Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Wednesday 13th.January 2010

Another 1-2 inches of snow overnight meant hedgelaying was cancelled today , and that snow carried on falling until lunchtime . The first of many scatterings of bird food , brought all the usual contenders to the back garden . Along with them , the Song Thrush , photographed in sunshine last time , had to put up with leaden conditions for today's shot . Not seen for a few days now , the female Blackcap put in an appearance , feeding on the once again snow covered Callicarpa berries . Sneaking in from down the back of the garden , the Fieldfare came to get a free breakfast .
Two flashes of red attracted my attention , and when I located them , they were both feeding on the Sunflower kernels .
A new visitor today was found when I went to see if the Blackcap was around , and found this male Pied Wagtail , surveying what food was on offer , from the Blackcap's favourite shrub . Once he was sure of the situation , he took over from the Robin at acting as if he owned all the food , and constantly chasing off the Chaffinches . Lunchtime , just before the snow stopped , we had another visit from a Fox , but unfortunately this one was limping with an injury to a back leg .
After lunch , I volunteered to get rid of the accumulated rubbish , we have not had a collection since Christmas , and headed for the local rubbish/recycling depot . It just so happened that on the way back , I had to pass the entrance to South Norwood Country Park , so put my binoculars and camera in the car as well . I first looked at the lake , which was 95% frozen over , and apart from Coots , not a lot to see . Walking on , I could see in the distance , three people looking up into the trees . My pace quickened and when I reached them , could see what they were watching , a female Kestrel , tucking in to her lunch . On the next tree , unseen by the trio , was her mate , sitting with what looked like a smirk on his face . I just wondered if he had caught the meal and given it to her , to earn some 'brownie points' . Once she finished eating , she flew off , but the male just sat in full view and started to preen .
There are many Alders around the lake , and I checked them all out for Siskins , but only found Goldfinches and Tits . All the way round I heard Fieldfares and saw a couple of small flocks , but just the odd Redwing . At the far side of the Park I found another male and female Kestrel , but this time both were watching for any ground movements , from their tree top vantage points . Heading back towards the lake , without a single Kingfisher sighting , after doing so well last visit , I had a very brief glimpse and single call , of what I am reasonably sure was a Common Sandpiper , that came up from the edge of the small stream , as I approached . I didn't have time to get the binoculars on it , and it was gone in a flash , it's white side and underparts , melting into the snow as it turned . Will just have to put it down as a possible .
Before leaving , I had a last look at the frozen lake . As I stood on the viewing platform , I could see a pair of Shoveler , way over the other side of the small area of open water . The other thing , was that the Coots came running over the ice towards the platform . I decided to take this shot , in case any Blogger doesn't see many of this species . As I did so , I heard two thumps on the ice , and looking to my right , the two Shovelers had also decided to see what was happening , and posed together , as if they were domesticated pets , rather than wild visitors .


Phil Sharp said...

Brilliant post, the kestrel shots are fantastic!

Adam said...

Getting some good shots Greenie, in challenging conditions!


Anonymous said...

Yep, brill post & brill shots.