Everything has it's beauty, but not everyone sees it. - Confucius
Sometimes the picture doesn't have to be perfect; it's the captured moment that counts. - me
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Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Stockgrove Park

A short drive from me is an 80 acre parkland, comprising of a lake,



ancient woodland, conifer plantations, meadows and heath.


It's in Bedfordshire, and sits between Heath and Reach, Leighton Buzzard, and the A5, and was opened to the public in 1972. It’s managed by The Greensand Trust, who do a magnificent job, and is a popular place for dog walkers, joggers and people who just want to enjoy some countryside.




Stockgrove Country Park, to give it its full name, has a café, toilets and visitor information centre.

And it has birds.

A place where you can almost guarantee to see Marsh Tits, up close.



A small bridge over one end of the lake, is a magnet for small woodland birds, largely because so many people leave seed there for them, all year round.




I can’t think of many places where you can get within six feet of a Nuthatch,




a Coal Tit, or a Blue Tit.




And the other big draw, along with the more familiar Mallard and Moorhen,




is a good population of Mandarin Ducks.







Short video of some of the birds





A place that is always worth a visit.

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Click on the picture below, for more places worth a  visit, from around the world, on World Bird Wednesday




52 comments:

  1. What a wonderful place to have nearby. Those Mandarin ducks are amazing, aren't they? We had a solitary Mandarin here at our local park a few years back. It brought photographers from miles around. It's so rare around here. Of course I only heard about it after the fact.. sigh! Nuthatches are among my favourite birds.. meep meep meep. Beautiful images as always, Keith.

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  2. What enviable photographs.
    The ducks are so striking.
    And how I miss having greensand, where everything grows without needing any extra help. It gave us a crop of strawberries about 100 kgs per season. Does everything seems lush there? The birds look well fed.

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  3. Hi Keith...what magnificent photo's ...the Mandarin Duck are outstanding!!
    Like a little paradise there...you must have been excited : }}
    Nice way to spend some time out!!
    Hugs!!

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  4. Lovely images Keith. It looks like a good place to visit.

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  5. Great tour and great photos!! Those Mandarins are really incredible. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

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  6. Those Mandarin Ducks are quite a sight! Such colours! I know they have been seen in Norway also, but far from where I live. They are originally from China, aren't they?

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  7. A Nuthatch that close is extremely unfair, just my two cents! Great images.

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  8. What a great place to visit Keith and stunning photos! I would love to see a Nuthatch and a Marsh Tit that close. I think I may have had a fleeting glance of a Marsh Tit in the garden, on the bird bath, the other day but it was too quick to be sure.

    I have never seen a Mandarin Duck in this area, they really are amazing looking creatures and it was nice to see them on the video too.

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  9. Mandarin ducks.......the last two images are superb. Didn't need the incontinence pants for the Nuthatch then, or did you? Is this a first for you? They are great birds if a bit nasty to others and wasteful of seed...nasty to me.

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  10. great photos, what a wonderful place to visit.

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  11. Thanks Hilary. The Mandarins are real beauties, and so popular here.

    Thank you Joco. It is a lovely place to visit, and the birds certainly don’t go short of food.

    Thank you grammie. It’s one of my favourite places to visit.

    Andrew, thank you. I’m lucky here, there are so many great places close to where I live.

    Thanks Gary. Those Mandarins are something special, aren’t they ;)

    Øyvind, thank you. Yea, they are originally from China

    Thanks Dale lol

    Thanks Jan. the Mandarins are quite a sight, and more so when there’s great numbers of them.

    Thanks Adrian. The Nuthatches are a regular here, and a place I often come to get a close shot of them. Almost like cheating in a way lol

    Thanks Denzil. It certainly is a great place.

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  12. Your photos show a very beautiful place and its especially good that the birds let you get so close. Great photos.

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  13. Certainly looks a great place to visit Keith and fabulous shots you have produced form it.

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  14. Beautiful birdphotos again. The lasts with the ducks are my favorite. The videos are interesting too.

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  15. Tremendous photos, especially the Mandarin Ducks, they are beautiful.

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  16. It seems like my sort of place Keith...I love the small woodland birds . Just to see those magnificiant Mandarin Ducks would be well worth making a visit. Superb photographs as usual..

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  17. Hi there - really great set of pictures - having moved to OZ from SW England I miss some of the birds in your shots - Nuthatches were one of my fav. birds, but thin on the ground over here though!

    Thanks for visiting my wednesday blog - you may also finf my other blog : http://payingreadyattention.blogspot.com/
    of interest. Cheers Stewart M

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  18. What a great place to go birding! You have a nice series of photos here.

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  19. Thanks Mick. The birds have got used to people here, which makes it easier to photograph them.

    Thanks Roy. It’s a place that is always worth a visit.

    Thank you Kozma. Glad you enjoyed it. :)

    Thanks Bob. They’re beauties, aren’t they. :)

    Thank you Trevor. The Mandarins are a real highlight of this place, but there is always something worth seeing. Apparently Hawfinch were spotted a few days ago!

    Thank you Stewart. I guess you have a whole new set of birds to get to know now though.

    Thank you Pat. Yea, I can happily spend a few hours there.

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  20. Absolutely gorgeous photos, Keith. The Mandarin Ducks are stunningly beautiful, and you seem to have captured their beauty faithfully.

