Monday, 13 November 2017

First Bittern of the season at the London Wetland Centre

I haven't been out much recently due to some issues with my eyes but I need to keep active and decided on a whim yesterday (Sunday) morning to pop down to the London Wetland Centre. The first Bittern of the season was seen recently and it's a bit of a regular yearly 'thing' to get down to the reserve and see the bird for yourself.
 
Known amongst my group of friends on the Unofficial London Wetland Centre facebook group (link here) as Burt the Bittern, it was also nice to see some of the regular smiling faces.
 
My visit wasn't very long though, just enough to see Burt amongst the still green reeds and watch him fly over the reserve towards the Wildside.
 
So here are a few edited shots.....
 
 





 
 




 
Big thanks to Phillip, John, Martin, Joe, Therese and the others, for the banter and laughs.





Friday, 3 November 2017

Feeding the Parakeets at Kensington Gardens

Feeding the birds at Kensington Gardens is not a new thing for me, I've been doing it for years, however for Stella this was a whole new experience. I think I enjoyed myself more today watching Stella than I did anything else. Armed with monkey nuts and apples we had a lovely time and I only got bit a couple of times !
 
Lots of photo opportunities and all the ones of me were taken by Stella.....



 


 





 


 
We'll be going back next month to hopefully hand feed the smaller birds.
 
The male Black Swan is back again. He sometimes spends time at one of the other royal parks...

 
There were plenty of Black-headed Gulls around but without their summer 'brown' heads....

 
I'm very fond of Cormorants. There is something about their ugly faces that really appeals to me.....



 
One of them couldn't decide in which position he/she was more comfortable.....
 

 
The Starlings that loiter by the Dell restaurant are very used to people, and often sit on your table as you're eating. The adults are looking particularly colourful at the moment...
 
 
A Heron had landed on an old tree and the Grey Squirrel wasn't very happy about that. Risking it's life several times it tried to move the Heron on, but the Heron won in the end and the Squirrel retreated....

 
 
We also saw Ralph, the man behind the daily blog (read it here) and heard a Little Owl calling several times. It was only a short visit so we didn't check out the sighting of the Firecrest. It was just a very pleasant way to pass a few hours and with great company.
 
Thanks Stella. Maybe we need to bring more food next time ? Haha


 
 
 
 

Thursday, 26 October 2017

The new hide at Maple Lodge NR

I was invited to the opening of the new hide at Maple Lodge NR today. No photos of the good turn out as I only had my zoom lens, but I'm sure there will be photos posted by others on their Facebook page (link here). Maple Lodge NR also has it's own web page full of facts and the history of the reserve plus the extensive list of birds, mammals, amphibians, insects, butterflies etc seen at the reserve (link here)
 
But here are some photos of the new Mike Foulkes Hide that I managed to get after the opening. Mike Foulkes was the first chairman of the reserve and it was a pleasure to meet his widow and family today.
 
The old hide had very narrow steep steps but this one is very comfortable with very good views over the reserve and the newly refurbished pond at the front of the hide. There are two levels seating at least 4-6 people each very nicely.
 
 

 
The weather was pretty dreary today but that doesn't matter at Maple Lodge NR as there are plenty of hides to shelter in.
 
There was a Great Spotted Woodpecker from the Clubhouse Hide....
 
 
and a very showy male Green Woodpecker from the Rotunda Hide....
 



 
As to be expected at this time of year there were good numbers of ducks on site, with Shoveller, Gadwall, Mallard and one of my favourites, the delicate small colourful Teal...
 
 
I also saw my first Wigeon of the year from the comfort of the Lynsters Hide....

 
From the same hide some Greylag geese were grabbing forty winks....

 
The clouds may have been downcast and the sky very grey but there was the odd welcome splash of colour with some late blooming flowers....

 
and spider webs always look good after a damp grey mist....


 
Of course the Black-headed Gulls don't care what the weather is like.....

 
There were a good mix of ages amongst the BH Gulls, note the juvenile on the left in the photo above with the smattering of brown feathers still on his bike. Also viewable but a bit distant for any photos was an adult still in summer plumage with a full chocolate brown head.
 
I missed a great photo opportunity today though. As I was walking away from the Lynsters Hide I could hear the familiar sound of a Buzzard or Red Kite 'mewing'. It sounded quite near so I made my way to the Barn Owl meadow and watched the skies overhead. In to view came a lovely calling Red Kite which then circled around me before unbelievably landing on the field right in front of the Lynsters Hide !! The hide I had just left ! It stayed just long enough to attract the attention of a couple of crows who then mobbed the bird until it took off.
 
If only I had stayed in the hide for a few minutes more !!
 
Against the grey sky and in the drizzly rain my flight shots of the Kite look dreadful but they will do for a 'record' shot for todays blog....


 
Another successful and enjoyable visit to my second favourite place and to see the usual regulars there.  Maybe my next visit will be on a better weather day.