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....

Saturday, 27 November 2010

What a strange week for birds!

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!!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Wisley's Bird Hide - an update

I posted the other day about the new bird hide open at RHS Wisley.

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!

So, this Robin made the day for me :D

Friday, 19 November 2010

Wisley Gardens has a new Bird Hide

A new bird hide has been under construction for a while at RHS Wisley and I've been awaiting its opening. Well yesterday, 18 November it opened... and just 10 minutes before I stepped inside! Apparently I was the first "proper" birder and visitor to the hide; the dignitaries being there for the opening!

When I arrived at the gardens the sun was shining but that wasn't to last for that long.

This is probably one of the most photographed and regular pictures upon entry to the gardens.

I walked by the large pond on my way to the riverside walk

Having gone under the bridge the River Wey comes into view; this runs along the borders of part of the gardens with a golf course on the opposite bank.. a good place to spot a Kingfisher but I didn't see one from here.

Further along the path wends its way through the trees. On my way through a Great Spotted Woodie flew across in front of me and then a Jay kept me entertained for a while. A Wren was singing lustily but hidden well out of view. A group of Long-tailed tits flitted across through the trees.

Having walked along the river path and come to the end the hide comes into view.

Once inside, you can see the "wildlife conservation area" and this is the only views you can have so great to see it properly for the first time.

It's built on a very steep slope and on two levels - the entrance being the upper level and once inside, down the staircase to the lower level.

I'd spent sometime in the hide once the dignitaries had left and whilst speaking to another visitor he drew my attention to a bird on a very nearby branch overhanging the water. As I turned towards it, the Kingfisher (yay!!) flew across in front of us to the trees beyond and then out of view across the River Wey. Apparently there are two pairs of Kingfishers that breed around the area; there's also a pair of Kestrels which bred again near the hide this year.

From the hide - I saw my first Siskins of the season - about 7 of them :D

Time to wander back as hunger was taking over. A friendly robin sang as I walked.

Out across the River Wey, a family of Mute Swans was using the golf course as a resting place.

By now the sky was rather threatening..

I had Pea Soup and bread with a coffee (very nice) and then walked through the gardens on my way to the Fruit Fields.

I paid a quick visit to the Glasshouse... it was very warm compared to outside although the sun up to now had been lovely.

Outside again, the sky was getting blacker by the minute

I wanted to check out the Fruit fields for winter birdy visitors... as I walked through the Arboretum I was rewarded with the sight of a flock of some 20 Fieldfares... (no Redwings on this occasion) but the Fieldfares made a lovely sight - no pictures as my camera was safely in the bag as it was now raining quite steadily. The Fruit Fields had plenty of windfalls of apples so hopefully they can be left about for a bit to give the Fieldfares a tasty meal.

An enjoyable visit and I shall be back in the hide to watch for those Kingfishers again before too long...

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