My blog is mostly about wildlife, particularly birds, walking, days out, all growing things and anything else that comes to mind.
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Thursday, 20 August 2009

Staying local

I nipped down to a local Vineyard earlier this week. I'd intended going to Denbies Hillside for flutters but the weather wasn't that brilliant so opted for the vineyard instead. Had a wander around to the Garden Centre and on the way was distracted by the huge number of House Martins on the very high roof of the building. There must have been at least 70 (at a very rough count). The roof was too high for any good shots but here's just a couple. There were a few Swallows mixed in amongst them but in very small numbers.

I then wandered through the vines themselves and game across a family of Goldfinches. Talking to one of the staff (who's a keen birder - great!) the Goldfinches have been nesting amongst the vines. Where the supporting wires join the wooden posts the nests have been tuck down there. At least four have been found near to the buildings. Skylarks are a common feature in the spring as are Linnets. Right at the top of the hill, I'm advised there is a colony of Green Woodpeckers - all in hiding today nonetheless!

After a walk around the vines, I went back to catch the House Martins - they all flew up together - wonderful sight and then flew off. I understand they've been there for about a month and the view was they were ready to leave. ~When I returned to that spot later - about 5 remained!!

I then paid my money and boarded the 4x4 pulled wagons for the Vineyard tour. We climbed higher and higher and looked across at Box Hill - eventually we were higher than that!

Looking at the centre of this picture is the Vineyard buildings - almost lost amongst the trees.

It was a great visit and I intend to go back earlier in the day and hopefully see the Goldfinches coming down to one of the puddles to drink. The staff outside were so friendly and keen to pass on their birding experiences of the vineyard. Thanks guys!

Today I went with a friend to Clandon Park - a house and small gardens not far from me.
The house isn't the most glamorous, but is beautifully proportioned.

Out in the grounds, is a Maori house undergoing some renovation. There is an agreement with a local Maori group that the building is to be renovated and then the Maori's will use the building for some of their ceremonies. It's the only Maori meeting house in the United Kingdom.
Hinemihi o te Ao Tawhito (Hinemihi of the Old World) is the Maori name for this meeting house. The Maori people believe it has living qualities based on their ancestral origin and so the meeting house will be referred to as a person.

This carving is around the front door.

and the carving above it.

Outside the meeting house are some Tree ferns that, sadly, seem to have died. However, they have now been "carved" which is rather a good way to decorate an otherwise defunct plant!

At the rear of Clandon House is the formal parterre garden.

And in the grounds, but accessible from the road, is the local church of St. Peter and St. Paul

We then walked through to the Dutch Garden which is based on the Privy Garden at Hampton Court Place. I can't really see the similarity but it does look similar to one of the other smaller gardens at the Palace. This is just my opinion of course.

And the only bird seen today, was this featherless Peacock. The only bird heard? A Nuthatch - a strangly quiet day for birds - but the weather was not pleasant and we had to wait for a heavy rain shower to stop before escaping from the car.

And so home again avoiding the rush hour traffic.


Chris said...

Hi Tricia,
Wow a wonderful post!! I love the small wood house, a pretty place to be... Your post is magnificent!

mick said...

You have such a great variety of places to visit around you. I am fascinated by the Maori house way over there in England! I grew up in New Zealand. I hope you can see some of the ceremonial occasions when they occur. They are very interesting.

Warren Baker said...

What a nice friendly place that vineyard sounds, good on them for being so wildlife friendly.

ShySongbird said...

Lovely photos Tricia and some nice trips out. I got a little overexcited at the mention of a visit to the vineyard ;) No tastings or interesting purchases? Oh dear! how could you resist :)

oldcrow61 said...

The scenery is lovely, so green. I like the Maori meeting house. The carvings are wonderful.

Tricia said...

Chris - Hi! Thank you for your kind comments - I liked the Maori house too.

Mick - yes I'm so lucky to enjoy such a variation of places to visit.

Warren - the staff (whether working indoors or in the vineyard) are all very keen and helpful.

Jan - thanks. I did make one purchase that came in a bottle which had a cork in the top; and it wasn't olive oil! It was very tempting to buy more than one but I exercised some self restraint!

Tricia said...

Hi OC - yes it was green but sadly the sky was grey! The house has some beautiful wood carvings (I love wood sculptures & carvings) and it will be interesting to see the inside once it's restored. I shall have to go back....

The Early Birder said...

Wine, birds & great countryside views Tricia..what could be better. FAB

holdingmoments said...

The vineyard sounds a great place to visit. Did you get any 'samples'? lol
Cracking little Goldfinch pics, and those views are lovely.

Pete said...

and why didn't you go and buy me a bottle of white????????

I like Clandon been there a few times

Tricia said...

Frank - yes a great combination. Pity I was driving though and couldn't have a "taster"!

Keith - it was good and hopefully (if I remember) I'll make sure of a visit next spring when the Skylarks are around there again!

Pete ;) ;)

We liked it too although some of the grounds seemed a bit neglected. Hatchlands Park next time.

Anonymous said...

Hi Tricia, lovely little birds House Martins. The scenes across the vineyard look nice as well. Any samples???

karen said...

Another lovely set of pics Tricia, looks like you had a fantastic day! The baby goldies are so sweet x

Tricia said...

Roy - I do like House Martins and the views were superb. Pictures don't really do them justice. I did bring a bottle home with me.....

Karen - thank you! Is was a lovely day.

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