Friday, 4 December 2009

Friday 4th.December 2009

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 .


Wilma said...

Wow - those mandarins look far too gorgeous and perfect to be real!

Lancs and Lakes Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

I love mandarins the males don't half remind me of Yosemite Sam when seen face on. Tee hee; great fun.
Wish I could still go hedgelaying used to be one of my favourite hobbies lovely to hear its alive and well down your way.

Warren Baker said...

It was a lovely sunny day you're right greenie, but i never got out in it! I could do with some of those mandarins on my patch this month

ShySongbird said...

What lovely photos of the Mandarins (I'm not fed up with them), they really do look stunning, the male looks like something someone has made out of material!