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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Sunday, 31 August 2008

Sunday - after the rain

A sequence of events
  • It stopped raining
  • The sun came out (eventually)
  • The clouds parted
  • The humidity was very high
  • I went to Bushey Park
  • I took some pictures
  • I had a long walk through one Woodland Garden into the second
  • I met a very nice **young couple - he with a Canon and 500mm lens plus, she with the binoculars - both sighted on a Kingfisher!! Which I saw!! Apparently it's often there so I shall be visiting with different eyes from now on.
  • We talked for a while
  • We didn't notice the very black clouds
  • We did notice the few spots of rain that began to fall
  • The rain got heavier
  • I zipped up my waterproof jacket over my camera
  • I pulled the hood up and battened down the hatches
  • The rain came down in torrents
  • The lightening flashed
  • The thunder roared
  • I was about 1 mile from my car
  • My jeans - soaking wet and clinging to my legs
  • My waterproof shoes - now wet from the rain water running down the jeans
  • Lightening plus metal camera lens - not good
  • Finally - reached the car
Eating autumn fruits

Cooling down

Sibling mutual grooming

Awww - little birds on their nests - agree

Male Mandarin regaining his glorious colours

** If either of my acquaintances of the afternoon pops in here, thank you both very much for allowing me to join your sighting of the Kingfisher and the view through your binoculars :)

Follies - Part 2

This morning I awoke at 6.00 a.m. to - very heavy mist; this in turn followed by thunder and lightening with consequent heavy rain. The light levels were more consistent with evening time - what a stark and undesired contrast to yesterday's glorious penultimate August day.

So, whilst I'm waiting for the rain to stop enough to get out for a walk, and to bring a little sunshine back into the day, I shall continue with my walk of yesterday.

Painshill was created between 1738 and 1773 by Hon. Charles Hamilton. By 1981 Elmbridge Borough Council had bought 158 acres of the original estate and restoration of the whole park began by the Painshill Park Trust.

Continuing around the lake, the Gothic Temple comes into view

Restoration still continues throughout the Park and, most noticeably, in the Grotto (open only at weekends) where more work continues on the inside. On an island in the middle of the lake the Grotto is connected by two bridges. One of which, is ..
..the Chinese Bridge (with the Great Crested Grebe family in the middle of the lake)

Approaching the entrance..

With the main part of the grotto out of shot on the right, the arch curves over the water

The restoration of the inside of the grotto where the timber framework for the roof and "icicles" can be seen ("icicles", or probably stalactites, similar to those underneath the arch in the picture above).

Looking out towards the other end of the arch

Whilst looking out, three dragonflies (darters) were flying around over the water.

Leaving the island and the grotto, my journey continues to the very far end of the lake with my next goal being the Water Wheel.

On the way there, our path is taking us through a more heavily wooded area and, at this point, with a steep rise to the right, we are now almost at eye-level with the exposed roots of some trees.

A massive water-wheel (not the original) which feeds water to the 14 acre lake.
Hamilton conceived the idea that water could be raised from the River Mole some 5 meters below to provide a supply for its artificial lake. This was an ingenious scheme probably picked up from one of his tours abroad, using an 11 metre wheel.

and the water comes up and out through this gully

Leaving the Water Wheel we head off through the woods; this area seems much more natural in its planting.

and we come out into a glade, where going up hill

we get our first sight of the Gothic Tower

The hill towards the top gets very much steeper

and once inside, the notice greets you with this interesting notice!

and there are 99 - I counted them (OK I really am a sad person and should get out more).
Having successfully climbed the stairs, you reach the castellated area at the top

(and yes, I know it's a bit on the slant, but then so was I - on the steeply sloping bank!)

and are rewarded with this view

Leaving the Gothic Tower we now begin our return route along the other side of the lake. On the way we pass the Turkish Tent. What I find so intriguing about this folly, is that whatever the construction is made from (plaster of some sort?), the tent ends up looking like gently folding material.

and the view from there back towards the lake and finally through the exit.

And with one last glimpse of the Grotto, from the other side of the lake

I really enjoyed my afternoon here and wished I'd had a little more time to explore some of the other views.

Finally, having finished this chronicle, has it stopped raining? Nnnooooo.

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Sunshine, flutters and follies - part 1

I'd promised myself that the first sunny day when I was free, I was heading off to Denbies Hillside (Nr. Dorking in Surrey), which is part of Ranmore Common (and approximately 500 ft above sea level). My mission: to see and, hopefully photograph, butterflies.

Well they were definitely about but, according to one local expert that I met, in very few numbers. Also it was very windy so the plants were blowing about and thus deterring the flutters.

Met a very nice couple who'd come down for the day from Essex! They were then off to Ashford Forest in West Sussex. This is something they do quite frequently. It's amazing who you meet, and what you learn about them, when you're staggering down a very steep hill!!

It was bright by very hazy and overcast when I first arrived, but the sun did venture out evenutally.

However, herewith some pictures of those flutters that would stay still long enough. I'm not familiar enough to ID them, so any names are purely my suggestions!!

Views south out towards Box Hill, Shere etc.

My only "captured" dragon of the day

No. 1 - Adonis Blue - great!


No 03 Chalk-hill Blue

No 04 Common Blue

No 05 Common Blue

(with thanks to Steve for the help with the IDs)

Having purchased a sandwich (only place en route = Waitrose = expensive) on the way to Denbies Hillside I ate that whilst watching the flutters and admiring the view in the sunshine.

Lunch over and having staggered back up the hill, I decided that I would go to Painshill Park I'd been talking about Painshill recently which reminded me I wanted to see the Grotto. I have to pay entrance money for this local park so I limit my visits. At the weekends, the Grotto is open so I thought - why not? Equally, the last time I was there I was somewhat restricted in where I could go.

Many "follies" exist within the Park - which is very big. I arrived at about 2.00 and didn't leave until 5.00 ish. I could have spent longer.

The lake in it's entirety can never be seen so there a many views. A photographic walk around the Park on a sunny Saturday.

The birds are pretty cool to.
For the second weekend running, a family of Great Crested Grebes - this time three young and one adult.

Just some of the views of today - there's so many that I will have a "Part 2" tomorrow or Monday - watch this space.

The grotto - still being restored inside.
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