Friday, 9 March 2012

Friday 9th. March 2012

It has been a bit of a hectic week , hence just the one post , so it down to playing catch-up again . Amongst everything else going on , I managed to do the bird survey at Down House on Wednesday . A very cold survey it turned out to be too , but it was pleasing to record an above average 20 species . Plenty of them were in full song , and the best of the pile were two Goldcrests , busily feeding , constantly on the move as usual , and as usual , managing to keep out of the viewfinder . The Ring Necked Parakeets won't be too happy though , as their favourite nesting tree has been cut down since my last visit , and the stump revealed that it was their favourite tree as it was rotten inside , and situated on the Sandwalk , a path frequented by many of the visitors to the house and grounds , it was indeed a danger . On the way home , I stopped near Keston church to get a shot of the Winter
Heliotrope /Petasites fragrans , as they are in full flower now . An added bonus on the site was my
first Lesser Celandine / Ranunculus ficaria of the year , a bright spot in a dull day .
Yesterday was work day up on the Common , and again it turned out to be the best day of the week , but it started even more Summery , with a male Blackcap in full song in the back garden before I set off . Up on the Common , the Long-tailed Tits have almost finished their nest , beautifully
camouflaged in the Gorse . Fingers crossed for them and to a second pair that I spotted with nesting materials in a glade on the way back to the car park at the end of the day .
I got out today , but being unsure of the weather , which has remainder grey all day , decided to just visit Kelsey Park in Beckenham this morning . On arrival , I could hear the different calls that I had
heard on a previous visit , being much more 'Parrot-like' than the screeching of the RNPs , and I was soon looking at four of the Blue-crowned Parakeets , high up in a London Plane . They stayed as two pairs , never coming into frame all together , neither did they come down from the top of the tree . Eventually two flew off , and returned shortly afterwards landing in another London Plane , and
getting rather amorous with each other . In The Beck , just before it runs into the lake , I caught a
male and female Mandarin , two of 15+ seen today , still dozing . Further along , on the lake itself , a
pair of Greylag Geese were practising their lumberjack moves . As I approached the open area where people feed the ducks , I spotted a Little Grebe working it's way along the edge of the lake , where the tree roots meet the water . It seemed to be finding odd bits and pieces , so I waited for it to
arrive . I managed a few shots , just before it paddled at speed across the open area , to continue feeding on the other side . Near the waterfall , in another London Plane , already occupied by at least
two pairs of nesting RNPs , a pair of Jackdaws were considering the large hole behind them , until a Sparrowhawk flew over , and everything sounded alarms and lifted off . Food must be a bit short for the Mandarins , as further on , several were out of the water , challenging the other species for the bread brought by two young families . They didn't stay out long , and as I got close they were
heading back to the water , lead by this fine male , doing his 'funny walk' . Getting towards the far end of the park , I heard a Grey Wagtail calling but couldn't spot it . Turning back on myself where the river leaves the park , I arrived again at the bridge and small sluice , and as I arrived , so to did a
smart male Grey Wagtail , landing and calling in front of me . Walking back on the other side of the lake , the heronry was still very noisy , with many more juveniles in evidence , but it would
appear that some of the birds are still on eggs too . A juvenile Cormorant was preening on the edge of the small island , and almost at the gate leaving the park , a pair of Tufted Ducks were found ,
the male seemingly checking that everything was in place for this important time of the year , and from the look of it , his partner making sure too . If only there had been a bit more light about today .


Warren Baker said...

Good old mix of species there Greenie, I wonder if those BCP's will spread like the RNP's :-)

ShySongbird said...

A fine selection there, Greenie and they look even better when clicked on! The Mandarin doing his funny walk does look very smart and I also particularly like the Grey Wagtail. It was good to see the Little Grebe closely too, they are always very distant for me.

So good to see the Celandine in flower, none here yet.

Phil said...

Phew! Loads of good stuff there Greenie. Nearly as long as one of my posts.
I like your Mandarin, straight from the ministry of silly walks I think!
Well done with the Little Grebe, like Shy Songbird I can never get near them.

Rob said...

A full note book today, Greenie.

The LTTs are master nest builders and seem to have chosen a good site in the gorse. I hope you'll be calling on them again to report on progress.

Alan Pavey said...

Some great stuff there Greenie, love the Grey Wag and Mandarins especially!