My blog is mostly about wildlife, particularly birds, walking, days out, all growing things and anything else that comes to mind.
To view pictures in larger format, just click on any picture for the picture gallery....

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

A quick trip to London Wetland Centre

I nipped over to the London Wetland Centre at Barnes today to purchase a harness for my binoculars.

Of course I couldn't resist trying to find the Water Vole. One of the volunteers advised that it hadn't been seen today - and it remained that way. The food, that was in plentiful supply last Saturday, was non-existent today. It was also quite windy making the rushes rustle. My understanding is that Water Voles don't like to much noise and therefore it's quite possible that the rustling put them off coming out.

And I had the camera with me..... I'm becoming quite attached to Puna Teals (although they're captive birds); I love their colours and the quiet gentleness about them. The Tufties were showing their tufts very visibly in the breeze today and the Mallards were gleaming iridescently in the bright sun.

Some froggies would a wooing go!

Over the last couple of days, there has been an amazing amount of courting going on in my garden pond. The water virtually bubbling with the amount of activity.

As a result, a good deal of frogspawn has now appeared but this morning, apart from the odd one or two frogs moving about, life has quietened down.

Some spawn pictures. For some reason, I'm not currently able to upload the video. Will try again some other time. The pictures were not easy to take given the amount of reflection on the water. For one of them, I used an old lens as it would take the polarising filter. New lenses are too big for it!

Did the earth move for you?

Apparently, the UK suffered an earthquake last night with its epicentre in Lincolnshire. At 5.3 on the Richter scale, it's the strongest in the UK since 1984.

I can remember an earth tremor that happened in Birmingham in 2002 when I was working in Tolworth Tower on the 6th floor. All of a sudden plants in the office started shaking and you could actually feel the effects of the tremor. A tad unsettling at the time!

Sunday, 24 February 2008

On the spur of the moment!

Today was meant to be homework in the morning. But.. the sun was shining... But I wanted to purchase a binocular harness at the shop (they didn't have any in stock!) ... but.. but...

So I asked J (grandson) if he would like a trip to Barnes and then homework in the afternoon and he readily agreed, so off we went.

J was in his element and looked like a proper birder with my spare binocs (which he put to good use) slung around his neck.

Met Pete there who had already seen the Water Vole - the WWT had put some carrots out for him (the Water Vole that is - not Pete; conjures up image of said Pete perched on a small raft amongst the reeds, nibbling sliced carrots - hmmm!). Unfortunately for me I didn't get a picture worth keeping as a phone call distracted me - which was a tad irritating. It was then too close for the camera to focus - must look into that! Really irritating!

However, it was an enjoyable unplanned morning in Spring-like weather. And J declared it a great success.

Some pics of birdies - some are collection birds, one very hairy bird, and one mystery bird having taken up residence in a nest box; but they were all posing so nicely....

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Richmond Park and Trees

I'm on grandson and dog duty again this weekend so, by popular vote, we decided to head off for Richmond Park for exercise. Dull, cloudy but mild today.

Not much colour about at all, so today's pictures are concentrated more on trees and their shapes. There seem to be many more dead trees, but I'm assuming this is because the dead wood is being left (where safe to do so) as wildlife habitats.

And... I didn't take the wrong turning today but we found a gate leading down a path that cut straight through the wood that we normally circumnavigate. Mostly rhododendrons, the path leads through these and, in several places, forms a tunnel through the green growth.

We were rewarded with the sight of Blue Tits chasing each other and the sounds of Long-tailed Tits and a Great Spotted Woodpecker. The woods are quite dense so unfortunately couldn't spot the latter two! A Magic Wood we decided.

Then off to the cinema in the afternoon. We decided to go to see The Water Horse. How did we rate it - on a scale of Boring, Good, Very Good or Excellent - a unanimous "Boring". Which was disappointing. I wish I'd read this review before going however - as it sums up what I thought pretty accurately!

So.. trees and texture from today's outing.

Penn Ponds

The Magic Wood

Just a few birdy pics


Looking back on my garden wildlife records, I noted that on 20 February last year, the first frog spawn arrived. Not so this year, but then the pond was covered in ice for two or three days leading up to 20th!

Yesterday evening, I recommenced my "pond watch" and at approx. 7.00 p.m. I observed 5 frogs in the pond. Great, they're back. I had wondered if the neighbours' removing their pond during last summer would have an effect in reducing the numbers.

It would appear not. Tonight's check also found me 5 frogs but tonight there were definitely two pairs and a solitary frog.

Frogspawn by tomorrow morning? We'll have to wait and see!

Monday, 18 February 2008

Interesting Newspaper Article

I came across this rather odd newspaper article so present it here for your entertainment.

Any reference to any person or company is pure fictional!

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

An Escape from Workmen!

Currently my kitchen is being refurbished - it started on 15 January and is STILL NOT FINISHED!! But that's another story altogether!

Today the flooring chap arrived - pity the vinyl floor didn't! He rang his suppliers from the front garden (no doubt had the neighbours twitching their curtains) and registered his dissatisfaction by sacking his suppliers because their drivers are "as thick as a pile of bricks". He did as much work as he could and will be back again tomorrow; as will the kitchen fitter; could be fun!. This should be the last visit, but time will tell!

Needing to recover from this episode and needing fresh air, I headed off to one of my local National Trust (NT) properties - POLESDEN LACY as, by now, the fog had gone and a hazy sun had appeared.

Polesden Lacy has very extensive grounds and lovely views. Unfortunately the best views meant shooting straight into the sun, so not many pictures of those available. Most of the grounds are parkland in style but there is a formal rose garden. Lots of Snowdrops but very few Daffodils in evidence yet.

I haven't visited the house for many years and gave it a miss today; too nice to be inside. King George VI and the Queen Mother honeymooned there.

The NT are carrying out extensive renovations to the grounds. The first thing I noticed was that the car park had moved - so just as well I had my eyes open! The former car park is being restored to what it was originally - an orchard - which is to be grassed over and crab apples trees planted. Potential feeding area for Fieldfares and Redwings next winter?

Drove back over Ranmore; was anticipating stopping on Ranmore Common but some idiot had turned the signpost round and as I came back to the main road, decided to head off home!

The Old Stable Block which is now the Cafe.

The House

The walk alongside the walled garden

A Cottage which is private property. Wouldn't
mind this sort of cottage!

The is a thatched bridge. Today is wasn't
leading anywhere as the NT are re-turfing the
other side.

Into the more wooded areas and Snowdrops.

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