I haven't been to Pennington Flash much this year and with the prospect of seeing some Redpoll on a sunny day, I went off with high hopes. On arrival I met up with Charlie Owen in Horrocks Hide, a former Penny warden and well-respected local birder, and we walked round together chatting about birds.
Sixty Redpolls had been reported here last weekend, so with what I thought was a good chance of seeing some, we eagerly scanned the tops of the Alder trees - but nothing! Charlie knows Penny like the back of his hand having worked there for so long, but even he failed to come up with any today. I did however meet up with a young man called Tom Woolstencroft who was schoolfriend of my daughter, Cathy.
I recognised him from Cathy's school prom photos and I'd recently added him to our L.O.S. Facebook group. I thought it was a bit strange at the time, but when I saw him walking around with quite a decent lens on his camera, I realised that he was a keen photographer and it wasn't strange at all. It's great to see young people getting interested in nature and wildlife and I encouraged him to post some of his photos on our Facebook page and come to some L.O.S. meetings.
So on to Goldcrests then - three had been reported around Teal hide very regularly over the last week or so. As we approached the area we met Paul Pennington who was on to one of the birds, but it was flitting around the branches of a hawthorn tree (as they do) and quite far off. No good shots to be had here there.
We spent a while in Teal Hide where there a good number of male and female Goosanders and we'd just missed a fairly close snipe which Tom had snapped a couple of minutes earlier. There were also quite a lot of the other usual birds about too.
I thought I'd call in at Bunting Hide on the way back, but when we got there the wardens had just locked it. So Charlie and I parted company and I headed back for the car. Along the way I found another Goldcrest which I attempted to photograph without much luck. Here's the best shots I managed:
I did also get this Robin which was loudly singing in one of the hedges along the route.
Just as I was about to enter the car park I came across a noticeboard on which people had been leaving seeds and nuts for the birds. There was a constant flurry of Long-tailed Tits around it as well as the occasional Blue Tit, Coal Tit, Great Tit and another Robin. So I spent some time here photographing the Long-tails.
When I got back to the car and was leaving, I was greeted by an angry lady warden who had blocked my exit with her car because she was waiting to lock up. It was 4:35pm and the locking up time is 4:00pm in winter. I had just hadn't realised was that time as the light was still OK.
She was clearly quite angry and reminded me about the locking up time, several times! I repeatedly apologised but it didn't do much good. She reversed her car just enough to lock the barrier, making me do a hard left turn to get around it. I said, "Thanks for not locking me in" as I left, but she wasn't for smiling. Oh dear!