I finished work at 1pm, the sun was out, so I decided to visit Painshill Park again. My first two visits had both been brief, but I was sure that a couple of hours there on a sunny afternoon would be time well spent.
As I left the visitor centre past the restaurant, I heard the familiar sound of a Goldcrest nearby. Sure enough, there he was, right by the picnic tables, flitting through some newly-planted hedging looking for insects. I followed him with the camera but wasn't quick enough to get a picture. I'll get you next time!
Two things were clear as I walked around the lake; there were no Goosanders, and there were an awful lot of Swans! I did think I might see a Swans' mating display, as one pair was fondling and rubbing necks. But then a third Swan swam towards them with his wings in galleon formation and his head down, and went right between them! Presumably it was his way of saying "Get away from my daughter!".
I went over the bridge to the island, and there on the hidden part of the lake was a small group of Goosanders; six male and two female. I set up camp to watch them for a while. They were quite contented doing what Goosanders do; catching fish, preening their feathers, .......
A female Goosander surreptitiously eating a fish.
A male Goosander stands up to direct the Gadwall traffic?
The Goosanders hold a conference.
Then over the hill came a cohort of mums with buggies, power-marching towards the lake.
This was all to much for the Goosanders, and they made their escape while they could!
I had also seen a lot of Egyptian Goose activity by the lake, and their favourite roost seemed to be high up in a large, mature Pine tree. At one time there were at least five up there.
All the time I had been watching the Goosanders, a Heron had been standing patiently beside the lake. Now he decided it was time for him to fly away.
Everywhere I went around the park I encountered small flocks of Long-Tailed Tits, flitting through the trees looking for food. This was my best LTT picture of the day.
I heard the beautiful song of a Mistle Thrush on the island, and walked over to try to see it. Suddenly all the birds went quiet, except for the distinctive cry of a Buzzard as it flew over.
On my way out I encountered the two ducks with their tongues hanging out (see Monday's blog), but I'll spare you another picture of them. They seemed ok, mixing happily with the other Mallards.