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11th December 2018 – Eastville Park

It was a dull but still morning but I couldn’t resist the opportunity to see the goosanders again in my local park. Today the numbers had risen to five (in fact 7 were reported earlier in the day),

There were also 4 grey herons, 13 cormorants, lots of black-headed gulls, a lesser black-backed gull, a couple of first winter juveniles, a mute swan, a couple of moorhens, a few blackbirds and robins, loads of mallards and the tawny owl but not a single view of a kingfisher (the first blank for a long time).

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You can see why they are known as sawbills

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Click below for gallery of photos from this morning:

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7th December 2018 – Stoke Park

It seems to have been raining all week but that’s probably just my perception. I managed a brief trip to Duchess Pond in Stoke Park this afternoon. i’m  glad I wore my wellies as it was certainly very wet underfoot.

MT1D8077The area around the reeds has been dry until now. I saw a snipe here last year and so it was worth a look.

Other than 9 mallards and a couple of moorhens there were only 2 birds of note to photograph – a kestrel and a blackbird. A cormorant and a grey heron flew over but I was too busy trying to take landscapes to capture them with my camera.

MT1D8091Kestrel

MT1D8106Blackbird

MT1D8124Not a bird in sight

 

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30th November 2018 – Eastville Park

After a few rainy days I was beginning to get cabin fever and so it was great to get out and dodge the showers for a walk around the local park.

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A robin seemed to greet us as we walked in to the park.

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The water was running high on the weir and no bird was brave enough to take it on.

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As we made our way along the River Frome we saw the first of 3 grey herons looking rather forlorn (and comical) sitting in the long jump pit of the adjacent school playing field. The ones on the lake looked more majestic especially with the gold back drop of the reflections on the lake.

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However, they didn’t look quite as imperious as the cormorants sitting high above the lake and enjoying the sun which failed to spill down on us..

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On the main island we could still see the tawny owl in its box but as it didn’t show its face it wasn’t worth another photo of a fluffy chest.

Pigeons and ducks fought for a pile of seed that someone had provided at the end of the lake.

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A moorhen perched on a log alongside the black-headed gulls and another grey heron.

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But the best was the male kingfisher which tantalisingly flitted around the lake and then perched close up as if to show off.

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A ladybird seemed confused by the flowers on an abandoned glove on a park bench.

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A moorhen took to the water and tried dodging the rain drops beneath the beady eye of a grey heron.

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Before we left the lake, as I was looking for a customary grey wagtail, a pied wagtail appeared instead.

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As we headed for home a great tit came to say goodbye.

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Post script

Perhaps not just a fluffy chest – how many tawny owls here?

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Click below for gallery of today’s photos.

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26th November 2018 – Eastville Park

It’s been another glorious day and really quite warm for November. Following a morning’s game of golf at The Kendleshire Golf Club just north of Bristol, where I saw a grey heron and 2 cormorants, I decided it was too nice to stay in this afternoon so I had a walk around the local park. 

Grey heron at The Kendleshire Golf Club
Still some colour in some of the trees
The reflections show how still a morning it was.

In Eastville Park I saw 2 grey herons, 5 cormorants, a tawny owl, 2 kingfishers, a wren and a grey wagtail.

Grey heron in Eastville Park
This grey heron was disturbed by the one above and moved on to the River Frome
The tawny owl was very reluctant to show his face.
The cormorants have a spooky look about them
The wren looks really tiny on the weir
The grey wagtail was difficult to photograph as it never seems to stop still for a moment and the light was not good.
The kingfisher was also very busy around the park 
With long lenses the kingfisher often seems quite big in my photos: here it can be seen with its reflection in the water.

Gallery of photos from today.

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21st November 2018 – Cherington, Gloucestershire

Well the weather really has changed. As we drove to see some friends at Avening in the Cotswolds it began to snow. It didn’t come to anything but it was enough to make us realise the seasons are moving on.  We had a pleasant little walk from Avening through the hamlet of Nag’s Head towards Cherington. As we passed Cherington Pond in the woods we saw a couple of little grebe which prompted me to write this blog. The light was very poor but we could certainly make out the little grebes, one with a fish almost as large as the one I had for my lunch at the excellent Ragged Cot on our way to Minchinhampton  Common.

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The first winter look

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Holes for the bees in this house in Nag’s Head

DSC04387Cherington Pond – 2 mute swans and a few mallards in the distance (honest)

DSC04425_12 little grebe take centre stage from the mallards

DSC04396Little grebe with fish

DSC04444We needed to find a pub where these would be put to good use on a roaring fire

Click below for gallery of photos from this morning (in very dull light which demonstrated how lucky I have been with the light recently).

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19th November 2018 -Eastville Park

It was much colder this morning as I walked around our local park. I was soon cheered as the first bird I saw was a dipper (which I hadn’t seen for a while) on the River Frome. It was joined by a grey wagtail which was well camouflaged amongst the leaves on the river.

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A little further along the river there was a grey heron and then another on the lake.

DSCF9494Grey heron on the river

DSCF9497Grey heron on the river

DSCF9502Grey heron on the lake

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I was lucky again to catch sight of a kingfisher, although this morning I only managed to see it on the one occasion.

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The tawny owl was not in its box but as Andrew (from the Frome Fairies) was clearing the detritus of fishing paraphernalia from on and around the island it wasn’t surprising. I was pleased to spend some time chatting with him when he paddled (very skilfully) across the lake to see me. I also enjoyed spending some time chatting with Nigel and his little dog, both of whom I hadn’t seen for a while. He told me of all his recent sightings of otters and showed me the spot where he had seen them. Luckily the sun came out when I was at the lake and, as well as chatting a lot, I took a few shots of the lake which is still surprisingly colourful.

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Click below for a gallery of my photos from this morning:

 

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13th November 2018 – Stoke Park and Eastville Park

I had so little success looking for birds in Stoke Park that I turned my attention to taking landscape shots and I continued in that vain when I moved on to Eastville Park. And then 3 kingfishers came out to play … and I got over excited and took too many photos.

In Stoke Park I did get a very poor photo of a reed bunting, a cormorant and a moorhen. In Eastville Park I was lucky with a grey wagtail, a tawny owl, a cormorant and a grey heron too.

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DSCF6930-2Reed bunting in Stoke Park

DSC04065Cormorant in Stoke Park

DSCF7041Moorhen in Stoke Park

All the birds below were in Eastville Park:

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My favourite landscapes of Stoke Park were:

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… and my favourite landscapes of Eastville Park:

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Click below for a gallery of my photos from today:

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12th November 2018 – Eastville Park

Having played golf this morning and not wanting to pick up leaves in the garden this afternoon a late walk in Eastville Park seemed the best option.

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IMG_2979It was a lovely bright morning for golf but it was surprising that, on such a beautiful wooded course, I saw very few birds and certainly didn’t get a sniff of a birdie.

We were well rewarded  because, as well as seeing our two old friends the kingfisher and the grey heron, we caught a glimpse of one of the the tawny owls we had heard reports of.

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DSC03897The first bird to greet us in the park was a grey heron

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DSC03911The lake is still very colourful

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DSC03956The tawny owl was just visible now that the leaves have fallen

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The lake also looks remarkably colourful in my photos for this time of the year and for that time of the day but I don’t remember it looking that bright on our walk (oh the joys of Japanese technology and American software). However, with the treat of a tawny owl our smiles were certainly very bright.

Click below for gallery of all my photos from this afternoon: