A collection of wildfowl from around the world forms the central attraction of the park but, when you've seen enough of exotic ducks, geese and flamingos you can wander off into Hawthorn Wood at the eastern end of the park and watch woodland birds at the winter feeding hide.
A small grey male sparrowhawk flits in past the bird table and peanut feeders but fails to catch one of the numerous blue, coal and great tits, which soon return to feed.
Pheasants and moorhens pick up the spilt grain and nuts. Two male bullfinches come to the top of an overgrown hawthorn. Their breasts glow coral pink. The slate grey of the back and wing feathers emphasises the strength of colour. Even the orange red of the robin's breast seems a little subdued by comparison.
Mad about a MandarinAs we sit overlooking a wildfowl pond in the café, we witness a love triangle drama amongst the ducks. A handsome mandarin drake stands beside his duck on the bank. Swimming towards them is a drake goldeneye, his head nodding at break-neck speed in display. He keeps up the display as he goose-steps out on land, approaches the couple then lashes out at the mandarin drake. The goldeneye is a beak's length bigger than his oriental rival and he soon chases him off into the water.
Unfortunately for the inscrutable drake there doesn't seem to be a duck version of kung fu that would work against this bully.
When the commotion subsides the mandarin takes up his place beside the female again, puffing out his chest to make himself look as imposing as possible.
Soon the besotted goldeneye is back. After another fight he drives off the male and swims off across the pond with the female mandarin.