With beautiful sunshine and cloudless sky , I was ready to get out and about , when the phone rang . It was the chap who organises the workparty on the Common on Thursdays . Any possibility that I could spare a couple of hours this morning ? I was his last chance , as everyone else had other commitments . I couldn't say no , so changed into my work gear and got my tool ready . We were meeting at 1030 , so I had time for a quick look at Keston Ponds before that . On arrival , it was one of those magical times , birds and bird calls everywhere . Above where I parked , a Nuthatch was 'knocking seven bells' out of a branch of an Oak , and intermittently calling to it's mate a short distance away . A mixed flock of Tits passed through containing Blue , Great and Long Tailed , and also a pair of Goldcrests . A little further back , a small flock of Redwings were stripping a Holly , but getting close was impossible . As soon as I got too close , an alarm call saw the whole flock disappear into the tall Oaks nearby , and I only managed a long range shot , but it was my first of a winter Thrush this year , hopefully , better quality shots will follow in time . A check of the bottom pond , confirmed that 11 Mandarin were still around . I was so involved with all that was happening , that when I got round to looking at my watch , it was almost 1030 , so I had to leave what I thought could have been a good birding morning , to do some work .
We worked till 1300 in the same clear sky and sunshine conditions , the only thing of interest found was this fungi , which I believe is Trichaptum abietinum , before heading home at lunchtime . As I was eating my sandwich , I could see a band of cloud approaching from the North West . By the time I was ready to go out again , the sunshine had gone , blotted out by the cloud . I decided to chance returning to Keston , but the magic had gone and things were quiet . I had taken some bread , so went down to the bottom pond . On throwing it in , the Mallard types and the Moorhens came over to feed , but the Mandarins didn't move a muscle . Eventually , hunger must have got the better of them , when 4 females and 6 males , slowly approached . With the camera in one hand , and trying to make the bread last as long as possible , I managed a few closer shots than before . Apologies to those who are fed up with the Mandarins , but they brightened up a cloudy afternoon for me , and hope they do the same for you . I did manage a shot of a male displaying in front of all those gathered , by raising the feathers on the nape and crown , to make himself look bigger than the other males . I then headed off to look around the rest of Keston Common , and soon realised that since my visit last week , the whole place had been invaded by Redwings and that what I saw this morning was the tip of the iceberg . As walked along , every Holly tree had them feeding in them , and flying off as I approached . I also saw a Treecreeper , working it's way up a Silver Birch , but the light was getting bad for any chance of a photo . Other birds seen / heard included another two Goldcrests , Great Spotted Woodpecker and lots of Corvids , especially very noisy Jays , and several roaming Tit flocks .
Amongst the leaf litter I found another specimen of Boletus queletii . It was in the same general area as those previously found , but this one was still intact in the ground . I had spent some time trying to get a shot of one of the Goldcrests , without any joy because of light conditions and constant movement of the bird , but did notice that on the same tree were this year's berries , and also the flower buds , which will hopefully feed those Redwings again next year .
3 hours ago