Thursday, 9 December 2010

Papercourt GP.

On Wednesday, after hibernating indoors for a few days, I drove over to Papercourt Gravel Pit to see what might be around. An initial scan from the footpath indicated that 75% of the water was frozen and the wildlife was split up between two areas of unfrozen water. The closest area, at the top end of the pit, appeared to be just black dots (e.g. Coots) but well wrapped up against the cold I headed off to get a closer look. On the way I passed Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits flitting through the waterside trees together with four very flighty Lesser Redpolls .... good start I thought to myself.
Amongst the numerous Coots I found Tufted Ducks, Mallard, Pochard (all males), one Teal, Little and Great Crested Grebe plus the usual Black-headed Gulls slipping and sliding on the ice.
It was also fun to watch this male Tuftie attempting to cross the ice but he eventually gave up and decided it was easier to fly! While scanning the other area of unfrozen water I picked out five Goosander and pondered whether they might ever come closer to the bank for some photos. Always the optimist  I decided to continue around the pit but in all honesty didn't hold out much hope.
Well the direction of the chilling breeze was not in my favour and they all decided to stay well away from the bank so only a distant (cropped) record shot was available.
I was however able to get a liitle closer to the Tufted Ducks as they swan passed my position high on the bank above the water.
Amongst the Tufties was this female sporting white facial patches and a noticeable peak on the crown (rather than a tuft) so I guess this could be possibly be a hybrid. Female hybrids are notoriously difficult to identify so I am not going to place a bet on this one ... but any of my readers are welcome to make a suggestion!

The only other confiding species was this young Mute Swan who queitly drifted past me. Other species seen included Common Gull, Cormorants perched on the overhead electric pylons, Blackbird, Robin, Grey Heron, Goldfinch and a Green Woodpecker.

As it was only mid afternoon, on the way home I stopped off at Bookham Common where there have been recent sightings of Hawfinch but needless to say I didn't find one on this occasion.
Just after I arrived a Redwing obligingly perched in a nearby tree providing a relatively easy shot whilst trying to hold the gear still with freezing fingers. A brief stroll, scanning all the berry bushes only produced more Redwing (20+), Fieldfare, Song Thrush, many Blackbirds, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Robin, Carrion Crows, Magpies, Green Woodpecker, a male Pheasant and one male Bullfinch. 
I also disturbed a pair of very young Roe Deer as my feet crunched across the frozen snow .... they turned to give me a fleeting and inquiring look before disappearing into the undergrowth. Today was a better day for the camera but it may take me some while to sort through the options for the next post........FAB.

12 comments:

  1. ...that's a filled day! The photo of the Tuftie attempting to cross the ice made me chuckle--very cute! It's always the case...as we stand freezing over the ice, the ducks always go to the farthest part of the open water! You captured some lovely images, though!

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  2. A good day out Frank, and some good birds seen.
    I've found the Goosander to slowly drift away as I make my way to their side of a lake. So frustrating lol

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  3. Hi Frank..it looks so cold and I always feel bad for the birds and the wild animals ,but I know the are supposed to be able to withstand the elements!!
    I still feel bad!!

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  4. A duck hybird; another site posted a hybird duck. That's the first I have ever heard of them. Great tour of your area.Boom & Gary of The Vermilon River.

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  5. Looks like it is cold, frozen and dark... Did you move to Iceland ;-)
    Well we did not have any frost nowadays, it is raining...
    Beautiful pictures you got Frank, I love the last one!

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  6. Looks like a good trip out Frank, lovely pic of the Roe Deer. Linda

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  7. Love the Roe deer shot Frank, its been very harsh for them recently.

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  8. I love the Tufted Duck trying to walk on ice; beautifully captured comic action. So serious and fixed on a goal, but not making any progress... I also love the deer looking startled.

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  9. Hi Frank. It looks so cold, but what a great set of images. You have a lovely selection there.

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  10. Good to see you're getting out & about Frank. Looks a wonderful walk yet again! Particularly like your last photo of the Roe deer, Brilliant! Take care!

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  11. Thanks for all your visits.

    Kelly. I was only out for a couple of hours! Yeah, the tottering Tuftie made me laugh as well.

    Keith. They are not the only species that drift away..lol.

    Grammie. I'm sure many of them cope rather better than us humans AND they don't have to add on extra layers. Even so it is a tough time for the.

    Lisa. Me too ... thanks.

    Gary. Hybridisation is not uncommon amoungst ducks and geese. Trying to ID the possible parents is the hard part!

    Chris. It may look abit like Iceland but certainly not so bleak.

    Linda. Cheers.

    Roy. Pretty tough on all wildlife at the moment. The thaw here is probably helping.

    Hilke. Tottering and sliding ... just not designed for walking on glass .. lol.

    Angie. Thanks. Yes, it pays to wrap up well at the moment.

    Shirleyanne. Doing my best to stay active .. weather permitting.

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