Another fall of snow overnight , gave everything a fresh covering , undoing the work done by the wind yesterday , removing most of the previous deposits from the branches . Coupled with that , a dismal , grey day beckoned , but at least it felt warmer , even though the temperature was hovering around freezing . I had jobs to do during the morning , and whilst doing them , hoped that the afternoon would bring better light , and a chance to get out again with the new gear . That hope never materialised , as the day never brightened at all , and with darkness arriving , can only hope for better in the coming days .
I still decided to get out after lunch , having not managed yesterday , and made my first stop outside the church in Hayes , that was so productive on Saturday . Today , it was like a graveyard , without a Winter Thrust in sight , but still plenty of berries at the gateway , but the large bush on the front of the house opposite , had been stripped almost bare . I moved on to Kelsey Park in Beckenham , the reasoning being that as The Beck flows through the lake in the park , hopefully , some at least of the surface would not be frozen over , and so it was . The park is completely surrounds by houses and flats , and is consequently very popular with dog walkers , but one side of the park is a 'no dog zone' , so that was where I headed . Almost immediately I heard the whistle of Mandarins , and when I saw the numbers , 25/30 , it could well be that the ones from Keston Ponds have come down here whilst the ponds are frozen over . Lots of Mallards too , and not too many 'dodgy' ones either , and I must admit trying my best to make this white duck into a leucistic Mallard , but in all honesty , I think it is just a domestic Pekin Duck , most probably an escapee . Being surrounded by people , it appears that many of them bring food to feed the birds , but all I saw eating their offerings were large numbers of Feral Pigeons , that seemed to come in all the colours of the rainbow . Quite a few Tufted Ducks , and a very large flock of BHGulls , noisily looking for the next meal . Around by the cafe , I found this , what I can only describe as a strange looking Muscovy type . Especially strange in the leg department , as it basically almost doesn't have any . When I stopped to photograph it , I was approached by a couple of individuals , who were very tame indeed . The first was this Greylag Goose , one of many seen today and most of them ringed . It got so close that I could make out the serrations on the bill , used for grazing grass and other vegetation . Thinking it was missing out on something , this Canada Goose decided to come in and check out the situation . There are notices all around the park saying not to feed these Geese , as their numbers rose dramatically a few year ago , and they became very aggressive , especially towards children , and their droppings were everywhere , allegedly being a health hazard . Their numbers have been kept in check since then , I believe by egg pricking . By now , I was opposite the island , which contains one of the largest Heroneries in the South East , after Northward Hill . It won't be long before they start this year's breeding , and I counted at least 10 nests from last season , ready to be refurbished for this . Every now and again , the local Carrion Crows seemed to keep them awake by swooping down on those at rest , before engaging in aerial battles with them . This one really did remind me of a pterodactyl , as it tried to evade the incoming Corvid . The call of Long Tailed Tits had me looking into the treetops . A small flock , constantly on the move , with me following , hoping for a picture . My efforts were rewarded , with a three shot opportunity , before , once again , the constant search for food reumed .
By now , the list had reached about 20 , most unexpected , but there was still more to come .
I'll be hedgelaying tomorrow up on the Greensand Ridge , hopefully , and unlikely to come across much , so I'll finish this off tomorrow evening .
1 day ago