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....

Sunday, 25 July 2010

ID help needed and Esher Common

Before I dive in to today's post, my friend Pete (of The Quacks of Life fame) is trying to ID a grasshopper/cricket. Clicking HERE and HERE will take you to the wee beastie :D If anyone can help here it would be appreciated. :D

Right - today!

I'd had a fleeting visit to Black Pond on Esher Common yesterday and was delighted to see some new visitors. I normally only see Mallards and Grey Herons on this pond and was once treated to a (very speedy) fly past of a Kingfisher. I've also heard a Reed Warbler on a couple of occasions when the reeds were still abundant.,

Yesterday I only had 1/2 hour to spare as I was passing and dropped by. I saw about 15 Mallards which was good (usually only 3 or 4) and, right at the far end were 2 x adult and 2 x young Little Grebes. So this morning I revisted.

I don't like going on a Sunday. Every other person or group of people had a least one dog with them. At one time there were 11 dogs all going in and out of the water - with their owners throwing sticks and/or balls for them to chase. This makes my blood boil!! (It's also been a hot, humid and grey day so I wasn't in the best frame of mind either.) There's nothing to stop this happening but given this used to be a really good spot for dragon and damselflies I feel that this could have a damaging effect. I didn't see any today but, to be fair, there wasn't much sun either!

However, Elmbridge Council have been carrying out an ongoing plan to clear the area and return (some of) the heavily wooded parts back into Heathland. This has been happening over a few years now and is not looking quite a barren as it had been.

One of the latest areas is to clear all the reeds around the pond (or the vast majority of them). Whether this is the cause of the new visitors, I don't know.

Unfortunately, I could only find 1 adults and 1 young Little Grebe today. But in addition to the 12 or so Mallards was a Moorhen with one young and also a female Mandarin duck. Things are looking up. I shall be back there more often.

At the far left of this picture, is part of the path where all the dogs were jumping in and out of the water.

Note: the flat, light brown areas are where all the reeds have been cut back and the bare earth is now showing. There are signs of the reeds growing back however.

Looking then to the right is where the two Little Grebes were
and from the same spot over on the far bank.

The whole area used to look very much like the conifered (with apologies to the language scholars for 'conifered') area below

And now there are many more clearings like the one below.

Next visit - during the week.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Hither and thither for wildlife

I had the usual trip over to the London Wetland Centre today. Although it was generally very light on birds, we did see a Redshank and 4 x Little Ringed Plovers (one seemed to be a juvenile) out on the scrape; they were kept company by 3 x Snipe and there were several Lapwings about - they've been rather thin in the ground recently. A few swallows zipped by and the Sandmartins are fewer in number but some still around.

Mostly the wildlife was of the flora, insect or flutter variety. The crickets/grasshoppers were noticeably audible and one variety was so well camouflaged it looked like a piece of dried twig (no picture as it was too well hidden!)

Best I could do of the far-away Snipe!

Yesterday in Bushy Park, there were again, few birds but...
This Mallard was resting..

and I was surprised at the number of young ones (and some VERY young ones) about

A Pochard being lazy enjoying the sun..

Underwater photography!

A Red-crested Pochard (female)

And a case of being in eclipse for this one

Seeing double where this Coot was concerned..

Just two very young Egyptian Geese

And this very young family of Mallards number 15 - but I couldn't get them all together in frame!

A bee (unknown type) on Ragwort

And my one and only Painted Lady so far this year - albeit a very battle-scarred one.

Masses of Banded Demoiselles around

and tomorrow.... hopefully something very local ;)

Monday, 19 July 2010

Nymans Garden in Sussex

A day down with Mum and we visited Nymans Gardens. Haven't been there for sometime but nice to revisit. It was always a favourite with Mum & Dad so it has good associations too.

Nymans was one of the first gardens to come to the National Trust and was donated in 1953 on the death of Leonard Messel. His daughter Anne, the Garden Director until 1987, continued to improve the gardens during that time.

Just as we leave the visitor's centre this building looks out over the views (no pic of the views, wrong light

Hydrangeas do exceptionally well here as do Azaleas and Rhododendrons.

The herbaceous borders everywhere were so colourful.

And now the main flush of roses has gone over, the hips/haws bring more colour.

These very vivid flowers (Gazanias I think) were covered in bees of different types.

This one being completely covered in pollen so it was hard to distinguish the bee from the centre of the flower.

At the beginning of a new board walk (it's through Bamboo not water) was this carving of a Panda

In the centre of the rose garden, bubbled a fountain

And further around was a giant urn with some interesting decorations.

We walked further around to go to the house... This is the dovecote.

The house suffered a fire in February 1947 (when it was still in the Messel family) and now only a small part of it is still intact.

Huge magnificent trees can be found in many parts of the grounds.

Whilst the National Trust now permits photography within its houses, there are some exceptions and Nymans is one of them. Apparently there are some items on loan and the lenders prefer not have them photographed. So this is the only picture I took of some amazingly scented flowers just inside the entrance door!

Walking across the lawn away from the house, you come to the croquet lawn. The structure on top of the mound is a view point. However, it's now been closed as it's become unsafe but marvellous views can be had from the viewing stand when you can get up there!

A long row of lavender and not far from it some broad leaved plant with this cricket/grasshopper. We managed to see it rubbing its legs and producing that well-known sound.

And along the bottom of the croquet lawn is this long Wisteria Walk.

The Wisteria itself must be many many years old. This is one of the gnarled stems.
And then home for a well earned cuppa. A lovely and impromptu day out.
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