A mid week stroll took me to Papercourt Pits, where I commenced a clockwise circuit of the main sailing pit which was still two thirds frozen. Initial sightings were Robin, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Dunnock, Blue and Great Tits. Occupants on the water included Great Crested Grebe, Tufted Duck, Pochard and Coot.
Around the far side I passed a small group of Mallard who didn't fly away!
This Coot was also quite inquisitive.
Half way round the sky darkened and the rain started so I quickly donned waterproofs and packed the camera away. Carefully skirting the small pond I spied a pair of Mute Swans. A group of 6 Shovellers were lurking close to the bank but despite treading slowly and carefully they decided to fly away and find cover elsewhere. The trees were alive with twittering Long-tailed Tits and masses of Goldfinches but no Redpolls so I headed off towards the Wey Navigation. The track crosses between open (desolate) fields and a newish reserve that is not freely accessible. Very little life seen except Blackbird, Redwing and Wren.
Masses of seed heads along the pathside.
Crossing a small stream I spotted willow buds beginning to open amoungst the rows and rows of salix being grown commercially here on this damp meadowland. Following the course of the little stream I passed a small pond again with no active life around it.
As I headed onward along the increasingly muddy path a flash of brilliant blue dashed past me and appeared to stop somewhere ahead. Trading carefully I eventually caught up with the Kingfisher but only one distant shot (just visible in the bottom right picture) before it headed onward along the streambed. I followed and sighted it once more before it also continued its daily journey.
Crossing the Wey Navigation I headed out onto Papercourt Marsh with the occasional sighting of Cormorant and Black-headed Gull passing overhead plus a pair of Mute Swans over the distant trees.
Carrion Crows gathering with a few lookouts posted.
I ventured a little way beyond this bridge that would eventually be my homeward route and met a Mute Swan drifting silently upstream.
After crossing the Wey Navigation I spotted a pair of Tufted Ducks and 20 Lapwings who promptly took flight together with a group of Redwing that had been feeding nearby. One perched high above and this was
the best I could do (cropped)! With little else appparently about apart from Fieldare calling as they passed
Definitely far better suited to these muddy conditions than me!
Nearly back at the car my final encounter was with a Great Spotted Woodpecker high above me in an oak but despite the lack of foliage this male was not going to make it easy for me to get quality shots.
With the late afternoon light and very cold fingers I took this series using manual focus. Still not what I'm really after but it will have to do for now. Have a good weekend. FAB.