Saturday, 22 November 2014

More Reds.

A few more images from my sessions during the past two months with the Red Deer in Bushy Park.

Mother and her fawn.

No description necessary.

Totally relaxed.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Black-headed Gull.

Our most commonest colonial breeding gull occupying coastal and inland waters, often in large numbers, is the Black-headed Gull (Chrioicocephalus ridibundus)
It is fairly easy to identify at any time of year as it is our only gull species that reaches maturity in just two years. 

However its given name doesn't correctly match its looks as adults (above) in their summer plumage actually sport a dark chocolate-brown hood but of course from a distance it does look black.

At this time of year most of the adults are now in their winter plumage (above) and their dark cap is replaced by just a bold dark ear spot and the bill gains its black tip. The distinctive all white tail is also an obvious ID feature (see below) when in flight.

Well into autumn this years juveniles (above and below) are now sporting their 1st winter plumage, retaining some faded brown on the wings and the distinctive black tail band which is again very obvious in flight.

 A 1st winter individual flying in ahead of an adult just for comparison.  FAB.

Linking to WILD BIRD WEDNESDAY hosted by Stewart.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Red Fawn.

This Autumn I seem to have collected a lot of photos of the Red Deer in Bushy Park so here are a few images of one of the fawns enjoying some freedom but not too far from its mother.

For some views of the Fallow Deer, please click the link to my other blog.  FAB.

Linking to NATURE NOTES hosted by Michelle.

Damp Patch Birding.

The current weather pattern, windy, damp and heavily overcast skies, has not been conducive for photography during my recent patch walks. Most of the small birds have stayed in hiding so just a few images of the larger species seen on or around the pond.

Coot still collecting material to build up or repair the nest.
A couple of Cormorants called in for a few days and one spent some time trying to capture some warmth from the limited sunshine.

Earlier this month a male Northern Shoveler turned up on the Great Pond but typically kept a long way away from the lens. I subsequently spotted him with his mate who spent most of her time in hiding.

Eventually managed to capture him out of the water.

Mute Swans don't turn up on the patch very often so it was nice to see a pair drop in if only very briefly.

A single Black-headed Gull takes a rest from its aerial circuits around the pond.

Moorhen .... and it's time to dig out the wet weather gear!  Linking to I'D-Rather-B-Birdin'.

Wishing everyone a wonderful wildlife watching weekend, wherever you are.  FAB.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Todays Tiny Visitor.

Very damp and overcast weather today so I resorted to a bit of wildlife watching through the dining room window which initially only produced brief views of Blackbird, Woodpigeon, two Blue Tits and a Greenfinch that are regular visitors plus a couple of Great Tits that have appeared in the last few days.

Then after about an hour of total avian inactivity I was surprised but delighted to see a Coal Tit (Periparus ater) working its way through the the branches of the hawthorn, then quickly flitting down to the seed feeder before returning to the safety of the nearly bare, thorny branches to consume its snack.
This small passerine in the tit family Paridae is a common and widespread resident breeder throughout coniferous and mixed woodland but only very occasionally recorded in our garden, usually during the winter months.

A rear view clearly showing the rectangular white patch that extends from the top of its black head to its neck always helps to distinguish it from the slightly larger Willow and Marsh Tit. This little fellow returned to the garden several times today so I took the opportunity to stand outside and finally managed a clear shot through the branches.

Looking forward to more visits from this tiny Tit throughout the coming months.  

During the early afternoon other visitors were a Robin, Dunnock, Carrion Crow, a male Chaffinch (another rarity on the garden list) and a Sparrowhawk flew in, perched briefly on the fence behind the shed, and immediately took off as all its small prey had disappeared into hiding. FAB.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Totally Unexpected.

A couple of weeks ago I took a wander around Thursley Common hoping to catch sight of a Great Grey Shrike that had been reported.

My search around 'Shrike Hill' and elsewhere was unsuccessful so with little other avian activity I decided to follow a path across one of the wetter areas where I heard but failed to see a Dartford Warbler calling from a clump of mature gorse.

I then spotted a distant pale head moving about level with the heather and initially thought it might be a Grey Heron but something in my mind said it just didn't look right. So I diverted from the path and very slowly stalked through the heather while trying to avoid any of the many deep wet pot holes to get a closer view and this is what I found ...

A young Rhea which had presumably escaped from somewhere close-by as they are a flightless species native to South America.

Apart from its neck and head it was well hidden in a ditch where it moved around totally aware of its surroundings and the 'watcher' so after providing these few (cropped) portraits we parted company.  FAB.

Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday.

Please click here for my other WBW post on FABirding.

Monday, 10 November 2014


The season of colour change when the verdant greens give way to yellows and golds.

 Delicate and fragile forms sprout up through the leaf litter.

Elsewhere the varied fruit-bodies have appeared ready to release their spores for the next generation.

A cock Pheasant carries his gorgeous autumnal tones around with him wherever he wanders.

The rut has quietened down so this Red Deer stag finds time to browse and replenish some of its lost reserves.

Temperatures are falling and the overhead canopy slowly allows more light to reach the floor as individual leaves float down to join their comrades and create a colourful carpet on which to tread.  FAB.

Linking to NATURE NOTES hosted by Michelle.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Flying Around.

A very windy walk around Heron Pond in Bushy Park today. Certainly not ideal conditions for capturing birds in flight but the camera rose to the challenge.

Mallard preparing for splashdown.

The pond is home to a large number of Black-headed Gulls of various ages now sporting their winter plumage. Above is a 1st-winter still carrying some of its juvenile wing colours and black tail band.

By way of comparison above is an adult BHG in full winter garb.

Occasionally something much larger drops in. I often have difficulty identifying the juvenile larger gulls so this could be a Great Black-backed based on the features shown in the next image BUT I'll wait to hear what the experts say. 

 And finally a fly past by a Mute Swan.

Wishing everyone a wonderful wildlife watching weekend, wherever you are.  FAB.

Linking to Saturday's Critters and I'D-Rather-B-Birdin'.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Fallow in hiding.

Over the past few weeks the vegetation in the park has changed into its autumnal hues and the formerly lush green bracken now provides excellent camouflage for the Fallow Deer as they continue to browse on any patches of green beneath their feet. 
A brief visit earlier this week provided a brief unscheduled session with a buck and a couple of hinds who only indicated their presence when a head popped up to check out the 'watcher'. 

I have mentioned before that the Fallow Deer come in a range of colours and this young very pale fawn (below) was quite conspicuous once she decided to move around.

The buck spent a lot of time feeding with his head low down but eventually provided a nice pose. FAB.

Linking to Nature Notes and Outdoor Wednesday.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Play Fighting.

Just a couple of younger Fallow Bucks having a bit of harmless fun, testing out their skills, while another looks on.

This encounter only lasted a few moments ... all good practice for the future.  FAB.

Linking to Saturday's Critters.


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