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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Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Bitterns at Barnes - but not for me...

Firstly, I find it hard to believe that it's well over a week since I last posted. Not really been doing anything much and had a few local walks. But....I'd heard a rumour that a Bittern had been sighted at the London Wetland Centre. So having checked the website for confirmation I duly headed off.

As I entered a flock of Long-tailed Tits flew through - just managed a couple of records shots before they flew off again - their flight probably caused by a group of very noisy children with their very noisy mothers moving past. It's half-term!!!!!

Up in a tree a crow posed again the blue sky and sun. Today was SO warm - hard to believe that it's the end of October and there was I in a tee shirt - my jacket was in my back pack and there it stayed. Lovely!

Whilst I started on the Peacock Tower side, I did an about turn and headed off for the Wildside Hide. On the bridge immediately before it, some birders were gathered and some had seen the Bittern - before it flew over the nearest line of reeds and out of sight! Just my luck.

We listened to a couple of Cetti's Warblers (lovely!) but I didn't see them. So not my day for anything out of the ordinary then.

I was entertained however, by the antics of this Grey Heron. It kept leaping up into the air, landing, turning and repeating the exercise. This interspersed by its dipping its beak into the water occasionally but all it seemed to discover was reeds!!

It was more like watching a participator in Strictly Come Dancing with all it's pirouettes and posing.

Wings stretch and off we lift..

Jump up and raise your wings..

and now we land and stretch our neck..

Stretch forward and open beak..

now stretch our wings and arabesque..

and turn around and forward stretch..

we pirouette and glide to the left

and down to the ground so gently..

we glide along..

for the final curtsey


So a very pleasant afternoon in the sunshine. And in one hide, a family with two small boys (both under 10 I think) - both with scopes identifying the birds. Restores your faith in human nature after all the noisy kids earlier!

Sunday, 18 October 2009

An afternoon's exercise....

Considering it was the weekend I did manage to get parked in Richmond Park - surprisingly. The Red Deer were in a completely different rutting spot than usual and so I was glad I'd taken the clockwise direction around the park to begin my search. Several deer about but this seemed to be one of two "main men". He was possessively guarding his hinds and there was a great deal of roaring. About 4 young stags thought they were in with a chance but they were on a hiding to nothing!

As an aside to the rut, this young Red Deer was still suckling from Mum. It looked almost as big as Mum and I think she'd decided that it was now time it found its own food!

The chase was on when a young stag invaded the "master's" territory!

and finally, Mum relented again.

After Richmond Park I headed off to see what was happening in Bushy. Various Stags roaring but birds being comical took my attention!

Why does it always strike me as odd to see an Egyptian Goose up in a tree?

and this Jackdaw was not backwards in coming forwards looking to land on the Red Deer Hind's back. Probably looking for insects or may be even a ride!

and a Canada Goose was trying to look threatening..

Not a bad walk today and got some exercise - at least the sun shone intermittently which was good!

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Over the week.....

Last Saturday I popped over to the London Wetland Centre at Barnes. The sun came out briefly bringing with it a couple of lizards. But nothing remarkable in terms of birds...

Interestingly, this lizard had lost its tail - poor Stumpy :(

During the week I had a wander around Bushy and the Red Deer stags were roaring. However, this Fallow Deer Buck was having a rest and looked decidedly sleepy.

Today I went back to Barnes; it was good to catch up with some fellow birder/photographers that I hadn't seen for a while.

The weather forecast had promised full-on sun by the middle of the day; the weather forecast - was wrong!! Dull and cloudy except for about 3 minutes.

This brief spell of sun did coincide with a hovering Kestrel though; quick adjustment to the camera settings finally produced these shots.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Deer Hunting

If you've been watching Autumn Watch you may well be bored rigid by all the deer activity again - so you may not be that interested in this edition of my own "Autumn Watch - Deer Rut Watch".

I've had a couple of trips into Bushy and Richmond Parks during last week with varying success in finding the "stands" of the rut. The numbers of deer to be seen have varied and generally they are easier to find in Bushy Park as it's smaller. But it's more dramatic to witness in Richmond Park as there's more open ground. However, a selection of deer pictures taken over a few days in both parks.

In Bushy Park this stag was crossing the pond.

Now into Richmond Park where this stag had been successful in his pursuit of a hind..

a Fallow Deer (one of many) galloped by as the Red Stag roared

and a group of Fallow Deer were being chased by a dog...!!!!!

Later on these were resting by the Rugby posts!!

Then on Friday another trip into Bushy with Malcolm. We found the stags by listening to their "roaring".

as sometimes it's very difficulty to see them amongst the bracken!

A bit of birding as this Mute Swan flew along the pond

whilst a Grey Heron posed unconcerned!

These two young Stages were practising but it was very weak willed!

On our way back to the car we heard a wren singing! It briefly posed but was really too far away for any sort of picture!

A female Pochard swam her lonely swim. Wonder if they'll be others to join her

And, most unusually, this Ring-necked Parakeet ( a male) was on the ground. The other (the female) was the other side of the tree. I've only seen them on the ground on two occasions before and that was to drink from puddles!

As we entered Richmond Park our first sighting was of a Green Woodpecker who let us get reasonably close for a picture or two

and finally, lunch in the cafe and then back to avoid the Friday afternoon rush hour.

I shall be back to visit the rut again.
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