Another absolutely atrocious morning's weather , with thunder and lightning before dawn , and a return to the strong winds , made me glad to have some jobs to do indoors . Surprisingly , just before lunch , the skies brightened for the afternoon . I needed to go to the local dump/recycling centre , so I combined that with a walk around South Norwood Country Park and the adjacent Cemetery/Crematorium .
By now the skies were almost cloud free , but the low Winter sun made sightings difficult , and the continuing wind made calls difficult to hear , but I set off , stopping firstly at the small lake , which was very full following all the recent rain . As usual , black and white were the prominent colours , with Tufted Ducks ( sorry Warren ) , Canada Geese and Coots ( sorry again Warren ) backing up some 75/100 Black-headed Gulls , sitting it out on the water , with the sun directly behind them . Around the lake , a large number of Carrion Crows were either sitting it out too , or generally making a noisy nuisance of themselves . Moving on to the open areas , things were very quiet , and it fell to fungi once again for some interest . This is another of the Coprinus family . C.atramentarius-Common Ink Cap . In a particularly scrubby area , I noticed several small birds feeding and moving on . Sure enough , it was a mixed Tit flock , with Long Tailed , Blue and Great Tits , all mixed together . Amongst them , I spotted a couple of small greenish birds . At first glance , I thought they might be Goldcrests , but then realised that they were Chiffchaffs , tagging along with the Tits .
Having reached the far end of the Country Park , it was good to turn with the sun now on my back , making spotting easier . Common species were recorded near the tramway , which runs through the back of the Park , including Dunnock , Blackbird , Robin , Magpie and a Kestrel , trying to hunt , whilst being buffetted by the wind . The Cemetery was quiet too , but there was a very well attended funeral going on whilst I was there . Even so , I recorded Starling , Chaffinch , Wren , Goldfinch , Collared Dove , Woodpigeon and of course Rose Ringed Parakeet , whilst in the grounds . As I re-entered the Country Park from the Cemetery , I recorded another Grey Wagtail , on the stream that runs parallel to the tramway . Nothing fresh was recorded till I got back to the lake . As I approached a feeding platform , on the far side of the island from where I had started , a very confiding Moorhen was checking the platform for any bits that had been dropped . It took no notice of me , and allowed several shots , before returning to the water to continue feeding . Also from this side of the lake , I spotted a single Common Gull , in amongst the Black-headed . As I went to take a shot of it , a young family arrived at another platform to my left with a large supply of bread , and the Common Gull took off to make sure it got it's share , closely followed by the majority of the other Gulls , many of which were first Winter birds , like I think this one is . Also wanting to be photographed , was this female Coot . Apart from the Autumn colours on the trees and the ripening berries on the Rowans , and Hawthorns , the only other bit of colour found was on this Bistort-Polygonum bistorta . I remember posting these plants in flower in the Summer with Harlequin Ladybirds on them . Before heading back to the car , I had a last look at the lake , from the first platform that I used when I arrived . I was glad I did , as in the intervening time , a group of 15/20 Shovelers , mostly males , had arrived and were feeding in the margins , but not coming to look for bread , like many of the others . In the water behind them , were a pair of Mallard , bringing the recorded total to 26 on my visit , very satisfying , especially after that morning weather .
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