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  21. HI Keith...an excellent spot for birding for sure..your Marsh Tit looks exactly like our Black capped Chickadee! LOVE all your photos today most esp. the Mandarins-they look like decoys they are so perfect.

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  22. Looks like a cracking park that, and popular with bird ringers as well I gather judging by the ringed Marsh Tit and Chaffinch. I must admit to having a soft spot for Mandarin Ducks, even though they aren't technically native.

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  23. It's a lovely park made even better by the ability to get those magnificent close up shots of those birds. I am in awe!

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  24. I'm getting in line here... Man, what a series! I was absorbed by the Nuthatch for a while, a fantastic shot. Then the Tit knocked me out,a great looking bird that I hadn't seen before. But really, that last Mandarin capture is just hypnotic. I've never seen anything quite like it. Bravo!

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  25. Thank you Linda. The Mandarins are such exotic looking Ducks, it’s always a pleasure to see them.

    Thank you Dixxe. It’s surprising how some of our birds are so much like yours; differing only in name. I’m sure if I ever visited the USA, I’d be able to name a few straight off lol

    Adam, I believe quite a bit of ringing does happen there. There are so many birds with rings. Maybe these ones don’t wander far because of all the available food.

    Thank you Sally. Getting real close to the birds, like this, is one of the big attractions for me.

    Thank you Springman. I was very pleased with the last one too. :)

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  26. Great variety- those ducks are gorgeous.

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  27. Thank you Mike. They certainly are a rather special duck. :)

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  28. What a wonderful place :) The woods are beautiful !!

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  29. Excellent set of photos Keith, I can`t pick a favourite as they are all first rate :) (although the Manderins do show well!) The photos and video really show what a great place Stockgrove is if you want to get close to some small birds, but not to far away there`s now another site that`s equally as good.......!!!

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  30. I love those ducks. they are so pretty! (I know....... something a girl would say) your marsh tit looks like our chickadee. my kind of place! great close up of the nuthatch.

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  31. Hi Keith, is it really already spring where you are? Nice collection of birds, lovely shots! I love your video, loved listening to the birds and the water. Enjoyed visiting your website too.

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  32. Wonderful shots of some great birds -- and I just love the last two frames of the mandarins!!

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  33. Thanks Pescalune. There’s a great variety of trees there, and a couple of large woods.

    Thanks Trevor. Yea, I’m determined to get the local as good lol

    Thank you Doreen. Yea, those Mandarins are very pretty ;)

    Hilke, thank you. Glad you enjoyed your visit.
    The last couple of days it has certainly felt like spring, with the warm sunshine. I just hope it lasts. :)

    Thank you Pat. The Mandarins are such photogenic ducks.

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  34. Keith the last Mandarin image is stunning, as is the Marsh Tit. A nice sequence showing off your local patch.

    It has prompted me to put some of my Mandarin images on my blog for next week

    Well done mate

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  35. Cracking close ups of the Marsh Tit and Nuthatch Keith .... lucky you!

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  36. Such colorful birds! I love the quiet beauty of that park,phylliso

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  37. How fun to go along with you to the park!
    Such a lovely spot.

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  38. Thanks Dave. It's a great place to lose yourself for a few hours. The Bluebells will make a great show soon.

    Thanks Frank. It's a great place for seeing these little birds up close.

    Thank you Phyllis. It is a lovely place; but can get very busy at weekends.

    Thank you Andrea, glad you enjoyed the visit. :)

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  39. What a fantastic park! I really enjoyed your video - such a diversity of birds. I've never seen a marsh tit, nut hatch or mandarin duck yet. Must remember to take seeds along whenever I go wandering. Great photos!

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  40. Sounds a bit more peaceful than your usual haunt Keith. Great selection of photos. The Mandarins look even more beautiful in a group.

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  41. ...I loved hearing all the bird song in the video. I've never seen a place where so many birds just swarm around. I love it! The nuthatch photo is stellar and the last photo of the Mandarin Ducks is stunning...calendar shot!

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  42. Keith - thank you for all of those wonderful photographs. The area looks so beautiful and peaceful. Your friend, SLINKY

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  43. Thanks Debbie. It's a great place for a good range of birds. The seed helps here too lo

    Thanks John. It can get very busy at weekends, and especially during school holidays. The birds don't seem to mind though.

    Thank you Kelly. It's a favourite place of mine for getting so close to the birds.

    Thank you Lenora. It's a great place to wander around. :)

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  44. Your bird shots always amaze me but the second Mandarin Duck image looks like a painting. Wow!

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  45. That looks so wonderful,it makes me long for spring

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  46. Thank you JM, appreciate your comments. :)

    Thanks Harold. I'll be glad when spring comes too :)

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  47. What an awesome place Keith! You really got super shots of all the birds. The Mandarin Ducks are real show stoppers but I must say that the nuthatch shot is my favorite. What a great shot and cool pose!

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  48. Thanks Larry. It is a great place, and not too far from me. Always an enjoyable visit.

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  49. Beautiful shots! Wow, just, wow!

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  50. I again am totally in love with all your birdies and photos, but I have to say that the Mandarin ducks are the winners of the day. Holy canoly, they are beautiful!

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  51. This park is a little paradise. Your images are superb but the last one wiht the mandarin ducks is stunning! I wish you a wonderful Sunday and send Hugs from Luzia.

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  52. Thank you Sarah :)

    Nicole, thank you. :)

    Luzia, thank you :)

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