Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Mandarin at the castle...

As if I needed it, I had two confirmations of it being December this week. December eh? The month of cold weather and seasonal parties. Anyway the first was when I woke to a hard frost that had iced the local fields and made it impossible to walk without it sounding like a mouthful of space dust.

The second was when I spotted this mallard duck doing the hokey-cokey...'you put your left leg in, your right arm out...

Click on any photo for large view

I think she was dancing...might just have been pointing in the direction she was about to fall?

That photo was taken at a local pond but on a recent visit to Bodiam Castle, which by the way was looking great on the day...

...I had the chance to photograph some more mallard...

As much as I enjoyed photographing the mallard, and I did..they were plentiful in number and it was the one lone mandarin that really caught my attention. There was only a male to be seen on the day but I am hoping for his sake, there is also a female...

Those orange 'sails' are fantastic. He was quite feisty too and would constantly peck at any other duck that came close. I'm not sure if it is a territorial display or maybe even a mating ritual but he also kept stretching his neck and lifting his head as high as possible whilst making a kind of grunting noise...

Around the far side of the castle I spotted a male blackbird posing nicely on one of the posts...

Awhile later, I saw the same bird bathing in a little puddle of water on the footpath...

Hmmm...this update seems to have turned into something of a bird-fest? I was going to share some of the smaller critters I have found but, why not carry on with the birdies and complete this update and then start afresh on another day. 

The starlings in the garden at home are also looking mighty fine right now dressed in their winter coats...

I was quite pleased with this next shot, considering it was taken at some distance and through glass...

I think looking at the length of the tail and colour of the beak, this is a youngster, maybe one of this year's brood?

Back at the first pond where I photographed the mallard, I spent around 75 minutes concealed in the undergrowth waiting for a heron to put in an appearance- it turned out to be futile as I didn't even catch a glimpse; until that is, I was on the way home and spotted it had returned just as I was about to get into the car.

I managed to get the camera ready in time for just a couple of quick snaps-of which this is one...

A Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)
And so ends this ornithological blog update. I will be back soon with more invertebrates, but until then, I'll say goodbye with some photographs of the beautiful mornings we have been treated to here in darkest Kent...

Until the next time...


  1. Some beautiful shots and the Male Mandarin displaying is excellent!

  2. Gorgeous Mandarin display. Love your Heron shot too with the Moorhen lurking and also reflected in the background.
    Always enjoy your blog and already looking forward to your next one, wondering what invertebrate goodies will appear.

  3. Hi Stevie, hope you are well. Thanks for your comments here-I am still finding a few invertebrates, even in the garden and those will feature in the next update..

  4. That hokey-cokey duck has to be the funniest thing I've seen in a long time!!!!
    Cracking bird shots (specially those starlings!) and those pastel coloured misty mornings are just sublime!
    (At first glance, I thought the BG moorhen was a water rail!!!)


    PS saw a Green shieldbug on Wednesday (11th)!! :-)

    1. Thank-you Maria. I kinda enjoyed doing something other than insects for a change-although inverts will always be tops for me! A water rail? I wish ;-)
      Yes, the sunrises of late have been beautiful but no doubt they're just as nice in your neck of the woods...

    2. Oh...forget to ask Maria-was your Green shieldbug in winter colours?

  5. Yes, it was a brown green SB! ;-)
    And yes, yesterday morning was particularly nice but wasn't misty, so not quite as atmospheric!


Please feel free to comment on my blog. I am always grateful for any feedback, good or bad. Commenting should be fast and easy. Just enter your comment in the box, then click on the drop-down box beside 'Comment as'. You can use your Google ID if you have one, or just choose 'Name/URL and enter your name (URL is not needed). You can also just choose anonymous, if you would rather not be identified.

Regards 'JJ'.

If you do experience any difficulties, you can contact me directly from this blog and I will try to help.