Last week I made a return visit to Richmond Park on a very cold and icy morning. My stroll started through one of the enclosures mainly planted with rhododendrons; the branches hanging low over the dark and muddy path so I had to duck and dive my way forward.
I exited into a wooded area with the constant sounds overhead of Parakeets squawking and Jackdaws 'kyack..kyack..kyacking' as they moved from treetop to treetop. A pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers appeared but only one of them rested briefly above for a moment or two.
A Wren sang out and quickly disappeared deep into the brown bracken. I spied a Meadow Pipit on a
distant perch while attempting to capture these Parakeets high above me.
Then the silhoutte of a Blackbird and a Jackdaw.
No evidence yet of nest inspection but I bet this hole will provide a comfy location next spring.
A misty view across the frosty common as I started to walk towards the ponds trying to maintain my equilibrium on the icy pathway while admiring the shapes of the dead trees still reaching for the sky.
Not totally surprising, most of the water was frozen apart from a small area where Coot, Tufted Duck, Moorhen, Pochard and a pair of Red-Crested Pochard plus the Gulls were hanging out. Now to find a safe spot to take some photos.
A family arrived nearby and started throwing small pieces of ice across the frozen pond towards the wildlife who were not impressed. Then the family started shouting at their very large dog who had walked out onto the ice. I was so gobsmacked, waiting for the inevitable to happen, that I forgot to take any pictures! Fortunately the dog eventually responded to its owners pleading calls and gingerly returned across the creaking ice to firmer ground and then they departed.
During this interlude a young man arrived and after a brief verbal exchange we both settled into our firing postions just as another family arrived and their daughter asked "Is it alright to feed the ducks?" We looked at one another.......how could we refuse and the Coots quickly responded by making there way towards us.
This actually enabled us both to get a few close ups as many of the Coots and then a single Moorhen headed for the shoreline plus Mallard and Black-headed Gulls slipping and sliding on the ice.
After a brief chat with Ganesh, my new companion, we headed for the smaller pond which was practically all frozen over. Shoveller and Mallard occupied the only free piece of water.
Red Deer - I have lots, lots more pics that I will share in a future post.
Checking my watch, it was time for us to return to the car park so we walked and talked on the return journey. If you get to read this Ganesh, I enjoyed your company and wish you well for the future and your search for suitable employment. FAB