Saturday, 23 April 2011


On Wednesday morning I got up very early and set out to Knole Park in search of Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, inspired by Phil Sharp's (of Sharp by Nature fame) recent success. Given my recent track record with this species, it will come as no surprise that I didn't find any, though I'm not certain I made it to the best part of the park to look - I did get a bit lost on my meanderings.

It was a gorgeous morning, still as you like, with clear skies but hammocks of mist across the valleys. The Knole deer are in mellow mood. These three Fallows had a little friend with them, a confused Greylag Goose.

These three Sikas, on the other hand, looked a bit menacing as they approached over the brow of a hill.

My unaccustomed route took me past several very picturesque small pools (or perhaps they should be called water hazards, as I was on the edge of the golf course). This one contained a Sika deer, and I regret that I had too long a lens to catch its reflection as well as the beast itself.

Approaching a rough scrubby area, I heard a Yellowhammer calling. He didn't let me get too close. I also heard Whitethroat singing.

Forging onwards, I reached a more wooded area, though I think I was closer to the school than to the Godden Green entrance, which was where I was attempting to get to. Birds in the wood included this fine male Blackbird.

I noticed a flock of Ring-necked Parakeets descend to examine this water trough in a small clearing.

Along one of the sunny rides through the woody bit was this Drone-fly, which provided several minutes' distraction as I attempted to get an in-flight shot. I remembered too late that I'd intended to try manual focus next time I saw one of these - still, it's sharp enough, just very badly lit.

The trees were full of Nuthatches and Great Spotted Woodpeckers. I didn't have much luck getting photos of either, sadly, but here's a Nuthatch anyway.

Another shy Bird of Knole - a Stock Dove. I was hiding under the tree when this one arrived, and it didn't spot me for a moment. I do like the twisty dead branch it's sitting on.

Green Woodpeckers were, as usual, abundant and unapproachable. All the photos I got were from a great distance, but I've included this one for its comedic value - the woodie seems to have tripped over a blade of grass.

Finally, a bird that didn't mind having its photo taken. This Jackdaw had a drooping wing, I hope it's OK. It was certainly foraging with plenty of energy and enthusiasm.

I didn't see or hear any sign of Lesserpecker this time. I may give it one more try before the leaves grow in completely and everything goes quiet.

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