Saturday, 14 January 2012

Saturday 14th. January 2012

For a little while now , Carol has been wanting to have a day up in London . I can't stand all the people that you have to be with there , but , as I usually do my thing , decided to take Carol to where she wanted to be . Local bus , tram and finally underground , and there we were looking down on the Thames , a very low Thames , and still getting lower . As we walked along the bank , several Cormorant , Teal and Black-headed Gull were seen , and where a small stream emptied into the main
river , this Great Black-backed Gull , usually very hard to get close to ,  was found looking for something to eat . A tree lined lane looked inviting , and produced Blackbird , Song Thrush , Robin ,
Blue , Great and Long-tailed Tits , and of course Rose Ringed Parakeets , these two checking out a possible nest hole . I must admit it was a bit chilly down by the river , and I could see Carol was missing her regular tea/coffee intakes . The lane opened up and overhead a flock of Lapwing
shimmered as the sun caught their colours . Thinking only of Carol's lack of caffeine , I pointed to a gateway and suggested we tried to get a coffee there . Carol agreed and we walked into the London Wetland Centre at Barnes . Caffeine sorted , we thought we would have a look around , seeing as how we had stumbled onto it . With few people about , we headed out towards the first hide . Tufted , Shoveler , Mallard and the usual Coot and Moorhen were all seen , along with a couple of juvenile
gulls , which I think are GBBG , but only managed a shot through a window before they flew off . The reedbeds were very quiet and it was the common species that were singing around the edges of
the site . We were watching a 'Coot war' in one of the ditches and I was hoping that one of the birds
would fly directly towards where I was standing on a small bridge . That didn't happen , but this
Great Crested Grebe popped up right beside me , and wasn't worried at all by my presence . By now , Carol was needing a rest for her leg so we made for the Tower Hide , which also got her out of the chilly wind for a while . I made for the top floor and had a scan over the area from this vantage point . The grazing marsh held good numbers of Wigeon along with the species already seen , and
also just two , a pair of Pintail , which stayed around just long enough to get two shots at distance , before flying off and landing even further away , before disappearing into the bankside vegetation .
From the same place I found 2 possibly 3 small birds , flitting about amongst the dead Bullrushes .
They too were distant , but finally managed to identify them as Stonechats , both male as above and female were seen . A Common Snipe was also seen as it flew into the same area , but vanished straight away . When I found Carol back on the ground floor , she said someone had spotted a Water Rail on a different side of the hide , but it was only fleeting . Moving on , we found male and
female Wigeon sunning themselves , they too didn't seem worried . A lot of noise drew our attention to a pair of adult Egyptian Geese and two juveniles joining in the racket . The adult male was
pushing down and pecking at the adult female and she was calling out which seemed in turn to make the juveniles make more noise . I stopped to check the replay on the camera , when Caro said 'you've missed it ' . The pair had mated and flew off noisily , along with the juveniles . Didn't hear of any Bittern sightings whilst we were there , but from the hide where they have been seen , a male and female Pochard , once again usually difficult to get near to , hauled out of the water for a wash and
brush up , as the early afternoon sun began to drop on the sky . On leaving that hide , we were heading back to the visitor centre and on the way , as we crossed a small bridge , had a close
encounter with a second Grebe species , this time Little . The Shoveler , many of whom were tucked into the bank snoozing earlier , now seemed to be more active , and managed to get these two a little
further on . Almost at the courtyard of the visitor centre , movement high in a Silver Birch caught my eye , but I was looking straight into the sun , so had to get around the other side to confirm my
suspicions . Sure enough , it was a small flock of Redpoll . I took several shots , but a lot of them had
the birds deep in shadow , but they rounded off the day nicely .
No dancing Bittern today , but the important thing was that Carol had her day 'up in the smoke' .
I did take some shots in the World Wetlands area , covering foreign and some native species , if things are quiet tomorrow , I might post some of those for interest .


Warren Baker said...

Made the most of that little outing Greenie :-) Nice photo's, you're improving your technique i think :-)

Ken. said...

Always nice to visit somewhere different. Even though it was Carol want to go it panned out well in the end.
Good spoton the Redpoll.

Phil said...

I thought an Egyptian Goose was a lady getting her bottom pinched in Cairo Greenie.

Rob said...

Looks like you fell in among some acceptable company in the big smoke, Greenie.

Alan Pavey said...

Going to smoke doesn't seem to bad if you have that list birds to come back with :-)