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 May 2009

Sunday - 31 May, Stourhead and Shelbourne Castle

My network connection up here is very variable - going from nothing at all to fairly slow. In view of this, I'm limited the number of pictures I post on a daily basis (assuming of course I can post daily), and shall upload more on my return home.

Our holiday accommodation is a converted barn that faces out onto a "yard" area. This is where the swallows and other birds like to treat us to a "fly" past and, as the area is south facing, early morning pictures are much more possible.

The swallows are nesting under cover between the top of a brick wall and a roof beam in a narrow roofed corridor between two buildings. At the far end (from us) the door has the words "keep door closed - SWALLOWS" written on it in chalk. I like this!!

Here one of the parents with a beakful of breakfast checks out the safe, or otherwise, route to the nest before flying in to feed its youngsters - I think it's only one but it's too dark and I wasn't lingering!

So we had our first outing this morning and this was to Stourhead Gardens. Our journey was about 4 miles through very narrow country lanes and conifer woods. Stourhead is stunningly beautiful. It's many years since I went there and that was in autumn so great to see it in Spring with all the Rhododendrons and Azaleas in flower.

This is probably one of the most famous views of the gardens

and an update of rather a great number of pictures taken there:

The first three pictures were taken at the end of our week away and a very cloudy day. As we drove northwards from where we were staying, along country lanes, this was a first view on entering Stourton and the entrance to Stourhead Gardens.

And then into the gardens - it is beautiful and somwhere that really needs a visit for each season of the year.

The white on the grass in this view, is caused by masses of daisies growing - wonderful!

After a pleasant but exceedingly expensive sandwich, we headed of for Shelbourne Castle and house. Given the ground floor was the only available floor to wheelchair users, we opted for a wander around the gardens. Again, some great views and interesting bits and pieces.

A view across the lake.

So now? We decide where to head off to tomorrow. I must say we've been jolly lucky with the gloriously hot weather and, of course, I've taken all the wrong clothes!!! One June when we were away we were glad of having our fleeces with us for warmth!

Saturday, 30 May 2009

We arrived!

Had a not to bad journey down to Somerset and we stopped en route at Wilton House in Wiltshire. The house, as we already knew, would be closed but the grounds and gardens open.

We walked through the gardens; it was so quiet and peaceful. The river Nadder runs through the estate and trickles, shallowly, over cobbley stones as it wends its way. A few Mallards were swimming around doing normal Mallard things. A female cruised passed with three young.

I looked further down the river and whey hey – a Little Egret. It was looking for food but didn't seem to find any and finally, it flew – up into an adjacent tree. I had only my landscape lens with me but, hey I saw it and it was a great surprise!

Arrived at our final destination along a many country lanes. The villiage consists of a few house and a church it seems – but further investigation may prove otherwise.

We're in a converted barn on a working farm with fields full of buttercups everywhere you look. Horses are stabled here and are out the in the fields grazing contendedly.

As we got out of the car, I heard that oh so familiar sound – Swallows!! I looked up and six or so were diving and sweeping passed our heads – you felt, almost, as though you should duck. Up on the roof a lone Pied Wagtail looked around him and yes – the wonderful sound of House Sparrows – still chirruping as I type.

A commotion from the Swallows and they bombarded a Sparrowhawk flying through the courtyard. Amazing – four different species of birds and we hadn't got through the front door.

I've tried to upload some pictures but my connection, I believe is too slow. If I can get them posted I'll do so.

In the meantime - oooh it's warm :D

In this tree in Wilton House Garden, a blue tit had its nest. Half way - vertically - between the two holes you can see!

A Little Egret stands and stares

One of the neighbours..

Saturday, 31 May at Wilton House

We set off for our holiday in Somerset but had a stop en route at Wilton House.

Wilton House is near Salisbury (Wiltshire) and is the home of the Earl of Pembroke.
There are many magnificent and very large old trees which sometimes seem to dwarf the house.

A section of the Palladian Bridge - the bridge is not open to the public however.

Around the Chinese garden and one of the four bridges - all red!

and how about this for a tree stump! Nature's own architecture.

Laburnum cascading down

and a boat house over on the other side of the river

Note: the white bird is the Little Egret!
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