Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Arne day out continued...

This heathland habitat is so distinctive with the purple heather, the bright green bracken and dark green Pine trees. Unfortunately the yellow Gorse wasn't in flower which is a shame as I love the coconut scent it produces.The woodland here seems to be made up of mainly Oak and Birch with some Ash thrown in.I seem to be coming across lovely old burry English Oaks at the moment. My husband would LOVE to use the wood from this tree!I spied my namesake chattering away on this old birch log. I wonder if it had a nest nearby as it was certainly scolding us as we walked on by.We were treated to the singing of this lovely male Yellowhammer. They tend to sit on the top of trees or hedgerows to sing, but only let you get so far (with camera) until they drop down out of sight. Here he is cropped heavily so that you can admire that lovely chestnut rump and sunshine yellow plumage!I'll finish of this outing to Arne in my next post.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Bird trip to Arne, Dorset

Today I went on a birding trip with my local bird club (Bristol Ornithological Club) down on the south coast of England to the RSPBs (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) reserve at Arne. This is an area of Heathland which overlooks Poole Harbour. This is the first of three posts on this day trip to Arne and I'll concentrate the first post on this superb Sandwich Tern which was fishing right in front of us. All of these photos are cropped. I would love to have been closer to the bird, but you cant always get what you want! (-: Click to enlarge.The Sandwich Tern is a large Tern with a distinctive long black bill with a yellow tip (seen here quite well against the grass background). It has a much shorter forked tail than other Terns and in flight seems quite chunky and large headed.It dived several times in front of us and the following photos are the best mix I could get from several dives.

The dark wedges in the wing in this shot below show quite a bit of wear in the feathers. If it were a fresh summer bird the wedges would be more indistinct.
This bird below is showing the beginnings of its white winter forehead coming in.
More on Arne in my next post.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Reflection - Sky Watch Friday

I was sitting by our small garden pond the other day and noticed the lovely reflections of the iris and foliage and thought........this would make a nice Sky Watch Friday post. (-:These are Geranium leaves. The slight wind was doing interesting things to the reflections.I waited for a still moment to take this last one.Many thanks to the guys who keep SWF going. For more fabulous skies from all around the world click in the SWF link at the top of my blog.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Along the leafy lane

I took this photo back in March to show a nice lane where I sometimes walk during my 1/2 hour lunch break at work. As you can imagine by the sign, there's not an awful lot of traffic down this lane, perfect for strolling down.Today I decided to revisit. As you can see it is quite a bit more leafy now and the only traffic I met was a nice lady on a horse (sorry I didn't take a piccy).Most of the wildflowers I photographed earlier in the year have gone over, nevertheless it was still a lovely peaceful place.As I called it leafy, I thought I should photograph some leaves! (-: I think these are Sycamore.I thought this burry Oak tree was a great character. It must have seen some good history in its time!I can't resist ferns and this Hart's tongue fern wanted its photo taken so I obliged.At the bottom of the lane where the road ends and it becomes a pathway, there was this gorgeous house! I want to live there!!!Such a peaceful position and as you will see in a moment, there is a lovely river at the bottom of the garden.This pathway over the bridge leads to the little village of Tellisford.It's a beautiful little wooden bridge laid with cobblestones and straddles the River Frome.As I stood on the bridge and took in the peace and quiet, I watched a family of Grey Wagtails feeding on and around the stones in the river. Too far away for photography I'm afraid. Unfortunately time was against me, I had to get back to work, so I made my way back up the lane.At the top I found this lovely Field Rose. This is different from the more common Dog Rose in that it always carries white flowers and its hips are more rounded.I'm sure this is a Knapweed, but I'm not sure which, probably Common Knapweed. I need my brother to tell me for sure....or anyone else?

Friday, 19 June 2009

Pond time

When I was taking photos of Poppy cat around the pond the other day, I also managed to take some photos of what was going on in and around the pond too. These Large Red Damselflies had got it together and were ovipositing in the pond. A third one was trying to get in on the act, but never managed it and I didn't manage to get a decent photo of that either which was a shame.The common newts are still pretty active in the pond. I love the way they splay their feet out when then want to stop in the water! (-:Here's a couple taking a stroll, sorry swim around the block. There is an out of focus pond skater in this photo too.I love primulas, but they don't seem to like the soil here so I'm trying to grow them in pots and place the pots around the pond. Seems to be working so far (digits crossed)!Evie from Sunny Side Up requested a photo of our visiting Hedgehogs poo, so here it is Evie! Good eh? That is about 3 inches long in case you were wondering. (-:On that note, I shall end this post! (-:

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Garden surprise!

Chris, being a cabinetmaker has to keep his stock of wood somewhere. So we have a couple of piles of planks in the garden to 'air dry'. The other day Chris had to check on one of the piles to get some wood out and found a surprise under the polythene cover!This young hedgehog was taking a snooze in our cosy woodpile! We haven't seen a hedgehog in our garden for years so this was a real thrill. I would love to have seen its snout and got a photo, but I didn't want to wake it up so I just left a pile of sultanas under there and we put the polythene back. Luckily, Chris didn't need to actually get any wood out on this occasion.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Oh dear!

I've gone and done it again! It is West Somerset not North Somerset. You'd think I'd know my own county wouldn't you! (-:

Chetsford Water, North Somerset!

Our second stop on this birding day out in North Somerset took us to Chetsford Water. I LOVE this place. I would imagine it could be quite bleak in the winter, but at this time of year it is a lush small valley with a tinkling stream and stunted Hawthorn and Rowan trees dotted along the path.It's not often in this crowded country where you can go somewhere and experience an absence of any mechanical or human produced sound. Here we were lucky enough to have just that experience and it was bliss!

The only sounds we did hear were the babbling stream which kept us company along the valley floor and the occasional bleating sheep and 'seeping' call of the resident Meadow Pipits.One of our target birds to see here was the Whinchat and here is a beautiful male. Again, these photos were taken from a distance and well cropped as both the male and female appeared to show signs that they were nesting nearby.Some birds just make the heart race faster when you see them. This is one of those for me!This is a little streamlet that runs down a side gully to the valley floor. I could spend alot of time just sitting here. It's just too pretty!Here is a beautifully sculptured old Hawthorne tree. I wonder how old it is?The stream that runs along the valley is perfect for Grey Wagtails. I snapped a couple of shots of this male while he was fly catching in a Hawthorn tree.
To finish this walk, here is a photo of the heath covered hills on Exmoor National Park. In September this will be a riot of purple heather! Maybe I'll do a return trip in the autumn to see that.