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 .
5 hours ago