A Walk in the Park

I’ve been dragging myself out of bed recently, rather than springing into action with eagerness. Whether it’s the time of year, a lack of motivation or just a natural tendency to idleness I’m not quite sure. As spring approaches and removes the time of year as a factor things may become clearer.

The late start, when linked to a bit of paper work, some hoovering, lunch and several episodes of Four in a Bed meant that we didn’t get out until the light was beginning to fail. That meant we had go somewhere close for our walk, and the nearest place with ducks is Arnot Hill Park in Arnold.

I’ll leave a description of the park until later, when I can take some better photographs. There wasn’t much light and I didn’t want to waste valuable duck watching time by taking pictures of buildings. Birds move, but buildings tend to still be there when you go back later.

We started off with a light feed of sunflower hearts and attracted a reasonable selection – Mallards, some interesting cross-breeds, Coots, Moorhens, Tufted Duck and a Mandarin drake. I couldn’t get many decent shots because they were moving too fast for the camera.

At that point a man appeared and started feeding handfuls of food a few yards round the pond. We were still able to see the birds so it wasn’t a problem.

Then, with his partner and child, he moved round to the next bay. So did most of the birds.

It was a bit irritating, but we still had things to watch, and didn’t feel any need to attract every bird on the pond.

Seemingly the man and family did seem to need to have all the birds to themselves. They worked their way round to a small beach and started shovelling food in by the handful. They also started throwing it on the path and attracting pigeons (something the signs specifically ask you not to do). Oh yes, I can be very attentive to detail when it suits me.

I’d never realised that bird feeding could be a competitive activity.

As things turned out it didn’t matter because we walked round to the other side of the pond and found a pair of Red Crested Pochard and a Grey Heron. The heron stood nice and still in a light area, but most other things weren’t so cooperative.

I’m not as excited by these Red Crested Pochard as I was with the ones we say at Rutland Water last week. I like to think the ones last week had flown in from the Continent. The two today seemed as tame as the Mallards, so I’m pretty sure they are feral birds who must spend their time lurking round local ponds.


14 thoughts on “A Walk in the Park

  1. clarepooley33

    Very good heron photos. Re the tame Pochards – I have found when visiting Minsmere that the birds and mammals I see do seem to be tamer than the birds and mammals in the surrounding countryside. I have begun to suspect that they know that they probably won’t be harmed there so don’t bother wasting energy by moving away from me. I walked within a metre of a female red deer a couple of years ago while on the path out to the sea at Minsmere. I know from experience that she would have run off well before I got that close if we had met elsewhere.

      1. beatingthebounds

        It wasn’t one of those plastic decoy ones placed to protect the fish was it? I’ve come close to photographing those before!

      2. quercuscommunity

        Sounds like the time I spent 10 minutes stalking a kingfisher that turned out to be a piece of plastic sack trapped in a riverside hawthorn! this one did move a bit, though it could have been a robot I suppose…

  2. Laurie Graves

    Until I read your post, I had never heard of a Red Crested Pochard. Nice to learn something new!


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