Sunday 25 February 2018

A Bitterly Cold Afternoon at Alton Water Park, Shotley Peninsula

It felt as though the temperature was several degrees centigrade below freezing: there was an unforgiving wind from Siberia.

However, we wrapped up warm and ventured out for a short time to enjoy the sunshine at Alton Water Park and Anglian Water reservoir on the Shotley Peninsula near Ipswich. There were several pairs of Egyptian Geese (photo above): we find we are seeing more and more of these.  

 There was a lone Great Crested Grebe swimming and diving, swimming and diving, and looking very streamlined without an elevated crest.

The sunlight was remarkably bright and there wasn't a cloud to be seen. 

 These are some of the Wigeon who were floating near the shore.

We checked the tree that usually has good bird feeders, but there was only one feeder today with a few nuts in the bottom. However, as we drove out of this part of the car park, we came across a lovely Song Thrush (thank you, Juliet, for your help here: I often have difficulty telling Song and Mistle Thrushes apart!). 

On such a bitter day, it was good to see some early Daisies, and to remember that spring cannot be too far away - despite the forecast!

I was surprised to find molehills so close to the water's edge, 
but perhaps the damp soil makes digging a bit easier...

In the course of some poetry research last week, I learned that these are not seed cases, 
but rather the globose heads that bear the fruit of the Plane Tree. 

An exquisite downy feather.
If I was a duck, I would hang on to feathers like these until the temperatures rise!

The Egyptian Geese took off...

...but the Wigeon and Coots stayed in their rafts near the shore. 

We walked a little way along the reservoir wall (below), but soon retreated for a more sheltered spot. 

 Here is David before we turned for home...

There was a small flock of birds in a tree by the car: they were in shadow and it was hard to photograph them, let alone see what they were. They seemed too rounded for Sparrows and were not the right shape for Chaffinches. David and I separately came to the conclusion that they might be Redpoll. I have lightened my photo considerably since it was almost a silhouette. Do let me know what you think...


L. D. said...

Wow, even if it was cold I am glad you took so many great photos. You have a large variety of geese. I have never heard of the Egyptian ones so will look them up. Your birds of course are different than ours. We have pelicans and swans that winter over in our area but see them while crossing bridges over the rivers which are unfrozen right now.

Crafty Green Poet said...

I think your redpoll is indeed a redpoll though it is a little tricky to tell. Ithink the thrush is a song thrush, amistle thrush would be greyer, have rounder spots and a bigger neck.

Thanks for identifying the fruit cases of the plane tree, i saw some of those today and wondered what they were!