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Bunting On Bracken

Bunting On Braken

Bunting On Bracken

It’s NOT a snow bunting but it is in the snow. It’s NOT on reeds but it is a reed bunting! Bird watching can be ever so confusing 😉

Reed Bunting in the snow

These were taken on Friday morning in Bushy Park, with a smattering of snow. The bracken is a hiding place for lots of small insects that the birds are feeding on. There were bunting, wrens, robins, great tits, blue tits, chiffchaff  and stonechats all flitting in and out of the bracken near Heron Pond. They can be hard to spot! I listen for the song and look for movement to find my subjects, but sometimes you don’t know they’re there until you’re almost on top of them and they take flight.

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ShareMondays2019 – OH!

OH!

ShareMondays2019 – OH!

Definitely the largest fish I’ve ever seen one of the Bushy Park herons catch! Pretty sure it’s a common carp. After successfully evading the Heron Pond anglers and keeping itself warm in the dense reed-beds on a frosty night, I think the last thing this fish expected was to be gobbled up for breakfast. It actually gave it’s captor a few firm tail-slaps around the face, for good measure, on the way down! OH! Well, my mum coined it and I couldn’t really call it anything else. So with a busy Monday ahead, this is my entry for all three of the Monday photo challenges including Wex Mondays and Fotospeed. Have a great week everyone!

Hunting Heron

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Mistle Thrush In Bushy Park

Mistle Thrush Guarding Mistletoe Patch

Mistle Thrush In Bushy Park

I have seen so many beautiful things this past week and I would love to share much more with you today but, I have to restrict myself! Mostly it’s because I’m involved in some ongoing creative projects that are a bit “hush hush” for now. It’s all very exciting! You will all get to see the outcomes of these but I have to keep you in suspense for a little while longer. Anyway, speaking of beautiful and exciting, here is a wonderful mistle thrush in Bushy Park. It was one of a pair, fiercely protecting it’s patch in the Woodland Gardens. It’s guarding a bounty of mistletoe in the treetops! When pairs of mistle thrush guard an area like this in the Winter, it usually means that they will nest in the area come February. So thrilled to see this behaviour! I really hope that I will be lucky enough to watch this pair on other visits to Bushy Park and see if they will nest successfully.

 

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Blue Monday : Banquet For Blue Tits

Banquet For Blue Tits

Blue Monday : Banquet For Blue Tits

The bountiful berries of the Cornus kousa, a flowering dogwood, make a fine banquet for the diminutive blue tits in the Autumn. It’s a feast for the eyes to watch them! There are a number of kousa trees around the grounds at RHS Wisley Gardens, but the best fruiting and most visited ones are just at the bottom of the rose garden. While other birds have to forage below the trees for fallen fruit, the blue tit appears to be the only visitor light enough to feed directly from the fruit ripening on the tree. Occasionally even these lightweights accidentally pick a berry that can’t quite support them and they tumble down through the leaves. I’m yet to catch that amusing sight on camera! My lead image really captures how adept they are at feeding from the berries, so I’m entering it into today’s ShareMondays2018 and Fotospeed challenges. I’ll keep on trying to photograph one their epic fails!

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ShareMondays2018 – Shelter

Shelter

ShareMondays2018 – Shelter

I took my parents along to see the wonderful little grebe family on the Glasshouse Lake at RHS Wisley Gardens last week. They put on the most tender display of parenthood for us! Such a treat and a joy to share it with my mum and dad.

Shelter

For every dad
Who’s carried
Us upon their backs,
Provided shelter
Away from harm,
Fed us,
Clothed us,
Kept us warm.
We leave the nest
Yet still rest
Upon your strong arm.
Wrapped in your love
For all our lives,
Laugh with us,
Cry with us,
We know you would
Die for us.
But do you know
That this time dad,
It’s us,
Your kids,
Who’ve got your back.

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ShareMondays2018 – Little Grebe Family

Little Grebe Family

ShareMondays2018 – Little Grebe Family

For ShareMondays and WexMondays this week I just couldn’t resist the delightful little grebes, on the Glasshouse Lake, at RHS Wisley Gardens! Both parents take turns on the nest incubating the eggs and warming the chicks, or out on the waters collecting food and extra nesting material to keep their precious brood safe and secure. There were three tiny chicks and several eggs still to hatch when I visited on Saturday. The adults are very busy and will be for some time to come! The chicks crawl up under the wings of the adults to nestle in against their backs for warmth. In this family portrait the male grebe is feeding a nymph (possibly dragonfly) to the striped chick. It was really heart-warming to watch the care these two parents afford their new babies, a truly tender moment.

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Watching Whitethroats

Hard to spot a whitethroat in the heat-browned leaves

Watching Whitethroats

Finding a family of whitethroats (one of our many summer visitors from the warbler family) living next to the bird hide at Heather Farm has been a real treat! They’re actually behind the hide which makes it harder to hide from them. They, however, are very adept at staying hidden even when I can clearly hear them. Often the first clue is the tutting noise from one of the adults as they call the fledgelings out. Eventually one will make an appearance as I keep as still and silent as possible!

Whitethroat adult calling out the fledgelings

The next clue is the rustling and shaking in the brambles. The juveniles are in there somewhere! They eat a mix of insects and berries so are really enjoying feasting on the early blackberries. I watch the trail of movement through the brambles until one of the youngsters finally pops into view!

Fledgeling whitethroat eyeing up the berries

They don’t see me as a threat as I stay in the shadows of the hide, still and silent. Soon three fledgelings are bustling about on the brambles, before moving up into the branches of the three silver birches in this little grove. They really seem to enjoy the seeds of the birch trees! Two of these trees have been greatly affected by this summer’s heatwave. The seeds have matured early and the leaves have browned as the tree sheds them to conserve it’s dwindling water supply. The birds are easy to spot in the green leaves but utterly camouflaged against the browns, as you can see in my lead image!

Fledgeling whitethroat in the silver birch

Eventually the adults led their brood into the reeds near the boardwalks at the entrance to the wetlands centre. The reeds swayed and shook for a while to show their progress but they were soon well hidden from my sight or that of potential predators. I loved watching the little family and hope to see more of them before the end of the season. The previous morning I had attended a bird-ringing event at the centre, led by Surrey BTO, Horsell Common Preservation Society and The Thames Basin Heath Partnership. We had ringed lots of blackcaps, tits, reed warblers and wrens but the whitethroats had evaded us! It’s wonderful to see the success of this recently created nature reserve growing year on year. Today I’m sharing my camouflaged whitethroat as part of WexMondays.