Wednesday, 27 March 2013

In the garden

In the absence of being able to get out and about, I decided to take some shots in the garden today. The sun nearly shone, it was a slightly brighter day with a slightly warmer wind.................slightly!  My rhubarb is braving the elements and starting to shoot up.
I don't like it myself, but I'll make Chris some rhubarb crumbles later on in the season. Here's an arty crinkly close up! (-:
To be honest, there's not much in the way of flowers peeking through yet in the garden except this beautiful Hepatica. I got this plant years ago when I worked in a Garden Centre in London. A customer appreciated some help I gave him and gave me this plant in return, so it has happy memories attached to it.
 The rest of the colour today comes from a bowl I planted up from garden centre plants. They're giving a welcome splash of colour at the moment. Primrose, Scilla and Anemone in this shot.
Daffodils and Fritillary towards the back of the bowl giving height.
Fern and Anemone towards the front to drape over the side.
A year or so ago I made a bug home in an out of the way part of the garden. I'm hoping that it's been used over the winter by various beasties!
Happy Easter to everyone if I don't post before! (-:

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Rodden Reserve revisted! (-:

These photos were taken on the same day as the ones posted the other day. It's been hard to find any time without rain threatening recently. I sincerely hope we get a run of dry weather soon. I'm going stir crazy as are a lot of people I think.  I'll start with this abstract photo of grass stems and rippling water at the lake edge. I just liked the cross hatching of the two.
We've had these Goosanders hanging around the main lake for several weeks now. There are generally 2 females and 1 male. On this day it was just a male and female together. It would be great if they stayed in the area to breed, but I don't think they will. They're such graceful looking birds.
I quite often see one Grey Heron on the Reserve. It tends to be quite skittish, moving off at the slightest movement from me. On this day, I was surprised to see three all standing together. Needless to say, they all took off as I walked around the main lake. I managed to catch two of them in flight, the third going off in the opposite direction. You can just see the head of one of them to the right in the photo below.
 As I walked round the Reserve, I came across the sweet, repetitive warble of the humble Dunnock. This is a very unassuming bird, but which on closer inspection, has a lovely subtle plumage. 
 It's a real bonus to be able to recognise birds song. I picked up the liquid bubbling song of Goldfinches and immediately looked around for them. I soon found them feeding off the tiny seeds from these Teasel plants. I couldn't get very close but managed to get a record shot.
 I'll finish off on a bright note. There's not much in flower around the Reserve at the moment, but I found these Colt's-foot plants bursting out in flower on the beetle bank. The flowers come out before the leaves. It was a lovely splash of early colour!
  Lets hope Spring is on the way shortly!

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

More rambles at Rodden Reserve

These aren't actually aimless rambles around my local reserve. While I'm walking and taking photos, I'm also making notes of all the birds I see and hear and then sending the records up to the BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) on their Birdtrack system online. Here's the link to the BTO website if you want to take a look .  The first thing I noticed when walking round was that the Pussy Willow was showing a bit more. It wont be too long before these trees are a mass of pollen!
 I came across this Robin which seemed to have an incurable itch! It spent ages scratching, taking no notice of my careful approach.
 There has been a Coot here over the last few days. This is quite a rare visitor to the Reserve. It's been hanging out with the local Moorhens.
 I'll finish this post with a graceful nodding grass seedhead. There'll be more from Rodden in the next post.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

A ramble round Rodden Reserve

I managed to sneak out to my local reserve for an hour the other morning when the sun was trying to make its presence known. Here are some photos taken on the way through the reserve. It was cold and the main lake had frozen over displacing any ducks for the time being.
 This chilly early morning shot lent itself to a bit of black and white treatment I thought.
In the same way that the following two shots did too. Some drooping grass seed heads.....
.....and some ice crystals forming around the edge of the lake.
That's enough of the black and white. The Pussy Willow hasn't shown much change since I was here a few weeks ago, still being at that lovely just emerging stage. You can see some ice crystals still there before the early morning sun had got to them.
 The paths were still pretty frosty in the shade as I walked round.
 A pair of Canada Geese took exception to my presence. You can just about see it's frosty breath as it honked out its annoyance at my approach. Maybe I should have given them the black and white treatment too! (-:
They both moved off onto the main lake, slipping and sliding on the icy surface. One of them still protesting so I moved off quickly after taking this shot.
 Here's a couple of shots of the River Frome which flows along the western edge of the reserve.
 Spring is on its way though, as I walked round the reserve I could hear a male Reed Bunting singing his simple ditty, staking out his territory. Here's a photo of a male I took at the beginning of the year to show his winter plumage. I found the singing male, now in his smart breeding plumage and took a couple of photos before leaving him in peace.
I'll hope to get out again to Rodden reserve soon.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Cornish bird trp - last day.

We were sad to leave our comfortable house in St Mawes (thanks to Emma's Mum for the loan)! At this time of year St Mawes is a sleep seaside town south of Falmouth, but I bet it's heaving with tourists come summertime! This was the view from the sitting room and very nice it was too!
We decided to take the southerly route home to try for a bird that we missed out on seeing when driving down at the beginning of our trip. First stop was Portpean where we eventually picked up a Velvet Scoter (White-winged Scoter to my American friends) in amongst some Common Scoter. After a brief stop at Sibleyback lake to tick off Lesser Scaup, we then made our way eastwards into south Devon  to a place called Ernesettle just north of Plymouth.  On our previous visit here we apparently missed seeing the Lesser Yellowlegs (an American wader) by just 5 minutes as it disappeared down a gully at low tide on the estuary.  This time we were successful, but only after some wait. It's always nice to see your target bird after having had to work for it! It was too far away for a photo unfortunately.
 Next stop was Broadsands near Peignton. This is a reliable site for the locally scarce Cirl Bunting. We soon heard one male singing, but keeping out of sight low down in the hedgerow. After giving it some time though I caught up with a more obliging male singing at the top of the hedge. The sun was not in the best position, but I managed a couple of ok shots.
From there we headed north to Topsham and a date with an American Wigeon. He's here in the photo below hiding in amongst hundreds of our Eurasian Wigeon (on the right hand side, click photo to enlarge if you want to try and find him). (-:
It was then time to head further north and home.  It had been a successful end to a wonderful winter trip to Devon and Cornwall.