Apologies in advance for some truly awful photos today, neither the weather nor my patience was on my side.
I had a day off work today, so after running a few errands I wandered off to Cranford Park. The sky was overcast, but the forecast predicted it would brighten up later. A few days ago my friend Tony had visited the park and commented on his blog (link to Tonys blog ) how colourful the place was with all the autumn leaves. He wasn't wrong. Cranford Park really does look best in the autumn.
In the Info Centre, the lone chrysalis is still hanging by the door.
There were good numbers of Goldfinches flying around today. Shame the light was so awful, my photo does no justice to these lovely finches' colours.
I played hide and seek with the three Little Grebes on the river. They are definitely becoming more used to humans now, but are still quite skittish and dive if you make any quick movement.
One of the Kestrels was high in a tree watching for any prey.
The colourful autumn leaves really were quite stunning.
The huge mistletoe tree by the car park, that was almost cut in half by the St Judes storm, looks even more forlorn now its lost all its leaves. You can really see clearly now, just how badly damaged the tree was.
The dip in the Ice House copse made for some interesting views along the path.
From the Headland area the autumnal colour continued.
In Cranford Woods I found this Great Spotted Woodpecker foraging amongst the bare branches. Sorry for the dreadful photo !
I have several favourite spots at Cranford Park, the most recent one being by the side of the stone bridge. There's a shelf area right by the river, which is just big enough for me to sit on, drink my flask of coffee, have a fag and wait to see what appears. I accidentally flushed the Grey Wagtail when I sat down, and it didn't come back while I was there, but it was nice to know it's still hanging around. I also didn't see the Kingfishers today, but workmen were on the green bridge rubbing down the old paintwork, so the Kingfishers were possibly right down the other end of the river.
While I sat and pondered I received a text from Sue. She was at Thorney CP with Jasper the bird-dog and had seen a male Bullfinch. Knowing that Bullfinches were my bogey bird (the only time I have seen one was when a juvenile was caught and ringed during my Bird Ringing Course back in 2008), Sue kindly offered to drive over to Cranford to pick me up and take me to Thorney. Bless her.
She had first seen the Bullfinch a few hours earlier but didn't have her camera with her, so she shot home, grabbed her camera, raced back and re-located the bird and got a nice record shot. However when we both got on site, no matter how hard we looked or listened, we could not find the little lovely. Instead we saw Redwings, Little Grebes, Great Crested Grebes, a pair of Gadwall, plenty of Robins and Blackbirds, a Fieldfare, Long-tailed Tits, Blue Tits, a brief glimpse of a Kingfisher, Wrens and a nice flock of around 20 Siskins. Please excuse my dreadful photos of them, but they will do until I can get a better view.
The Thorney Park resident Kestrel was much easier to photograph than the Cranford Park one, although it did help that the clouds had gone by then, so visibility was that much better.
So not a bad day out and about, two Country Parks visited in one day but I dipped on the Bullfinch as per usual. Of course my blog would be incomplete without a photo of Jasper the bird-dog, so here he is just after having a nice drink from the fishing lake at Thorney.
Postscript: to prove there was a Bullfinch around, this is Sues brilliantly grabbed photo.