Thursday, 19 May 2011

Parks and gardens

I'll kick off this post with a quick mention of Michele's mum's garden, where there are currently a bunch of fledgling House Sparrows on view. I didn't realise this when I went over on Saturday, and had to make an emergency call to Rob to please bring my camera when he came to pick me up in the early evening. It was getting a bit gloomy by then but thanks to the miracle of high ISOs I still got a few shots.

Dad seemed to be doing most of the hard work, trundling off to the fat-ball that Michele had put out, and delivering a mouthful of it to one of the squeaking, fluttering babies. Gradually, they will get bored with waiting to be served and will watch and learn how to feed themselves.

On Wednesday, I went to Sue's for our usual Wednesday Apprentice-fest. I still can't believe Lordalan fired the lovely Gavin :( Anyway, before all that, we had a little walk in Dunorlan Park in Tunbridge Wells. There wasn't all that much to see. Cloudy and rather chilly weather kept the insects away - the only one of note that I saw was a mono-antennaed scorpion-fly, who I won't embarrass by posting her photo here.

 Dunorlan Park has beautifully landscaped grounds surrounding a pretty lake, which is full of mostly manky (ie of domestic origin) Mallards and Swan Geese. There are also several Greylags, and they have been busy making more Greylags.

There were three families of goslings around, from fluffy, wide-eyed babies to gangly, half-feathered adolescents. They looked very sweet as they relaxed or went for little jogs among the daisies.

Now this, I did not expect to see. The lake attracts gulls in winter, but a Common Tern cruising over the lake looked more than a little out of place.

It landed on one of the pedalos, and then I noticed another one on the next-door boat, which joined the new arrival on pedalo 23. The two then performed a courtly bowing display together on their incongruous perch. Surely they are not thinking of breeding here...?

Well, if they do, they won't want for fish. This one grabbed a perfectly adequate fish supper from the lake and flew off with it.

Back at Sue's, I prowled around the garden a bit while Sue ate a bit of leftover Chinese takeaway for her lunch. She left the remains by the garden bench and went off to do some householdy things, and it wasn't long before the unattended food was spotted.

The local male Blackbird chose a piece of crispy duck from the little tupperware pot and spent some time trying to arrange it comfortably in his bill before nipping over the fence, presumably to feed it to one of his brood. I hope MSG is not bad for baby Blackbirds.

Sitting on a chair on the patio, I looked over on next door's roof and spotted my first juvenile Starling of the year, with mum or dad in close attendence. Another youngster joined them, but to my disappointment they didn't come down to the feeders.

However, a noisy Great Tit family did. Just like the House Sparrows at Michele's, the adult was feeding the chicks on bits of fatball.

The shape of the trellis thingy from which the feeders hang, and the position the young Great Tits had chosen, meant it was tricky to get a good, unobscured angle. By really slouching in my chair I managed a clearish shot or two.


Mike Attwood said...

Superb shots of the gosling. Six years ago we had no terns on our local pond now they fight for nesting places we have so many turn up.

Marianne said...

Thanks Mike :) I have had a little look online and can't find any evidence that they have bred at the park before, but if pairs at other inland waters are struggling to find nest sites then they will be forced to look elsewhere. Would be very interesting to see what happened if these two decided to set up home on a pedalo!

Anke said...

Lovely shots of the Terns, I saw them for the first time today, it was a wonderful sight!

James McKenzie said...

Well done on a great blog site, Rob & Mazza some great photographs there. I will be keeping a eye on this great website...