Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Temple Pool :: 21 February 2021

After yesterday's earier start I didn't rush to get out as we'd decided to watch the Mens Singles Final at the Australian Open - unfortunately the wrong man won, but the correct result on the day.

It has been a whime since I ventured down to Temple Pool and as I set off I was pleased to find that, unlike most places I go, the ground wasn't a pool of mud. Walking down the slope I heard a jay ahead and to my right. I scanned the trees but instead of a jay I saw a sparrowhawk rise, fly along the treetops then across the field behing me. Looking against the sky it was difficult to see anything but a silhouette through the bins or the camera.


No sooner than it had crossed the trees on the other side, a jay followed it's path. Then another followed that. I stood watching the jays high in the trees when yet more calling jays came from the original source and I picked out two more. Multiple jays makes any day a good day.


Before I'd gone a further fifty steps a raven called to my right, from almost exactly the same location as the jays had started. I had to walk down the hill a bit further before I could see it atop a fir tree. I took a couple of photos and then it too passed overhead, followed by a second.


I crossed the horse training track and into the pool, taking up a position between the pillars of "The Temple". Two cormorants perched in a tree to the far left and a number of mallard cruised around two Canada geese floating on the water. A single moorhen crossed in front of me. I could hear nuthatches calling back out into the field and trees beyond but never caught sight of them.

The mallard appeared to get agitated and the majority took to the wing and departed. About 5 minutes later a small flock of ducks started circling and I presumed these were the returning mallard so didn't take too much notice. After five circuits they dropped into the pool and I could see they were in fact 7 mandarin ducks! I've had these here before but mostly when the trees provide more cover. After about 15 minutes they were spooked by an unseen adversary and they too departed, north west.

Mandarin duck
Mandarin duck

I started to walk back and my phone picked up some messages - the phone signal at the Temple appears to be 'intermittant'. I saw that a couple of redpoll had been seen at Balscote Quarry and so hurried up the hill, into the car and along to the viewing area. All too late to see the birds. I did see some nice shots from Iain Brown later and four were then see the day after. Perhaps I'll get the opportunity later in the week.

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