this winter!
The Beech trees shone golden in the sunlight
and a male Mandarin duck looked for food amongst the fallen pine needles of the Swamp Cyprus
Out on the boating pond later in the afternoon, the low sunlight lit this Tufy..
and Black-headed Gulls stood about on the frozen surface
and another winter returner - Punk!!
(the cross of Tufty and Red-crested Pochard)
On another day, a trip over to Painshill Park to see if the Fieldfares and Redwings were about. The light was much better this time!
This young cygnet was literally pushing its way through the frozen water, encouraged by Dad!
And a brief glimpse of a Fieldfare (one of many) as it foraged for berries about 20 feet up in the Yew tree!
On the same day and as the sun was going down, a trip over to Bushy again. The light was wonderful
(these few pictures benefit from being seen full view by clicking on the pictures - the light was really good!)
And another trip over to Painshill
and, finally, today Saturday, my usual trip over to Barnes (London Wetland Centre). It was bitterly cold - thermal socks (knee length), thermal lined trousers, thermal shirt, fleece top and weather proof jacket... it was still cold but I was toasty warm for most of the time - not glamorous, - but warm!
Everywhere was frozen and the lack of birds was noticeable.
In the new Wildflower meadow, the frost had finally caused the end of one of the poppies - amazing that they've lasted this long!
And, the saviour of the day, a robin wearing his winter duvet!!
I went back to Wisley last Sunday intending to sit quietly in the new Wallace Bird Hide and hopefully catch a Kingfisher. But, on arrival the door was locked and a notice in place advising that the hide was closed pending a final building inspection. Hey ho.. A commentator on my first of these two Wisley posts had discovered this on the Saturday as well. I've requested that one of Wisley's representatives let me know when the hide is back in operation again. So it's just a matter of - watch this space!
The light was still dreadful which was maddening as there were large flocks of Fieldfare about again. After much processing this is my record shot (seems to be more record shots these days than "proper" shots!)
But a Mistle Thrush did perch for a bit.
Walking back along the river, this Robin hopped about and entertained me for several minutes and wasn't at all concerned about my presence!