Friday, 22 February 2013

A pleasant but very cold trip to the London Wetland Centre

It's really no wonder my nick-name is Wino ! Blogger is fast turning me into an alcofrolic. Over an hour trying to upload photos, three not posted, and none posted in order. I enjoy my wine while Im going thru my photos and posting them to various sites, but over 30 mins to post just one photo to Blogger is turning me Wino-Wild !!!!! I know its not my internet connection as Im not having problems with other sites like Flickr or Facebook (though FB not prefect either) Blogger - you really need to sort this out, my patience is fast running out !!!!
Anyway, rant over, back to today (memories of which have been soured by blasted Blogger ucking me about). I decided very last minute this morning, to head off to Barnes, the London Wetland Centre. I briefly popped up to Lake Farm but it is so exposed there, the wind was biting thru me, and all the Reed Buntings had hunkered down in the usual hedgerow, so I jumped on the bus to Hatton Cross station and made my way to Hammersmith. The first birds I saw were a very obliging pair of Shoveller on the pond right in front of the cafe. They were doing what Shovellers do best.....shovelling. Going round and round in circles, stirring up the mud to release all that lovely juicy goodness. There was a photo of them doing that, but Blogger has chosen not to share it !
Gorgeous male Shoveller on pond in front of cafe. The photo of the female is lower down my page.
There wasn't a great deal about today. The wind was strong and cold, and there were snow flurries for the better part of the day. The bird feeders were very busy, as to be expected in this kind of weather. Not only were the usual Blue and Great Tits around, but plenty of Chaffinch and a Robin, and the usual ground feeders of Moorhen and Coots. I was hoping the cold weather would bring out a Water Rail but it didn't. A male Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Jay took advantage of the easily accessible food, though the woodpecker had somewhat more success than the Jay. The Jay was hanging around the feeders every time I passed by, but I don't think it once got a successful meal by jumping on the feeders. If anything it seemed to be getting more and more frustrated (a bit like me with Blogger tonight !) and kept flitting to the ground after getting nowhere with trying to grab some food from the feeders. Photos of the Jay are, again, further down my post, as Blogger seems unable to post my photos in order !

female Shoveller
The Peacock Tower at Barnes was closed today, due to loose roof tiles. I would share the posted notice with you, but Blogger wont let me. Nearby to the tower, I found the below Great Crested Grebe, solo, pulling up reeds and mud, and trying to shove them into the reeds. If its building a potential nest, I don't think it will be successful. The site is too near to the paths that go thru the site, and this bird doesn't appear to have a mate with it. It may be that it was 'practising', therefore it could be an inexperienced grebe. Only time will tell.

Anyone would think it was MY fault this Jay couldn't get food from the feeders. It certainly took its frustration out on me by raising its 'crest' and glaring.

Despite looking for Bitterns for most of the day, I didn't see any, and that's with an old friend of mine, Michael, a well known and experienced birder at Barnes, checking the site with me. Michael suggested it was because it was just too windy today. It was desperately cold, but none of the pools or lakes were iced over. Best conditions for Bitterns and Water Rails to be seen, are a cold but still day, ideally with waters iced over so the birds have to come out in the open to feed. We think today most of them were just hunkered down against the wind, just like my Reed Buntings at Lake Farm.

Amongst other birds seen today was a male Tufted Duck with a tagged bill. Again I would love to show you the photo I took, but Blogger hasn't let me upload it. So below is a copy of my photo uploaded to Flickr (that site seems able to cope with my pics......)

bill tagged male Tufted Duck

I also got a nice shot of a male and female Teal standing on a log by the Bat-house. I always check that log as if the light is good, you can get some great picturesque photos of any ducks that choose to sit there. Luckily for me today it was the Teals turn to sit there, unluckily for me Blogger again wont let me share this photo. I'll be posting it to my Flickr account tomorrow, three hours of trying to do this blog is enough for me tonight.

So apologies if I come across as being a tad grumpy tonight, I actually came home in quite a good mood, but I am becoming increasingly more frustrated with Blogger. If anyone can recommend an alternative FREE blog site, please feel free to.......

Cheers :)

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