Old Haunts

31st MARCH - 4th APRIL 2010

While I was in Rome, I received an email from work asking for anecdotes from the past for an ex-colleague who was retiring at the end of the month. Never one to miss a party, my first day home saw me in Crawley, and in the afternoon I visited Buchan Country Park and Warnham Mill.

There was a pair of Great Crested Grebes at Buchan, but no sign yet of a nest. It started raining and I didn't stay long.

I spent an hour or so at Warnham Mill, Horsham, where I was the only visitor. There was very little on the lake (no sign of Grebes), and I spent most of my time in the newly-enclosed woodland hide. All the usual suspects were there, including Blackbirds, ...

... Chaffinches (this one with signs that he is suffering from the leg-warts common among chaffinches), ...

... several Reed Buntings, both male and female, ...

... as well as Tree-Creepers, Redpolls, Robins, Chiffchaff, various Tits, and probably others I've forgotten.

Back at the café, a smart young Magpie was making a lot of noise about something.

The following day was spent with a group of friends including Mike & Trish from Cape Town, who we hadn't seen for some time. The day included a walk in Bushey Park, where the Ring-Necked Parakeets were busy devouring the blossom.

My favourite local haunt was looking seasonal on Good Friday, with the Greylag Geese among the daffodills.

The Great Crested Grebes had moved in to their nest, and were obviously incubating. I watched them change places on the nest, and I could see two eggs, though there may be more. Mr Grebe is seen standing up to leave while Mrs Grebe patiently awaits her turn, ....

... and she then climbs carefully up on to the nest.

Mr Grebe headed straight off to find some food, and it didn't take him long to come up with a good-sized fish. He found it quite a struggle to swallow it!

On my way home, I spent an hour on a bridleway bridge over the River Mole. The Chiffchaffs were making their presence known and singing well.

I was also hoping for a Kingfisher, as it seemed like an ideal spot. One did fly down the river, but it didn't stop for a photograph.

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