My blog is mostly about wildlife, particularly birds, walking, days out, all growing things and anything else that comes to mind.
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Saturday, 30 January 2010

This and that...

Yesterday I didn't get out till later in the day. I had a wander around Bushy as the sun was getting lower in the sky.

I came across a herd of Red Deer and this Mum and growing youngster were drinking from one of the streams
They were part of quite a large herd and the stags, hinds and young were still all together.

The Black-headed Gulls were, as usual, showing off and performing so I grabbed a couple of practise shots!

Today, plan A was to join many others in Richmond Park where there was to be a meeting and rally against the intended car parking charges in both Bushy and Richmond Parks.

The charges are being opposed by 80% of those consulted (how they choose who to consult in terms of the public heaven only knows). The local councils are also up in arms because of the impact on the surrounding areas and, alledgedly, they have opposed the introduction of parking charges.

It has been muted that the system will be pay and display and calculated in one hour and half hours with a maximum of £2 for three hours or more in Bushy and £3 for Richmond Park.
Additionally, the speed limit in Bushy is to be reduced from 30 to 20 mph - which is good in my opinion. It's been 20 in Richmond for some time now. I await to hear more.

The latter part of my walk in Bushy yesterday was as the sun was sinking and it gave some wonderful lighting effects to the water and, in particular, the trees.

And today?
I set the alarm early so I could get to the Richmond Park meeting, before the relevant car park filled up but circumstances beyond my control prevented my leaving in time and I didn't get there grrrrr.

So I was about to head off for a normal Saturday visit to Barnes, when a good friend rang and suggested a walk. So we headed of to Polesden Lacey in order to stretch our legs. Which we did. We walked down a steep hill and followed the public footpaths in a circular route involving several steep climbs. Part of this walk goes around Ranmore Common which is - steep!

The sun shone and the sky was blue but the temperature was cool to say the least. However after some vigorous walking uphill through the woods..

seeing new buds starting to form,
and last Autumn's seed heads still clinging on, at the top of the trees.

we finally arrived back at the cafe where hot soup and locally made fresh bread were consumed with great pleasure!

And my legs are telling me they know they've been used today.

Thanks IHD for a great outing and for suggesting it.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

A birdy trip to the supermarket and a surprise!

OK - so I needed some food from the supermarket. The grey had transmuted into a hazy sun as the day got underway. I knew I would have trouble steering the car away from Painshill on the way, so I dressed warmly for a wander. It was VERY COLD! But - a hazy sun was starting to appear.

Before I got into the park, I was aware of the bird song all around me - so much more than a couple of weeks ago. A few Long-tailed Tits darted through the shrubs.

Looking around as I headed toward the bridge and into the park, catkins were proclaiming the promise of spring!

A Blue Tit trilled from its loft perch.

As I stood on the bridge - listening to the sound of many Goldfinches, I started scanning the high tops of the trees; I was well rewarded with Redpolls, Siskins, Golfinches, Blue and Great Tits. The seed heads of the Alders (I think!), are now competing with catkins.

I like the "beigy" pinkness of seedhead.
(You may see a very blurry redpoll in the middle of the picture!)

Many of the older trees were showing signs of damage; no doubt recently broken branches suffered with the weight of the recent snow.
(and yes, another Redpoll merging into the branch! - best I could do :D )

I walked through and started my stroll around the lake. I small flash of blue which alerted me to a kingfisher. I turned off and headed down the very muddy slippery bank to the edge of the River Mole - this is where I'd hoped the Kingfisher had stopped. I scanned along looking at likely perches and to my delight - there he was perched up. Far to far away for a picture, but at last I've seen it! And thanks to my Painshill fisherman friend who kindly showed me the likely spot to see it.

My next surprise was as I scanned the lake. Loads of tufties and, well they're a funny shape!

A male and female Goosander. Now this is a first in this location and a first in terms it's the closest I've ever seen Goosanders.

Of course they were on the far side, but the sun was behind me from where I stood and watched.

I was so engrossed watching this pair, that I hadn't realised there were many more of them further up the lake. A couple of males decided to join the pair.

Then a group of four took off and flew away.

Two others decided to move back to whence they came.

I was delighted! There must have been about 10 males in total but I only saw the one female.
Many Gadwall about (again not regulars there), and one took off while I was watching.

I wandered on listening to two Nuthatches one of which I saw flitting about. A great tit sat surveying the scene. As I stood there a Wren dashed across and disappeared through the bottom of the hedge.

Many more water fowl around now the water is once again open. Canada Geese and Greylag Geese there in numbers.

It seems everything was on the move today. This Cormorant flew overhead...
before decided to come back again!

