Bushy Park, London

  • February 26, 2017 7:33 pm

A squadron of green arrows cuts through the blue of the sky, noisy screeches rain down from these lime feathered parakeets. It seems so exotic, and we gawp in touristy awe, but there’s a delight in seeing a parrot fly free when previously I’ve only ever seen them caged. No, I’m not on a foreign holiday, though it suddenly feels like it, we are in our capital city, visiting my lovely brother-in-law, who kindly takes us to visit Bushy Park. I’ve never seen (or heard!) so many parakeets before, but they are surprisingly camera shy, apart from the odd group flying over in formation, they stick to the treetops, patrolling the upper branches.

Our first stop is the lake, where many people feed the ducks, and in amoungst the Mallards we also find some Red-crested Pochard, a handsome, if non-native duck with a striking russet crest, and a brilliant red bill.

Red-crested pochard, Netta rufina, Bushy Park, London

There are Tufted ducks too, lovely little ducks, black and white at first glance, but with a gorgeous purple sheen in the right light.

Tufted duck, Aythya fuligula, male, Bushy Park, London

Keeping the waterfowl company were lots of Black-headed gulls, some of them already starting to gain their breeding plumage in the warmth of the city.

Black-headed gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus, perched on wooden post Bushy Park, London

The park is well known for its herds of Red and Fallow deer, and we quickly spot two Fallow bucks casually strolling down the path. Although very used to people, these deer have a wildness about them, they are not friendly like the Sika deer we saw in Nara, Japan. We remain at a wary distance, although other people attempt to get closer, alarmingly so as one parent attempts to introduce their young child to a huge Red deer stag, still with full antlers. The deer continues to graze, but a little shake of the head is enough to make the people retreat to a more sensible distance. The deer are wary too, a loose French bulldog sends one of the Fallow bucks pronking away into the bracken with tail raised, wild instinct remembering the wolf.

It’s lovely too see and study them this closely though, deer of all species have a very majestic air about them, especially the handsome Reds.

Red deer, Cervus elaphus, stag, male, close up, Bushy Park, London,

RedDeer180217DM5416

Red deer, Cervus elaphus, stag, male, close up, Bushy Park, London,

The Fallow deer are smaller with palmate, flattened antlers. We later found the rest of the Fallow herd, as the light was fading, which contained white coated animals, as well as individuals that were almost black, the Fallow deer being highly variable in colour. These two bucks were clearly used to posing for people!

Fallow deer, Dama dama, buck, male, backlit in evening light, Bushy Park, London.

Fallow deer, Dama dama, buck, male, two in evening light, Bushy Park, London.

Fallow deer, Dama dama, buck, male, backlit in evening light, Bushy Park, London.

It was inspiring to visit a slice of the wild in the middle of the city, were it not for the hum of traffic, you could easily have been in the middle of the countryside. Good too, to see so many people out and enjoying it, a very special place.

 

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A few birds

  • February 22, 2014 10:41 pm

A quick round up of this weeks photography, I’ve been trying out a new lens combination and I’m thoroughly impressed. What do you think?

Blackbird, Turdus merula, male perched on garden fence, Norfolk, UK

Black headed gull, Chroicocephalus ridibundus, close up, coast, Norfolk, UK

Jackdaw, Corvus monedula, perched on wooden fence, coast, Norfolk, UK

Starling, Sturnus vulgaris, perched on wire fence, Norfolk, Winter plumage, UK

All of these were taken using Nikon’s 300mm f/2.8 G IF-ED VR and TC-17E II Teleconverter. It’s an extremely well balanced set up, much more manageable than my current Sigma 500mm f4.5 lens which I find rather ‘top heavy’. The sharpness and quality are excellent and it focuses quickly and quietly. The other benefit of course, of using arguably Nikon’s sharpest ever lens with a converter is that the minimum focussing distance is maintained, meaning it effectively becomes a 500mm lens that focuses down to just 2.3 meters, compared with the 4 meters of the Sigma 500mm, great for little birds, and great for getting creative.

I’m really pleased with the results from this very flexible combination, I just wish I had longer than one week to play with it!

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