Hartsholme Park in late March

On Sunday (last day in March this year) I visited Hartsholme Park, I hadn’t been for some time so wanted to see if there was anything different happening. Spring is finally here, although the cold and wet weather gives the impression that winter does not want to go just yet. I wrapped up warm and braved the cold for around 1.5 hours to see what was happening in this active time (for the resident birds anyway).

Although I brought along the 24-105mm lens I only used the 70-200mm f2.8 lens as this only just gave me enough reach for the birds who don’t like to get too close. I also used the GPS4Cam software on my iPhone to geo-code the images, I will right a separate post about how this worked in a separate post.

It was obvious how cold it was by the fact that there was still some (thin) ice on the central lake in the middle of Hartsholme Park, there were more ice patches in other areas too and the birds used these from time to time.

On arrival I noticed that a solitary Great Crested Grebe was swimming relatively close to me and it was diving for food every few minutes.

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He didn’t seem to mind me taking his photograph

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So I took a number of images whilst he was close, previous images of the Grebes have always form a much larger distance so this was a treat.

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On the other side of where I was standing were a pair of Mute Swans, these were obviously a mating pair so I hop to see some cygnets later this year.

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When I looked back to where the Grebe was diving I noticed a Tufted Duck:

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There were other tufted ducks around (near the central island in the park) but these were too far away to capture a decent image. The duck swam quite close to the Grebe who didn’t seem to mind this:

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The most active and impressive birds at Hartsholme this time of year are the Grey Herons and there were 3 nests that I could see from where I was standing.

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Other nest s on other sides of the central island must also be present as they occasionally had Herons flying from and to them.

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The Herons seem to breed early in the year so already have had their young chicks present in the nest, here you can see one of them standing up:

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Although there seem to be less of them than earlier in the year, there are still a few Black Headed Gulls around, they fly around a lot so I had another go at a BIF (Bird In Flight) shot:

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As I moved from my original point further around the perimeter of the lake, I found a number of Mallard Ducks who were on the ground either sleeping or foraging. Im amongst them were a couple of Moorhens:

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Although the bridge is out at the moment (should be back by the summer), I walked up to were the entrance would (will?) be and could see a pair of Coots who were bust building a nest. I find watching them so this quite fascinating:

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A number of the ducks who were on the ground earlier took off and flew around the lake:

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I am always amazed at how they stay in formation as they fly around:

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As I started to walk back to the Car I tried out a few shots that didn’t produce anything worthwhile, however whilst I was set up this Feral Pigeon landing in front of the camera and posed for the camera, so I obliged by taking his picture

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Although I didn’t get any amazing shots, I had a nice time and apart from the noise of the birds it is a very tranquil place that helps start of a good day.