Friday, 3 February 2012

Friday 3rd. February 2012

Another bitterly cold morning , but at least the raw wind had died down overnight . I needed to go to the tip/recycling centre , so decided to do detour to Kelsey Park in Beckenham on the way . Stepping out of the car , I was glad to have put a couple of extra layers on , but I must say that the sun's warmth could be felt through the cold . Large parts of the lake were frozen over , but as the Beck runs through the lake , the entry and exit of the lake were ice free , and it was in these areas where most of the wildfowl were found . On the island , early nesting Grey Herons must have been
wondering if it was a good idea , and as for this individual , it would appear that it had all the troubles of the world on it's shoulders , and yes , there was a head there , tucked well into the chest .
A couple of the nests had birds sitting , probably on eggs . Just a single drake Mandarin was found just below the waterfall out of the lake , with no sign of any under their favourite overhanging bushes . It was a different story at the other end of the lake , where the Beck flows in , where at least
15 birds were found . As usual , there seems to be more drakes than ducks , and some pairs were
already sorted , but several ducks were being constantly pestered by drakes , who were scrapping between themselves . This included snapping at each other , lots of chasing , lots of showing off by
means of raising the feathers on the nape of the neck and extending the neck , no doubt to look bigger , and raising to their limit the orange sails . They also were making a throaty boom sound , very difficult to explain in words . On the frozen area , the 'Pied' Coot was getting stuck into a
doorstep of bread that someone probably threw in to try and break the ice . Also on the ice , a Canada Goose came in to land , and although I didn't have time to set the camera , I just liked the look on the
Goose's face as it headed towards the concrete wall , with air brakes working overtime . I would add that no goose was injured during the taking of this shot , it managed to stop in time . As at Sevenoaks Reserve the other day , Rose-ringed Parakeets are claiming nesting holes , one particular London
Plane tree had three prospective pairs considering holes . Over the other side on a lawned area , I found a Canada Goose with an affliction called 'Angel Wings' . It was only because I had stopped to read a notice asking the public not to feed white bread to the wildfowl as it is a constituent of the
white bread that causes the affliction . The fact that the goose has the affliction means that it will never be able to fly again , and will therefor be easy prey for any predator . Lots of Black-headed Gulls as
usual , and the odd one or two are already showing their summer plumage . I thought this was a
Common Gull at first , Gulls are my nemesis ,many thanks Warren , a Herring Gull , of course ! but the bill and flesh coloured legs point me to Greater Black-backed , but I know I will be put right if that is wrong . Only other interest seen were a few Redwings and Fieldfares , Little Grebe , a pair of Nuthatches who were chased off by RRPs before I could get a decent shot and a pair of Coal Tits feeding on Yew .
After a warming lunch , I had an hour at the Cotoneaster bush near the farm lake . On arriving , half a dozen Fieldfares flew off the bush and I saw nothing for about half an hour . Then a small flock landed in surrounding trees , but they flew off again without feeding . Just about ready to head home and get warm again , a slow dribble of birds arrived in the tops of the tall trees . Then the first brave soul dropped down onto the berries , to be quickly followed by the rest . The sun was not in the best position , I would have needed to be in the garden of the house ideally , but a large sandy coloured Alsatian close to the place I was standing , definitely put paid to that idea .

Hedgelaying  tomorrow near the Hogs Back in Surrey . Keeping fingers crossed that we get home before any of the white stuff arrives .


Warren Baker said...

Your Gull is a Herring Gull Greenie. Lesser and Greater Blacks baked Gulls have a very dark wing :-)

Phil said...

Nice post Greenie.
Seems bizarre to have birds on eggs in these conditions.The Mandarins never fail to amaze me, I wish we had a couple locally.
As for the Canada Goose ice landing, I can think of various phrases it could be saying, judging by its expression. But I won't quote them as they're all very rude!

Alan Pavey said...

The herons here haven't returned to their nests yet, I noticed this last year that the birds here were late compared with others. Nice post Greenie.

Adam said...

Greenie - cracking photo of the Mandarins (1st photo).

ShySongbird said...

A very interesting post Greenie. I had never heard of Angel Wing, it sounds awful! I am amazed there hasn't been more publicity about it. I shall be worried every time I see people feeding white bread now! It has always bothered me that people do anyway as I know it is of little or no nutritional value to birds.

Anyway, I enjoyed the photos, the Mandarins really are stunning birds! I have never seen one in my area at all. A lovely shot of the Fieldfare with the berry too.