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....

Saturday, 31 May 2008

This and that..

The rhododendron in my garden is so full of flowers at present that some of the branches are bending down so low that they're in danger of breaking off.

It's a wonderful shrub for wildlife and late yesterday afternoon is was covered with bees who, in turn, were covered with pollen.

A large number of damselflies were around the pond again and many of them ensuring the continuation of the species.

Today - well it's been nicely warm (I actually got out in a skirt today - yes peeps, I do have legs!) but it was very overcast and the sun hasn't actually been seen that much.

Being on grandson and dog duties again this weekend we headed off for Box Hill for a walk. This time I drove up the "zig zags" which is a road that climbs to the top of the hill (or down - whichever way you prefer to describe it :)) and we set off along the North Downs Way. Having decided it was about time to turn a corner to head back, we found a wonderfully slippery path that let through a heavily wooded area. About half-way along I realised that we were still going down and quite steeply. There were no paths or tracks leading off to higher ground. To cut a long story short, we ended up at the bottom and eventually had a climb back up to the top again.

Along the way were some stiles with a very clever idea for letting one's canine companion through - this can be seen below as demonstrated by my Grandson.

Near the car park we used, is Box Hill Fort. This is one of 13 that were built (in 1899) and is the best preserved and is now a Scheduled Ancient Monument. Whilst only a small part can be seen above ground, there are many tunnels below ground - and Bats have now colonized these tunnels. The Fort has steel doors which are all securely closed with one exception - this has been left open (albeit with bars across the doorway) so the colony of bats are free to come and go.

A rewarding walk which ended with a milkshake, a cuppa and a shared iced Bakewell Tart - yummy.

A newly fledged Great Tit (record shot only)

Not a good day for landscape photography today as
everywhere was in a haze!

and Dogs have their own gate through the Stile

A dark and mysterious wood

Box Hill Fort

Admittance through door permitted -
only if you're a Bat.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

West End Cygnets

West End is a small residential area of Esher and also the northern most tip of Esher Commons. It boasts a large green with a pond and cricket green; the cricket club and a church. A very pretty area and close to a garden centre. It was there that I was headed this morning with no thought of taking any pictures. Just had the compact in the boot as usual.

My attention was caught by balloons hanging on the fence that was guarding a Mute Swans' nest. I quickly grabbed the camera and took a few pics.

Not satisfied with this I came back later with my dSLR.

Several people came and went to look at the cygnets. Someone commented that last Monday (26 May) there were five broken/smashed eggs on the main bank and attributed this to the badger or foxes. On that day, it is alleged, the water between the island and main bank hadn't much water so consequently animals could have crossed to the nest.

Whilst I was there, on both occasions, several people (many of whom were residents) came to admire the new cygnets - born yesterday. It was obvious from the comments that the Swan family's progress has been closely monitored and observed with mounting excitement.

I believe the residents of West End who have taken so much trouble and care in ensuring the safety of these birds, deserve a round of applause - well done to everyone involved.

I'll let the pictures tell the tale:
A view across Prince of Wales Pond

A Birth Announcement

The Council had erected this notice; it is so sad to think
that it's even necessary!

Site of the nest with Mum & Dad in attendance
You can see the Birthday Balloons

Keeping close to Mum

"Mum - can I go and play with the others please?"

Time for a swim

Regrettably, despite the announcement of five births,
there were only four cygnets today. One of the cygnets
is noticeably smaller than his/her siblings.

"Ooh, I'm having my picture taken, and I'm only 1 day old!"

Mum was being very protective and keeping an eye on her youngsters

Back to the nest now

Where we all had a preen and some attention from Mum
(Unfortunately, one egg hasn't hatched)

then it was time for a snuggle

while Mum had a few preening moments by herself

How are you all doing under there little ones?

And finally, Dad remained aloof and to one side whilst he
had a preen.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

A watery surprise

I have an ever increasing amount of duck weed in my garden pond, and no ducks to help me out with the pond cleaning. In order to "skim" this off the top of the water I have a very useful square net on a long handle.

So there I was this afternoon, whilst the cloud covered the sun and consequently the tadpoles weren't on the top of the water, gently skimming across the top.

When I lifted the net after the third time, and having put back a few tadpoles on the previous occasions, I found a had a completely new visitor to my pond:

A common Newt - Whey Hey. Unfortunately the camera was in the house, the newt was in the net which I couldn't put down and I only had one pair of hands. Therefore I very gently lowered the net back into the pond, and the newt swam away.

So no pictures of the newt or anything else today.

Just so pleased to see my new resident and hope to see more of this visitor and his/her friends in the following days.

Monday, 26 May 2008

Have I missed summer? Part 2

I couldn't stand being a self-restrained prisoner by the weather any longer, so I donned waterproof jacket, trousers and shoes and went for a walk around the block. Once out, it wasn't as bad as I'd feared; it was just "soft rain".

What was so weird though, was the lack of people or cars in the three-quarters of an hour that I was out. I was passed by a mum and son, who were having a jog and one car came down the road. It was as though everyone had left Mother Earth and forgotten to tell me. Probably just as well as I was humming a song to myself - or, I then realised, not quite to myself. So it was probably that that had kept everyone else away. LOL

Felt so much better when I got home, had a shower and a cuppa, and rejoined the human race.

I'd taken my compact camera in my pocket (Canon PowerShot A80). So just a taste of the trees in my "block".

Have I missed summer? Part 1

Typically today is worse than yesterday in terms of weather. Gale force winds and rain. Whilst I no longer work I know how precious the long holiday weekends are when five days of the week are spent working. It's a pity that on occasions like this we can't elect to say "OK I'm gonna work today and have a day off when the sun shines"

In the birding arena, I had a visit from a Ring-necked Parakeet today; nothing odd in that as I get them all the time. Except this one was pale blue. I managed to get a record shot, and I'm not being modest. Very poor light and the bird and feeder swinging madly in the wind - ideal for pictures!! It also appears to have a blue ring on it's left leg so I've e-mailed a bird-ringer I know for his input.

We did get a quick sunburst yesterday, so was playing with the macro lens around the garden - thought a bit of colour was necessary to brighten up a dull day today.

It's BLUE! (I haven't edited either of these two pictures at all)

as opposed to the more usual Green

This, I'm pretty sure is a Blue-tailed Damselfly
(unless anyone can tell me differently)

as opposed this one from the other day which I
agree with Pete in thinking it's an
Azure Damselfly

Bumble bee on Pond Iris


A Bird's eye view of Digitalis
Related Posts with Thumbnails