Friday, 18 December 2009

Friday 18th.December 2009

The snow came as forecasted overnight and into the morning . I had things to do , so got on with them , as slowly , the snow flurries stopped and the sun came out . Carol was out , and whilst doing some toast at lunchtime , I looked out of the kitchen window , and there sitting in the sunshine in the Callicarpa bush , was the male Blackcap , this time showing his head . The camera was upstairs , so I chased up to get a few shots from the back bedroom window . I was snapping away , when I remembered the toast , and chased downstairs , just before it caught light . Needless to say , I didn't eat it , but it came in handy later on in the day . I cleared the path first thing , and put food down at regular intervals , to have it cleared away very quickly each time . I think we had all the Chaffinches in the area in our garden , but no sign of a Redpoll or Brambling . But it did attracted Goldfinch , Greenfinch , Blue and Coal Tit , Collared Dove , Woodpigeon , Blackbird , Robin , Wren , Starling , Great Spotted Woodpecker , and of course the local Carrion Crows and Jackdaws , not forgetting the Rose Ringed Parakeet , caught , unusually , on the ground , at the top of the shot . Once again , not a sign of a Winter Thrush in any of the back gardens .
After a toastless lunch , I had an hour at Keston Ponds/Common . My usual first stop , the Mandarin roost , looked very different following the overnight snow , and with just one small patch of the bottom pond free of ice , the Mandarins were nowhere to be seen . The middle pond had much more open water , and it was here that most of the wildfowl , including some of the Mandarins were congregated . I had gone armed with some stale bread , and some burnt toast , which I must say , went down very well , and even though the Mandarins are much more timid than the other species , I managed to get some of the bread close enough for them to reach , before others muscled in . The species that muscled in most was the Canada Goose , seen here raising the hackles on one drake Mandarin . It wasn't only Ducks and Geese vying for my burnt toast and stale bread . If the waterfowl didn't get to it quickly enough , one of the many patrolling Black-headed Gulls swooped in and claimed the prize . The top pond was all but devoid of wildlife , and with no chance of finding any fungi , I just had a walk around the surrounding woodland . A brief flash , disappearing behind a tree trunk , sent me looking round the other side . For the second time in three visits , I found a Tree Creeper , searching for insects on the bark of a Scots Pine . Fortunately , with snow on the other side of the trunk , the bird stayed on my side , slowly working it's way up the tree , as all good Tree Creepers should , but , unfortunately , giving me the back only view most often seen . It finished high in the Scots Pine , then flew to the base of an Oak , some distance away . I followed , but by the time I got there , it was already some way up the trunk . It then decided to take a side branch , and whilst almost overhead , allowed a side on view , showing that white breast , long thin bill , and those Woodpecker type 'climbing claws' . I watched it work it's way to the top of the Oak , before it disappeared from sight in thicker woodland . On the way back to the car , I passed Keston Bog , dressed in Winter , much different than when I visit during the Summer , looking for Dragonflies and Butterflies .
Driving along the bottom lane , passing the horse paddocks , an obvious bird of prey swooped over the car , and landed high in one of the Horse Chestnut trees . I had to go back to check it out , and it turned out to be a male Kestrel , looking a bit dejected , probably having difficulty finding a meal in the conditions .


Warren Baker said...

You've only got half the Chaffinch's Greenie - ive got the other half!

This cold snap is certainly bringing the birds in to the feeders.

Nice Mandarin photo'd today

Ken Browne. said...

Hi Greenie.
I hope you diidn't get a grilling for burning the toast!
Nice photo's of the Mandarins. Warren is certainly right about the bird in the garden at the feeders.
Have a good weekend.

Wilma said...

Wonderful snow pictures! I like to see the snow on the trees. Odd as it sounds, most times it is so cold here when it snows that the snow is too dry to stick to the trees. The Mandarin photos are excellent. I still find it hard to beleive that they are real and not some wildly imagined construct.