Saturday, 21 August 2010

A Full Backpack Day.

To satisfy the curiosity of a number of my readers here are images of the new backpack that was fully loaded in readiness for a day out with Graham yesterday who kindly acted as taxi driver and collected me at 6.45 am. 
Our first port of call was Epsom Ponds where we managed to spot a female Mandarin Duck hiding amoungst the waterside vegetation. Also present were Black-headed Gull, Mallard, Grey Heron plus Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Robin were heard. 
Graham then drove to the Wey Navigation close to the remains of Newark Priory where we followed the towpath towards Walsham Lock producing more Mallards, Mute Swan, a pair of Kestrels hunting over the water meadow, Lapwing, Jackdaws, Starlings, Woodpigeon, Collared Doves, noisy Parakeets, House Martins, Swallows, Blue and Great Tits. a Great-spotted Woodpecker plus a Goldfinch. We also had an interesting conversation with the local farmer who explained that his cattle loved eating the waterside Himalayan Balsam with apparently no side effects. A few Banded Demoiselles were also resting just above the water.
Further along the towpath this barge owner stirred up the water, much to the annoyance of the fishermen, while attemting to move his craft 'Wendy Woo II' away from its overnight mooring. 
We stopped again and chatted to this fisherman who was interested in my camera gear and revealed that he raised butterflies and is releasing Brown Argus at a site very close to where I live. The only flutter we saw was a Speckled Wood plus male Common Blue Damselflies. We crossed over the weir to check around the lock for any Grey Wagtails but there was no sign of them today. While retracing our steps back to the car we picked up the call of a young Common Buzzard and eventually watched it fly to leafless tree but our efforts to get closer for a photo proved unsucessful as it moved further away.
The weather forcast suggested light showers at around 10.00 am so Graham suggested a trip over to Kempton Park Nature Reserve as he has the necessary codes to gain access. This reserve was created in 1995 by Thames Water but I have never visited before so this this would be a new location to explore and it has hides in case the wether turned foul.
As you can see the water levels are very low and much of the old reservoir floor is covered with sphagnum moss. From the first hide we located Mute Swan, Grey Heron, Cormorant, Mallard, Coot, Moorhen, Tufted Duck, Little Grebe, a single Greenshank, several juvenile Pied Wagtails, Sparrowhawk, Black-headed Gulls, Parakeets flying over and Swallows. On our casual stroll to another hide we watched Common Darters, Meadow Browns and Common Blue butterflies. Bottom right image is a very tatty female Common Blue. Blue and Great Tits were also seen at a feeding station.
While eating our packed lunches in the last hide a young Reynard appeared from amoungst the vevetation and sat at the side of the water intently starring in our direction. After an apprehensive look at the water he eventually crossed to the other side and disappeared only to return and swim back while all the resident Mallard and Coots gathered together, totally unfazed by his presence, to watch him get wet again. After a quick shake down he then decided to run back and forth just like a young teenager letting of steam before disappearing back into the leafy undergrowth.
We also had slightly closer views of the Greenshank feeding together with a Common Sandpiper and one of the Grey Herons and a Mute Swan came close enough for the camera. A number of Green Woodpeckers were also spied around the reserve. Another enjoyable day out in good company...thanks Graham.   FAB.


  1. I love that little fox, he seems to be curious about you!

  2. Thank you for taking us along on your fabulous adventure! So many amazing sights to see. Outstanding photo series. Your wonderful blog is a joy to view!

  3. Wow.. I enjoyed each and every image you capture and the diverstiy of what you go and find.
    Love the hand painted water kettles.

  4. Glad to see you were able to get out and into nature, Frank. Even in the midst of difficult times like your brother's illness, you need to get away and regroup. The collages were wonderful as always. Hope things are looking better.

  5. What a wonderful day! Your photos are always filled with color, clarity, and variety. Especially love the Heron photos. They are so elusive here.

  6. Hi Frank That certainly was a great day out with some good sightings and a super set of images. Not so lucky down here at the moment, thick fog heavy drizzle and its been like it best part of the week. They say it will not clear until Monday.

  7. I wanted to comment on the new Backpack Frank, they are great but if anything like mine you cram more and more into it until it takes a crane to lift it.

  8. A very enjoyable day out Frank.
    Good to see the new bag being useful.
    Nice encounter with the fox.

  9. I liked this trip you took us on. Felt like I was there myself. I'm amazed at all the different waterfowl you see in one day and the fox. Wow. Carol

  10. Friend of HK. We were a long way away but he may have been watching a small bird (out of our view) as a possible meal!

    Julie G. Thank you very much. I'm glad you enjoyed the excursion.

    Lisa RedWillow. I enjoy sharing what I see...sometimes difficult to leave out any images
    The barge accessories are often very colourful.

    Beatrice. No change re PJB that I know ofand it was definitely a boost to be out and about.

    Mona. We were fortunate that at least one Heron came within range of the lens for a while.

    Monty. The bag is already Sorry about the weather; we'll probably get it next.

    Keith. The Reynard was a delight to watch his antics.

  11. Hi Carol. There were a few common species we didn't see but it was a good day nonetheless.

  12. What a wonderful day you have to have had, with such a grand display of varied images. So is a Reynard the same thing as a Fox? What fun to have seen it so close and acting out as it did. The Gray Heron certainly is a handsome creature. Those boats always have to stir up the water;) Have a great rest of the weekend~

  13. Hi seem to have had a most enjoyable time with Graham. Glad it all worked out so well.

    Wonderful images.....for me the best is the fox. I don't know what it is about them but I truly love these creatures. Your photographs are great.......

  14. What wonderful images once again. I get a kick out of the backpack. My Honey and I also take quite a bit with us when we are on a photo journey (which is almost always!). You've packed yours so well.


  15. How interesting the hen mandarin duck - my first thought was hen wood duck. Went to my guide and found they are both the same genus - drakes took their plumage in somewhat different direction (but both gaudy) while the females made few changes.

  16. Great outing and pics! Love the description of the fox. Interesting backpack. What brand? Wonder whether my camera with long lens attached would fit into it. I hate to have to take it apart during a trip.

  17. Hi Frank! What a marvelous post! I so thoroughly enjoyed scrolling through all of your images. Your collages are always so well thought out and your subject matter so interesting! ~karen

  18. The Grey Heron are beautiful. Will be interesting to hear if your new backpack holds up over time.

  19. Hi Mary. Yes, Reynard = fox. The pics were cropped so not as close as it seemed but still fun to watch it playing.

    Hi Cheryl. He was excellent company and at least the wildlife performed for us despite the threat of rain.

    Hi Lois. There never seems to be enough room for everything but I'm sure it will serve me well.

    Hi Chris. Typical male evolution, gaudy maybe but great to see at any time.

    Hi Hilke. Lowpro and I'm sure they have one to meet your requirements.

    Hi Karen. Thanks. Had so many pics so that was the obvous way to display them.

    Hi Amila. Cheers.

  20. Hi Glen. Thanks, I was pleased to get the GH... working from the hide definitely helped.

  21. MAGNIFICIENT!!!!!!
    You are s fantastic composer of unique mosaics; fabulous!!!!!
    I do adore the one with the fox; even if a "cousin" of him did a real "disaster" in my chicken and geese families.......this animal is so wonderful!!

    ciao ciao Frank!


  22. Hi Elvira. Thank you very's fun creating collages when I can't decide which single image to post!
    The playful young Fox looked very innocent but I'm fully aware of the damage it can cause.
    ciao ciao FAB.


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


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