More Signs of Spring

15th - 23rd MARCH 2010

This series starts and finishes where many of my pictures are recorded just now - at Painshill.

I arrived one day to find a pair of Swans just starting their courtship dance, and was treated to a full demonstration!

It was also clear that the pair of Great Crested Grebes were more than just good friends.

THe following day, I took my car to the garage in Byfleet for a service and walked back home along the canal, taking several hours over the journey. My first pleasure was to hear a Dunnock in full song.

This was closely followed by a Song Thrush, which was sharing a branch with a quieter and less tuneful Blue Tit.

Not to be outdone, the Chaffinches were adding their melody.

And lurking in a waterlogged orchard with the Shetland ponies was a flock of Redwing, tricked by the cool spring into staying with us for longer than they usually do.

No walk in north Surrey is complete without a few squawking Ring-Necked Parakeets.

And when it comes to squawking, the usually secretive Jay is well able to hold his own.

In the millpond at Cox's mill, a pair of Great Crested Grebes were foraging together. No sign of a nest yet though.

And under the railway bridge, the Pigeons were working on their mass-production line of squabs, which has continued through the winter.

At the weekend, we met James at the RHS gardens at Wisley where he was offering a time-shifted Mother's Day coffee. Inevitably I managed to find a few birds there!

Back in our garden, the Song Thrush was as always busy.

And the Magpies were slowly removing all of the small branches from the weeping willow, to build the perfect nest!

While the Goldfinches just posed and ate.

As promised, I'm back at Painshill, it's a grey morning, and this chance shot of a pair of rising Greylag against a background of bare trees makes a pleasing composition.

After stalking a Heron for a while, he rewarded me by leaping into the water, grabbing a fish, and leaping out again before he swallowed it safely on the shore.

And the Grebes were busy working on their nest.

In the tree, Mr Nuthatch was making a lot of noise and very little tune ...

... while Mr Song Thrush was projecting his varied and beautiful song over much of the park.

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