Trip reports

Mid-week Walk at Bushy Park

Mid-week Walk at Bushy Park
Red-crested Pochard (Steve Williams)

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Weather overcast and chilly.
Seven of us arrived at Bushy Park on a cloudy and decidedly autumnal morning. The red deer stags were making themselves heard as we set off towards the model boating pond. Although the pond was unusually quiet we saw mallard, grey heron, coot, moorhen, black-headed gulls and a red-crested pochard. After some discussion regarding the authenticity of the latter we decided that it was a free flying bird.
We then set off towards the Heron Pond. On the way we saw great spotted woodpecker and then noticed a lot of activity in some hawthorn and willow trees just off to the right of the path. Closer examination revealed some song and mistle thrushes. David, who had arrived early to take pictures of the sunrise but was thwarted by the cloudy weather and delayed entry due to the deer cull, had seen fieldfare earlier but these were the only thrushes we saw. Having stopped to watch the thrushes we then saw chaffinch, reed bunting, blue tit and great tit. Ron also spotted a chiffchaff and we all saw the rear view of what initially looked like a dunnock at the top of a hawthorn tree. When we got closer, and had a more side on view, the dunnock turned out to be a meadow pipit.
As we walked past the heron pond and towards the Leg-of-mutton Pond we saw mute swan, cormorant, Egyptian and Canada geese and a grey heron which provided a good photo opportunity as it stalked its prey. We then went around the Warren Plantation and headed west towards the Cannon Gate. On the way we saw a herd of fallow deer, many of which materialised out of the bracken as we approached. I had not previously realised the range of colour that fallow deer have; from light beige to very dark brown. On the way we added jay and green woodpecker to our list and saw several red deer stags bellowing to impress the does.
From Cannon's Gate we headed for the Willow Plantation. Although it is a pleasant walk through the woodland gardens we only managed to add robin, dunnock, wren and blackbird to our list for the day. The ponds in the woodland gardens were surprisingly quiet. We have seen mandarin duck here on previous visits, but not this time. As we emerged from the woodland gardens Peter spotted a kestrel, the only raptor of the day.
We returned to our cars having enjoyed a pleasant, if not very productive or exciting, walk. Once the usual corvids and woodpigeon are added, the list for the day was 32 species.