The Great-crested Grebe was about; it may be the youngster from last year. I added Coots, Mallards and a Grey Heron. A couple of robins also darted about happy to be near each other.

Time was getting on and I was getting hungry! I walked back and had one more look for the Kingsfisher, but not to see it this time.

But I did find a clump of Snowdrops - the first I've seen at Painshill this year.

Well I hadn't been there for long today, but I was well rewarded.

Oh yes - I then came down to earth with a trip to the supermarket - but at least I'll eat tonight.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Another dull one - almost

It is intended that parking charges are to be introduced (later this year) for Bushy and Richmond Parks. I, along with several hundred other people, are incensed by this. I shall be carrying out more research and will report back.

It was to visit the visitor centre in Bushy Park today to find out more info. that set me off on my walk. The sun was glimpsed, albeit too briefly, and then things went back to uniform grey.

A Black Headed Gull was calling very noisily as it watched from its high perch.
It had its beady eyes on the Grey Heron below..

The gulll then proceeded to undertake several fly pasts, dive bombing the Heron on each flight!

I wandered through the Woodland Gardens and, much to my delight, found a small clump of snowdrops in flower. Not quite opened up yet but nonetheless - snowdrops!!

And further along, a Camellia was in flower - I've seen this one before but it's still producing several flower buds.

Not a long walk and when the parking charges come in..... then it may be even shorter :(

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Dull, dull, dull....but

Well - the morning dawned. The only evidence of this was the slight improvement in the light from the total darkness of night. Another grey grey day. I really faffed about this morning trying to decide what to do. Whilst I was staring out into the garden, a bird landed on the fat feeder which is not far from the (very dirty!!) window. And - to my surprise and delight - it was a Reed Bunting - in my garden!! I'm still trying to believe this. I think it's a male his winter clothing; but, as usual, if anyone knows different then I'm very pleased to learn more.

My garden list for 2010 is not looking too bad at the moment.

Blue, Great, Long-tailed and Coal Tits
Green and Goldfinches and Chaffinches
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Feral Pigeon
Ring-necked Parakeets
Wood Pigeons
Ring-necked Doves
Blackcap (male)
Song Thrush and
Reed Bunting
and, equally amazingly, a Redpoll

Edited to add Starling, Jay, Robin and Dunnock - how could I have forgotten them - they're all regular visitors!

24 species so far - quite happy about that considering we're only 23 days into the year :D
plus: Fox, Squirrel and Common Frog (yes - 1 in the pond!!)

Today's little star in the garden.

I finally decided on a trip over to Barnes (London Wetland Centre) - arriving a bit later than usual.

I started out around the Wildside as this is where the Bitterns have been seen mostly. I then spotted a rarity (aka) - the Pete!! We wandered on.

These American Whistling Ducks were having a mutual preen but the light was dreadful and I was too late in getting the "aw" shot!

In the Wildside hide a Bittern was in view - skulking as usual but definitely there! Masses of Tufties, Shovellers, and Teal and several of the other regulars.

In a few weeks, these male Mallards won't be content sitting next to each other on a fence!

Nothing much about in terms of small birds. We headed off for the cafe for a cuppa (and some chips! oh dear.....!! :D)

Pete then left to enjoy his journey back and I wander around the other side. There have been two Water Rails in the same spot for a few days now; and you can hear them - very easily. See them - ah now that's a different story. BUT today I was in luck. Another birder/photographer was watching and listening - I wandered around the side and found - perched up -

That's the picture that made the day.....:D

I then wandered over to the Peacock Tower; a Jack Snipe was bobbing about and someone let me have a sighting through their scope - lovely.

And that was it. At the risk of sounding very very boring (or even more boring than usual) PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE could we have some sun!! Preferably at a weekend so everyone can enjoy it.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

I got out - with the camera!!!

I haven't been anywhere recently due to the bad weather. Sunday was a lovely day but I was down with Mum and no photo opportunities were available. And this must be one of the longest gaps in blogging...over a week. Scary to think that January is fast disappearing already!

After I got home after some essential supplies shopping this morning, the sun appeared!! I headed off for Bushy Park and had taken a couple of pictures when a friend rang to suggest we met up.

So we met at Barnes for a cuppa. Not many small birds about but I didn't go very far. This obliging Great Tit perched for a bit.

On one of the smaller water areas, this female Shoveler sat about

with her partner..

From one of the hides a Snipe was feeding frantically. Unfortunately the tall growth of some trees is making it almost impossible to get a decent view - and that's with the branches bare of leaves. But this Snipe came into view and fed frantically for a while.

On the way back for a cuppa, signs of spring were evident.

Not there for long but next time - hopefully - I'll get that elusive Bittern..
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