Sunday, 6 July 2014

Two in one day - London Wetland Centre and Cranford Park

I had arranged to meet up with a few of the regulars at Barnes this morning, and it really was nice to have a coffee, banter and catch up with them all (thank you John C, Therese, John F, Phillip, Martin, Joe, Rick and Keith). As always with these types of meet ups, we all wander off and re-meet for more coffee later.
The Centre was alive with woodpeckers today. The most prolific being the big Greens. We saw them in trees, on path ways and even on top of the Sand Martin bank.

Spot the Woody
There were also good numbers of Great Spotted Woodpeckers around too, males and females and juveniles.
From the Peacock tower and with the aid of Phillips bird scope, I could finally see the nesting resident Little Ringed Plover. It's quite hard to see with just the bins, and unusually for these birds the nest isn't on shingle, but on a open short patch of greenery. Impossible to get a photo of the female on the nest, but as luck would have it the resident male chased an intruding male right into my eye view.
The intruding male

Resident male on the left, intruder being chased on the right
Resident male having a victory feed
Elsewhere  there were good numbers of Small Skippers...
The Wildlife Garden wasn't looking as good as I've seen it in previous years, but it did give me some more ideas and inspiration for my own patch back at Mum's.

Common Lizards were also out in good numbers, but none of my photos came out very well.
After a quick bite to eat I made a short visit to the Wildside area.
One of the Common Terns was again fishing very close to the bridge in the first channel.
And by Rattys hut I finally managed some half decent photos of some damsels and dragons.
female Blue-tailed Damselfly

Blue-tailed Damselflies mating
female Emperor Dragonfly ovi-posting

Five of us then went on to Cranford Park hoping the Little Owls would put on another show like Friday. They didn't oblige. But we had fun anyway taking photos of each other.....
John F and Phillip

Joe and Rick
And the Kestrels won where the Little Owls failed.
We watched all three juveniles flying around, landing on the tree guards, practising their hovering and eating crickets and grasshoppers from the grassy paths, often joined by both of the adult birds.
We also witnessed the juveniles often being harassed by the resident Magpies.

So not a bad day out at all. The company and banter was great, and it was just a shame the Little Owls weren't playing the game. We did spot two very briefly, found by John 'Eagle Eyes' Few, but they weren't in the mood to pose for photos.
And lastly I saw my first Cinnabar moth caterpillars at Cranford Park this afternoon. The patches of Common Ragwort will soon be full of these colourful little critters.

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