The lack of photography has however given me the chance to look through some recent shots and I'd thought I'd share a few from a couple of weeks back on a sunny afternoon spent at one of my local stomping grounds...Etherow Park.
Etherow is quite unique because it is home to a couple of species that are pretty scarce around the north of England and visitors come from far afield to tick them off their lists.
I have touched on both the following birds before in this blog, but they are a couple of beauties and I make no apologies for doing so again!
Both of the bird species were originally imported into the UK in days gone by to satisfy wildfowl collectors, but escapees have bred in the wild for many generations and are doing rather well.
First the Egyptian Goose, which as the name would suggest is a bird of African origin.
These birds have seen had a steady rise in population over the last few years, especially in the wetlands of Norfolk.
There has been a single Egyptian Goose at Etherow for a number of years, but last winter the population increased when another pair flew in from somewhere...
Next the Mandarin Duck, a very colourful bird of Asian origin.
These amazingly beautiful birds have started to populate a wide range of territories in the UK over recent years and there is a very healthy breeding population at Etherow and also in and around the River Goyt through Stockport.
Mandarins have recently been seen on the River Tame in the neighbouring Greater Manchester borough of Tameside, and I also spotted a single bird at Poynton Pool in Cheshire a few months back...Good news indeed!
Finally a rather exotic creature that has bred well at Etherow and many other local waters at a near epidemic rate...The Terrapin.
The only time you spot these reptiles is on warm sunny days when they like to bask out of the water.
It really is a bit of a mystery to why my local waters have such an abundance of Terrapins (Red-Eared I believe) but maybe it's no coincidence that this population boom started in the late 1980's around the same time as the hit children's TV craze 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles'!
Terrapins are very small and cute when youngsters, but quickly outgrow their tanks and develop into a quite large animal...