I've had a really good day out today and all within a 3 1/2 mile radius of my own home!
Pete wanted to see Hampton Court Palace and a local church and as I hadn't been round the Palace for some years, off we went.
Started out in Bushey Park, in a very cold wind, but at least we had some sunny spells and no rain!!! One of the first birdy spots was a family of two adult Egyptian Geese and their four goslings. I know they can breed as early as January but it was still delightful to see my first goslings of this year. We reckoned the were probably about two weeks' old.
Spotted a couple of Great Crested Grebes but they were definitely not going to have their pictures taken, and by the time we got around the side of the lake, they had disappeared completely!
Off then to the smaller of the two Woodland Gardens where, amongst others, were at least one pair of Mandarin Ducks; they can often be found in the gardens at this time of the year.
Tufties kept them company as did a young and a mature Grey Heron. The youngster was standing on the grass and somehow looked like "a fish out of water" on dry land!
Various other birds (as can be seen below) and although Ring-necked Parakeets are ever present there were definite signs of nesting activity. Two separate females were spring-cleaning holes in oak trees.
Off then to Hampton Court Gardens via the Cafe for a welcome hot drink and a wicked piece of flapjack (for me!).
After a rewarding walk around the gardens, and lunch at the Palace (!) we then went on the indoor tour. The Palace was looking very decorative today as the National Flower Association of Flower Arrangement Societies (NAFAS) had decorated nearly every room with floral displays - some wonderful creations. Unfortunately, and I don't know why, the Short Tennis courts appeared to be closed to the public, so not able to see them today.
I really enjoy the architecture of the Palace and in particular the huge, but intricate, chimneys.
Now off the St. George Church in Esher. As it was locked we had to obtain the keys from a local estate agent to gain entry. Although I did see one rather suspicious character trying to gain entry though!
And so to home. A really good day out in excellent company.
...and, of course, a few pictures.
Definitely a pair
Not sure what bird this is but very pretty nonetheless!
At first I thought it was a Marbled Teal but it is
a Cape Teal.
Young Grey Heron
Adult Grey Heron
A View down the Long Water
Wind blowing water and creating a rainbow of colour
A Beech Walk in the Privy Garden
Suspicious character at St. George Church in Esher.
Common Darter Dragonfly
10 hours ago