Sunday, 12 December 2010

Winter Wildfowl

It really is amazing how some places provide such good photo opportunities when they seem unlikely. After 2 cracking days Friday's weather didn't look good, cold...grey....dreary. It left me with a bit of a predicament of what to do, with 5 days off and the plan to birdwatch every single one of them i knew that i couldn't dilly dally so i headed off down my local river to see how it's shaping up for winter. It was full of rubbish and dog walkers and not even a fleeting glimpse of a Water Rail helped so i made a decision to head to London.

Yep, London. Not exactly the birdwatching mecca but i had a plan, in times of grey weather or when birding ideas just aren't coming easily London can definitely be productive. Any of London's major parks are great for tame wildlife but i usually head for Hyde Park, and from getting on the train to stepping off at Hyde Park tube it only takes an hour from my house and it's a fairly relaxing journey rather than driving. So by 11am i was in Hyde Park and ready for action, for 4 days previous a female Goosander was present and due to the still frozen water was fairly close to the thousands of tourists dishing out bread, however when i got there i couldn't locate it and after meeting up with Hyde Park patch worker Des McKenzie we both had another look but with no joy.

Was a bit annoying not seeing the Goosander but that's just one of those things and from then on i got on photographing the tame wildfowl in the park, these birds are of wild origin and are so accustomed to thousands of people that they are really confiding...especially in winter when the water bodies are frozen and food is harder to come by....it's much easier being fed by passers by! Here are my best snaps...

Shoveler


Tufted Duck


Pochard (Male)


Pochard (Female)


Pigeons


Mute Swan


More pigeons - these guys are a nightmare constantly mobbing me!


Moorhen


Canada Goose


Pochard (Male)

Greylag Goose



Tufted Duck

Gadwall (Male)





Shoveler





Pochard (Female)

Near the end of my time in the park i was happy to see a Jay hopping along a low fence right next to the path. I approached slowly and was getting into a position for a cracking shot until a jogger jogged past me and scared the Jay away....i didn't quite see where he'd gone but knew the general direction so went looking and found him sitting on this ornamental lampost! Managed a few shots before once again a kid ran past shouting with him mum and the bird again flew off up into a tree...from then on it was more tricky but am pleased with this photo and it's a bit different to the usual Jay photos!

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