Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Tuesday 14th. February 2012

Overnight , much of the snow had thawed , given that we had a couple of heavy showers during the evening . The morning dawned gloomy , and that was how it was as I set off for South Norwood Country Park . On the way , I passed the only Holly tree that hasn't been stripped of it's berries . It is in the front garden of a house , overhanging the pavement , and the reason that most of it's berries are intact is that a pair of Magpies are making their nest in the top of it . So a game of cat and mouse is
going on , the Thrushes , like this one , trying to feed , and the Magpies seeing them off more often than not . It will be interesting to see how it pans out .The Country Park seemed quiet on my arrival , but for the second day running , I saw a Water Rail , and this time managed to get a long
distance shot as it searched for food in a small stream . Soon after , I met another birder , who informed me that if I was looking for the Woodlark , it hadn't been seen today , and as the majority of the Meadow Pipits , which it was feeding with , had gone , the Woodlark had probably gone too . I didn't know that it had been there , but as usual , I was one day late . I think that this Carrion Crow
might well have been telling me the same , given the noise it was making . In the area where the Woodlark had been seen , I found a few Meadow Pipits and three Reed Buntings , of which , this
female stayed just long enough for a shot . Even the lake didn't produce great interest , the only new addition seemed to be a pair of Mute Swans . About one third was open water , and with the thermometer reading 8C , although it didn't feel like it , the rest was thawing well . Just a single Brown Rat was seen crossing a path and disappearing into a ditch , seemed like it was going to be the highlight , until the two Mute Swans came together , or rather the cob rammed the pen from the side
like a destroyer ramming a submarine . Within seconds , the cob had submerged the pen , and when
she did reappear , his intent became obvious , gripping her neck in his bill . The act took seconds , and then began what I can only describe as a 'water ballet' , which reminded me very much of the
'weed dance' , performed by Great Crested Grebes . I thought it must have taken terrific energy for the GCGrebes to 'dance' on water , but for Mute Swans to do it , quite incredible . At the end of the
'ballet' , both birds slipped back down into the water . The pen paddled off and had a wash , I did not see any matches struck or tobacco smoke in the vicinity of the cob . Looking back at the 25 shots I took , they were all taken within the same 60 seconds . I did have a second look for the Woodlark on my
way back to the car , without success , finding just a few Fieldfare feeding on the ground in a brief sunny interlude , now that they have eaten all the berries on the site .
On the way home , I stopped off at a Little Owl site , but nothing was seen today . And speaking of
today , I think these two tiny ponies in a nearby paddock , had a pretty good idea of what day it was .


Warren Baker said...

I'd dearly love to find a Water Rail here Greenie, only ver recorded one indivdual, years ago.

Phil said...

Re the Swans Greenie, it was Valentines Day after all!!

ShySongbird said...

The swans and the ponies definitely thought love was in the air on Valentines Day, Greenie! The Mute Swan 'dance' must have been a very special moment to witness and was beautifully caught on camera! It was indeed very reminiscent of the GCG 'weed dance'. A lovely photo of the Fieldfare too.

I was so busy admiring your excellent views of the Snipe yesterday that I forgot to mention I liked the capture of one of of my favourite birds the Heron.

Alan Pavey said...

Love those Swan pics Greenie, you did well to get the Water Rail to.

Rodney Compton said...

We have come up with another two nest sites for the little owl between Hook Farm and Hayes Rugby Club