Sunday, 31 January 2010

Sunday 31st.January 2010

An interesting drive , to say the least , yesterday morning on the way to the Dorking area to coppice materials for the hedge at Lingfield . All due to the overnight snow , but once off the motorway , the amount on the ground reduced , resembling a hard frost at the coppice site . Worth it though , working in sunshine and under blue skies .
Got out today after an early lunch , and although a Sunday , decided on a return visit to Kelsey Park , and the woodland surrounding The Beck , before it enters the park itself . The woodland adjoins a couple of football pitches , and it seemed the world was out walking it's dog , with the kids enjoying their bikes too . Needless to say , not a lot was seen/heard , apart from a couple of GS Woodpeckers and of course several RR Parakeets . Crossing into the park , no sign of the Winter Thrushes seen during the snow , and no surprise really as they had cleaned the Holly trees as clean as a whistle . On the way around the top of the lake , I was nearly mugged several times by Grey Squirrels looking for peanuts , in shells , which several people were carrying around with them . Just the usual Mallards , Coots , Moorhens , Greylag and Canada Geese and Tufted Ducks on the water , but hundreds of BH Gulls , flying noisily about , and snatching what they could out of the bread thrown for the ducks .
Around the other side of the lake , there was no sign of the two people I found sitting on the seat around the tree , or the other one on the grass . At the Heronry , 2/3 of the nest seemed to be occupied , this adult , probably a female , was rearranging the twigs , and also seemed to be turning eggs , before settling down again , deep in the nest .
All if this going on under the watchful eye of what could be her mate .Quite a large section of the lake has refrozen , and amongst the large number of BH Gulls , there was a juvenile Common Gull , looking totally out of it's depth amongst the others .
The BH Gulls were mostly sporting their winter plumage , with the dark spot behind the eye ,But , every now and again , I came across individuals who have started to get the chocolate head colouring , their Summer plumage .I found the female Pochard , tucked up under the opposite bank , but , no sign of her mate , but whilst looking , this Little Grebe , bobbed up from feeding on the bottom .The Mandarin numbers have dropped to 6 ( 4M,2F) , from the 20+ on my last visit , and I was surprised to see that they were mating , as my book says 1 brood , April/May The female seemed quite happy about it , having a quick 'wash and brush up' afterwards , and then getting on with feeding . The males , when not mating , spending their time arguing , strutting and snorting amongst themselves . I never tire of looking at their plumage , and often think to myself that it would be almost impossible to paint the colours of the feathers on their head and neck .
Cloud started to roll in as I was about to cross back over to the woodland , but just before going out the gate , this Robin appeared out of nowhere and posed . The return through the woodland had no surprises , but with the temperature falling , it was a brisk walk back to the car .


Simon said...

Great photos - lovely colours on the drake Mandarin! I popped to Northward Hill RSPB during the week and the herons are beginniing to nest their too!

Phil said...

Very nice post Greenie. Really nice photo's. Lots of Heron activity at New Hythe as well at the moment.
Hope your leg is back to full fitness. I too remember Matt Dillon's sidekick, was his name Chester?

Greenie said...

Phil ,
I think you are right .
I seem to remember my Dad telling me that !

Warren Baker said...

Looking at the weather later this week Greenie, I think the 'S' word might be elongated to Spr...

Great photo's today mate!

Wilma said...

How exciting to see the heron nesting activity. You are way ahead of us, season-wise.

ShySongbird said...

Goodness! The Herons seem to be nesting early, perhaps you will be able to spell 'it' out in full sooner than you thought :)

Lovely photos! I could look at the Mandarin's plumage for ages and the little Robin did pose beautifully!