Thursday, 25 September 2014

An early morning glance at Knole

I've not been to Knole Park for ages. So this morning I went there, setting out before dawn under clear, cool and still conditions.

Here's the park just as the sun started to light it up. I don't know about the 'golden hour' - it was more like the 'golden five minutes' as things seemed to progress very rapidly from pre-sunrise to proper daytime.

This tree was the preferred perch of the Meadow Pipits in this open area - they flew into it when flushed by anyone or anything. When a golf buggy went by, they seemed to explode out of the long grass - there must have been 50 of them at least.

A small subset of the Mipit flock. These are presumably passage birds, soon to continue moving south and/or coastwards.

They wouldn't let me very close, though this one was a bit more relaxed than the others.

One more glowy sunrise shot, before the light turned all daytime-like and boring.

Around the parking area near the house, lots of Pied Wagtails were feeding. Not as many as there were Meadow Pipits a little further off, but about 20 I guess. The usual Knole fare was much in evidence, with many Jackdaws, Woodpigeons and Ring-necked Parakeets going to and fro overhead. A couple of small flocks of Swallows also went by, heading south (as you'd expect).

I spent about an hour and a half, I guess, wandering around the vicinity of the house. One of the things I found was this pretty fabulous big mushroom, all on its own. Any idea what species?

A low-flying Sparrowhawk raced past, sending a feeding flock of Starlings up in a panic, but if it was hunting I don't think it was successful this time.

I stopped for a little while in a spot where I had a good view into a large tree and was more or less screened off by tall bracken, to see if anything came along. This proved a good tactic with a Goldcrest showing well (but moving too damn fast for photos), a passing tit flock, and this almost invisible Treecreeper.

Then a Jay came in and landed on a low branch, apparently unaware I was there. This is the way to 'do' Knole if you want bird photos - find a hiding place and wait. Sadly I didn't have that much time today.

Heading home now, I stopped to check out another tree, which was full of Chaffinches, and a Nuthatch popped up.

Nearby, a Green Woodie treated me to a few microseconds of side-on view before doing its disappearing act.

No really obliging Mistle Thrushes today, though there were plenty rattling about.

Also a few Chiffchaffs, including some singing, and some just posing like little green angels.

A juvenile Woodpigeon. There were also a few Stock Doves around.

And finally, what about the deer? No sign of rutting activity as yet. This dark young buck was with a pale and spotty friend of the same age, and the does and mature bucks don't yet seem to be getting themselves organised for autumnal shenanigans. It's been a couple of years since I photographed the rut here (actually I just checked and it was 20 October 2011) - I might have another crack at it this year.


Warren Baker said...

Lots of ''Mipits'' here too Marianne, they are also flushed up by anything and everything!

I quite often just sit and wait in a likely spot and see what turns up, can be quite enjoyable, as you found :-)

Bob Telford said...

Very nice. I too totally agree with "let the birds come to you approach", it's just a shame Green Woodpeckers won't even hang around even when they don't know you're about.