Saturday, 26 December 2009

Wildlife in the Park.

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.
More ice-walkers were a Mute Swan and this Egyptian Goose who promptly joined his mate on the grassy slope quite close to us.
I then suggested that we head uphill to track down the small group of Red Deer stags peacefully lying on the grassland above the pond. We spent some time slowly moving in closer to get some decent shots despite the darkening sky and the hint of rain in the air.
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

12 comments:

  1. A great day out Frank, and some good shots.
    And what a contrast between those two families.

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  2. Hi Frank thanks for sharing this one, some lovely shots in there.Looks like a great walk with a good variety of wildlife.Must say the Deer get my vote.

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  3. Hmm.Yes Frank the good and bad you see in the park. Anyway you got some really nice shots. That was a good capture getting the RC Pochard.

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  4. Hasn't the world been beautiful during this cold snap? These are fantastic photos, wish i could do as well. :0) The parakeets were a surprise!

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  5. Nice post and a lot of great photos! I think you had a very good day.

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  6. A wonderful post. I even recognized the Black-headed gull which makes a guest appearance in Gloucester from time to time. The Red Deer are magnificent animals.

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  7. You get to see all sorts while out frank, some like Ganesh worthy of your time, others like the ignorant family, unworthy of anything but disdain!

    Nice walk out though, and well written up.

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  8. That's a beautiful photo of the mist and frost across the common. So many birds in such a little patch of open water! Lovely to look at - from this distance :-)

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  9. Lovely post, Frank, and I really like that dead tree! I have to agree with Mick. It is a beautiful photo of the mist and frost across the common. When you talked about nest inspection, you made me jump ahead to spring with anticipation--but we have a long winter yet to go through. I hope we get some more snow here.

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  10. Hi "Early Birders". Thanks for the comments...I should have called it 'The tale of Two Families'!!

    Steve B. I might be able to find 1 or 2 more BHG pics just to keep you happy.

    Warren. All part of lifes rich pattern!

    Kelly. I'm envious...we don't have any snow here (sob..sob) so no snowmen or snowballs...who was that who said "grow up".

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  11. What a photographer. You get some amazine snapshots.

    I hope you have a wonderful New year and I look forward to seeing new photos.

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

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