Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Tuesday 10th. January 2012

Firstly , a quick catch up with yesterday's bird survey at Down House . Just 16 species were recorded , with needless to say nothing outstanding , but surprisingly just one Fieldfare and one Redwing , given the good numbers that were found just 3/4 miles away on the Common . Best find were three seed heads of Violet Helleborine , not noticed whilst in flower , and taking the total number of plants to look forward to next year to five . As usual , I had a quick look at Keston Ponds on the way back home , finding 3M and 1F Mandarin in their favoured place and another large flock of Redwings , again feeding solely on Holly berries . The Holly is so thick where they were feeding , it was impossible to get a number , but it wouldn't surprise me if the flock was as big as the one on the Common , especially given the noise of them all chattering . Having read Dean's / DDD post of finding female Hazel flowers already , I had a look around , having spent an age failing to get a
single shot of the Redwings . Well , I did get a shot of the female Hazel flower , and for once , down South is keeping stride with up North .
Today , I had a couple of errands to do and a visit to the tip / recycle centre , so in between two of them , I had a look around Kelsey Park in Beckenham , and actually managed to arrive in one of the few glimpses of sunshine to be had this morning . My arrival was announced by a Song Thrush ,
singing his heart out , high up , near the entrance . Before reaching the lake , a Grey Heron swooped
over and landed on top of a Yew , looking somewhat discheveled , a possible answer to the state was found later . This was just the first of many Grey Heron seen , as on the large island , at least 15 , probably more , nests are in state of construction or refurbishment , so there was much toing and froing as materials were brought in . No surprises waterfowl wise , with Tufted , Mallard , Coot ,
Moorhen , Greylag and Canada Geese all in good numbers , together with this 'Canlag' species , which , according to a local , turns up every now and again . Around the other side of the island , I
found this juvenile Cormorant , unusually , the only member of the species seen there today . Down where the lake become The Beck river again , I could see several Mandarin , tucked well away under overhanging Laurel , but not interested in venturing out . I arrived back in front of the Heronry , where activity had increased markedly , especially by one pair , the male arriving with fresh twigs for the nest on a regular basis and the female busily knitting them into the structure . He must have been
doing the right thing , because he then got his reward , noisily . Talking of noise , the sideshow on
the lake was when 4 Mute Swans appeared , two cool customers in front , followed by two on a mission behind . Each cool customer was hounded up and down the lake by one of the mission birds , but always able to stay at a distance to keep themselves safe . Even when the mission bird decided to
 fly rather than paddle , the cool customer once again manage to keep out of harms way . The local chap told me that the cool pair turned up a week ago and the scrapping has been going on constantly since then . It is believed that the cool pair could be the offspring of the mission pair from 2/3 years ago . Last years offspring keep well away down the other end of the lake , but no doubt will be driven off eventually . All this action seemed to inspire the pair of Grey Heron directly above the previous
pair , and they too got on with ensuring the continuation of the species , but they did have the courtesy to turn around . With lunchtime , and cloud approaching , I had one last look for the Mandarins , and found two males and one female that had been tempted out by bread being thrown
from the bridge over the waterfall at the end of the lake . They were very shy at first , but got used to me eventually . The colours on the males were incredible , and with the breeding season close , there
was much posturing from both males in front of the female . Here one of the males is just about to rise up and throw his head back in display . The female wasn't going to be outdone , looking very
prim and proper , and ready for the big occasion , when the males sort themselves out .


Phil said...

Singing Thrushes, bonking Herons, displaying Mandarins and Hazel flowers. Is there something in the water round your neck of the woods Greenie?

Warren Baker said...

Blimey that Mandarin is bright Greenie! Had a Songthrush here today, almost louder than a chainsaw :-)

Marc Heath said...

Lovely Mandaring shots, what superb colours. I think God must have been in a good mood when he got invented!

Ken. said...

First of all, love the second photo of the male Mandarin, as you say the colours are amazing.
Nice to see the heronry is coming alive.

Dean said...

"and for once , down South is keeping stride with up North"

Wonder if you`ll beat me with Alder female flowers, Greenie ;-)

Alan Pavey said...

Great post Greenie, the first Heron is really striking as are the Mandarin pics, the Mandarins here fly off as you go through the gate at the top of the field the lakes are in!!