Sunday, 26 March 2017

Richmond Park, 26-Mar-2017

Since it was Mother's Day, we decided that going for a walk would be perfect, especially with the bright sunshine and warm temperatures. It was much busier than we expected, and we arrived at 12.30pm, after battling for a space for a short while.
Eventually we set off, after my mum had elected that we should have a walk in the Isabella Plantations. A Wren was loud to start off, and a Great-Spotted Woodpecker was noted (along with the many Jackdaw.) 

After 20 minutes walking, an overhead Water Pipit made me alert, as it whistled over towards Pen Ponds, which we were sadly missing out on today. 2 Meadow Pipits flew nearby, as did 3 Skylark. Then a Kestrel appeared out of nowhere from where we had come from, hunting visibly. It flew to a tree, right near the path which we had been following. After starting to trek back and put the camera to my eyes, I realised that there was a pair mating on top of the bare tree, with the female screeching away, almost uncomfortably. This was the best I could manage from 150m away. 
Kestrels mating
The male bird seemed very peculiar, lacking any spots giving hints of a Lesser Kestrel. Although I have started to understand that thinking impossible things is really not a good idea, it really puzzled me. A third bird appeared, also a male, which then promptly chased the other off and sat in the exact same place as the other had been. The bird which had been chased off flew towards Pen Ponds, then diverted course heading off North, while the final two birds sat on the tree. This is the distant picture of the other male, and the two final birds.  

Kestrel pair
Both birds began to hunt nearby, allowing a chance to actually try to get some decent pictures.
Common Kestrel

 Common Kestrel
We then proceeded to the Plantation, which was looking splendid in the sunshine. It was buzzing with butterflies, bees and many other insects, including Comma, Brimstone, Peacock, Red Admiral and Small Tortoiseshell.
Red Admiral



Mandarin (f)
On the way back, a Skylark rushed off, and I still didn't manage a picture of any quality. However, a Kestrel appeared and hunted around 15m, providing brilliant views. This was the best I could manage before it dived down and then flew off.
Skylark - can't you tell


Not a bad walk for 3 hours on a crowded Mother's Day!

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