Friday, 11 December 2009

A Mixed Week.

I'm not sure where the first part of the week went but on Wednesday I decided it was time to get out and stretch my legs. First stop was a very brief walk at Epsom Great Pond. A pair of Mistle Thrushes were having a verbal argument above me in the car park. The only inhabitants on the water were Moorhen and Cormorants. The light was poor but I tried a few shots of this individual perched on a wooded sculpture of a dragonfly. It twisted its head in all directions following my movements. A Grey Heron, Blue Tits and a Goldcrest elluded the camera.

Main location for the next few hours, after a sprint around the M25 (in the car!) , was to Wraysbury Gravel Pits. As often happens as soon as I turn up everthing moves to the far side of the water.

Even this immature Mute Swan decided to move away but the crafty 'Early Birder' waited patiently and got some more pics that I will share with you in a forthcoming post.

Scanning the water with bins and then the scope produced masses of Coot, Great Crested Grebes, Tufted Ducks, Mallard, Wigeon, Pochard, and Shovellers hiding way away under the far bank. Then this beauty popped up way out in the middle of the pit.....a male Goldeneye.  Sorry for the poor quality but digiscoped in poor light and shaking hands...yes it was cold!

Scanned around but no sign of any Smew yet but did find the resident Cormorants perched on the bare branches between the pits.

As I continued my stroll along the waterside, with the read heads waving in the increasing breeze, I disturbed a hidden Grey Heron who promptly flew away. A flock of 20 plus Long-tailed Tits signalled their presence as they foraged through the trees together with Blue and Great Tits. Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Blackbird, Jay and Crow plus a single over-wintering Chiffchaff were also present.

Further along the path I could hear the unmistakeable calls  from both Redwing and Fieldfare high in the tree tops as they constantly moved from perch to perch.

Above are two long distance shots of Fieldfare. The Redwing didn't hang around for a photo call!

In addition to the constant skwarking calls from Rose-ringed Parakeets flying around this location has a number of other noisy interuptions....the passing trains plus the planes taking off from the nearby Heathrow Airport ..... that bombard the eardrums just at the very moment I am trying to latch onto the calls of Goldfinch.

My walk takes me over a bridge where I stop to listen and look for Kingfisher and Water Rail without any luck on this visit.

As it is well past lunch time I parked myself overlooking this view across another pit and while enjoying some much needed refreshments I continued to scan around but nothing new showed itself.

The return walk back to the car produced Dunnock, Black-headed Gulls and of course it wouldn't be a birding day without a Robin Redbreast, would it!

The remainder of my week centred around dealing with A's car failing to start again on Thursday morning! Battery totally dead, so jump start, ring 'Muz' our friendly mechanic who says bring it over now and I'll fix it. True to his word we picked the car up a few hours later with a new battery plus the brakes adjusted and another minor dent in the plastic card but at least A could now safely drive to meet her friends for a pleasant evening meal.

Today has been another lazy day; foggy and overcast; so decided to refresh all the bird feeders, tidy up the patio and wrap up a few pots to protect the contents from any forthcoming frosts. The House Sparrows are continuing to use the trough planter as a dust bath, creating deeper craters each visit. I've also seen two individuals picking up feathers and dead foliage to line a roosting nest somewhere? A Blue Tit was also seen disappearing into one of the nest boxes...early nest prospecting or just looking for somewhere to roost through the winter maybe. Other visitors were Blackbird, Greenfinches, Dunnocks, Robin Great Tits and Magpie plus fly overs by Starling, Black-headed Gulls and Parakeets.    FAB


  1. Sounds like you had a nice birding outing. Wonderful photos and I love the Robin.

  2. These birding images are truely spetacular in deed!

  3. Well you observed quite a bit anyway Frank. So we wait in anticipation.?

  4. You have got some wonderful habitat there Frank, with a rich variety of wildlife . I enjoyed the post very much, I agree the light at this time of year can be the best in fine weather,and when its overcast can be more awful than normal. Glad the saga of the car is resolved.

  5. Enjoyable birding trip Frank.
    Nice catch with the Goldeneye too.

    Sounds to me like your birds are expecting a cold winter.

  6. What a great variety of shots...a nice time out and about! Sounds like you are enjoying your time off!! :)

  7. I love going on these walks with you! Such a lovely variety of birds. Your Robins are so different from ours.

  8. Hi Frank,
    Well it was maybe cold and dark but you got to see things and took some pictures. So congrats for that! There are few common goldeneyes here, and we are not that use to that as we are only supposed to get the barrow's!! But they are too far away from Reykjavik for the moment..... Still dark and raining over here... The camera is sleeping really well ;-)

  9. I really enjoy coming here and seeing your feathered friends.

  10. Steve B. Your comments are always very much appreciated.

  11. Hi everyone. Sorry for the delay in responding to all your lovely comments. Cheers FAB.

    roentarre. Thanks for dropping by and glad you enjoyed this post.


I hope you enjoyed your visit and I always appreciate your comments and feedback.


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