Monday, 22 May 2017

The Eden Project Cornwall , part one.

My Daughter and I decided to have a week in Cornwall, so I left the Itinerary and general planning to the good looking one, as she enjoys the process and usually does a good job, with a few provisios on my part eg birding sites.
    And so it came to pass that by 9am on Saturday the 13th of May we gave the old Vauxall Astra estate a good kick and set off for the M6 South. First stop a service station somewhere on the M5, they all look the same after a while, both motorways and service stations. Second stop and our first over night B&B Exeter, although strictly speaking the B&B was a few miles outside Exeter, anyway after checking in we then back-tracked into Exeter for some site seeing, this my Daughters choice, mainly to see the Cathedral and bits of ancient crumbling city wall, (at this point I referred to my smart phone as to the definition of ancient, the voice said "belonging to the very distant past and no longer in existence" , if only. However a brave smile was pasted on my face , and I didn't complain too much about all the hill climbs, and the weather was with us, lovely warm sun, what could go wrong. The first disaster struck when I couldn't understand why the shutter button on my beloved Nikon wouldn't depress, various checks were made only to eventually find out that the battery was still in the charger back in the B&B, laugh, tears rolled down my cheeks, right. Don't worry says the good looking one you can use mine, and I did on occasion, the results of which are still in her camera !!.
    Sunday the 14th and we are on our way to our next B&B in Helston. on the way it was decided we should call at Tesco for some tin foil for our home made pack lunch, this to save money, by not buying lunches, mini disaster as we had forgot to pack the 40 meter long roll we had in the Kitchen at home. I sat in the car while the Daughter went to buy said item, at this point I have to say the weather is still on our side, still sunny bordering on the very warm, !! My Daughter arrived back jubilantly waving roll of tin foil over her head, Her jubilation soon withered when big disaster number two hit, she turned the ignition key and the car didn't start. After trying a couple more times we decided to give the old car a good rest and time to cool down, and so fifteen minutes later YAY , and we are off again.
    On arrival in Helston we decided to fill up the car with diesel to save time in the morning, boy did that Idea go down the tubes, after paying for the fuel, and my Daughter jumping back in the car , yes you guessed it , big big disaster struck, no starty engine. Its that time of night now when everywhere is shut, so we emptied the car and rang for a taxi to get us to the B&B , and booked him for the following morning to get us back to the car, in the hope it would still be there. It was , and unbelievably it started, but we now decided it wasn't worth the risk of continuing before consulting a car doctor, and with a nice little repair Garage across the road , we did just that. very kind and understanding people put the car stethoscope to the engine , and two hours and £140 later we where on the road again, and arrived at the Eden Project in time to beat the crowds.
  The least said about Helston the better , and the B&B was under par, I'm sure the people that live there love their little town, won't bother me if I never see it again, and I probably won't.
      The Eden Project for those not familiar with it, is a series of biomes built on the site of an old clay pit, the largest of which houses a huge tropical rain Forrest, and another houses plants from the Mediterranean, others have shops and exhibitions, there is also a large area of outdoor gardens, and sculptures.

All the biomes, but only a fraction of the gardens

So they are the biomes, but before we go inside, some outdoor shots.

Huge tire, don't ask I didn't.

Beautiful Iris with lovely markings.

A begging Woodpigeon, (Columba palumbus)

Quite an unusual sculpture

A section of above, mostly made of metal.

Hibiscus , not metal.

Close up of above.

Common Green Shieldbug (Palomena prasina) this one landed on my shoulder

You wouln't want to be stung by this monster.
And that concludes part one. If the above had landed on my shoulder there wouldn't be a part two, (think it but don't say it)

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

A wee bit more from Castle Howard

Gadwall (Anas strepera) this female is creating quite a bow wave for a small duck.

Femal Gadwall
And we have liftoff.
A pair of Tufted duck (Aythya fuligula) these are diving ducks, so can be difficult to photograph if they are in feeding mode.

Male Tufted.
Linking to Stewarts wild bird Wednesday,

Friday, 5 May 2017

My Daughter and I had a ride over to Castle Howard in North Yorkshire, a fine building with extensive grounds and lakes. My Daughter is interested in country houses and castles whereas I was just there for the wildlife , and unfortunatly there wasn't a great deal of it.
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) there was quite a few on the big lake, but I found this one tucked away on one of the smaller lakes,
very obliging I  wonder how many eggs she is sitting.
How many worms and grubs can a Blackbird (Turdus merula) cram into its beak,? answer, a lot.

obviously somewhere near by there was a nest full of hungry chicks.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Family outing.

Mallard with just a few of her young on Derwentwater,  the ducklins where all over the place so consequently I could never get them all in the same shot, but there was about 11.
Dad doing his bit,  a rare event .

Friday, 28 April 2017

Its all in black and white on Derwentwater.

Male Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba) insect hunting on the shore by the Isthmus.

He was on his own so its possible the female could be on a nest close by.

My mate Les was driving the one-o-clock launch so I went round with him. And as we sailed past Lords Island these other black and whites where on display.

Barnacle Geese (Branta leucopsis) two snoozing one on guard.

Every Spring a flock of Barnacle geese arrive on Derwentwater to nest on Lords Island, its not too certain where they come from, but seeing as any Barnacle geese that winter in the UK always go back to their breeding grounds in the arctic circle, it can only be asumed that this flock is feral having built up numbers from a previously escaped captive pair.

unsteady shots from a rocking boat, and a big lens .

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Derwentwater Sandpipers

They are back and have been seen in various parts of the lake, this one was photographed on the Isthmus opposite the boat landings.

Common Sandpiper, (Actitis hypoleucus)

Common Sandpiper.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Derwentwater, The Lake District.

Mute Swan  (Cygnus Olor)  this is a male or Cob, A pair have a nest at the south end of Derwentwater , and there is possibly a second pair at the Northern end where they have nested before. Also there are quiet a few of last years young on the lake.

Stay away from the wife and kids , or else !!

While wandering by the lake I found this beautiful patch of Wood Anemone

Wood Anemone
Linking to Stewarts wild bird wednesday---

Friday, 21 April 2017

Thacka Beck Nature Reserve

Had a walk round the reserve this morning, but there wasn't a great deal about. I put it down to the fact that it was dull and a quite strong North Westerly blowing. I took the path along the Hawthorns first , and found that some kind person had hung four lots of feeders in the trees. They where attracting half a dozen or more House Sparrows, also a Reed Bunting, which was not being very obliging for the camera. on the other side of the track there was a Woodpidgion chilling out. There was also a few Swallows skimming over the water, anything else on view was on the water. And for me there lies a problem. because when the reserve was first created, there was lots of gravel islands which attracted quite a few waders, unfortunatly no house keeping has been done and the whole area has been taken over with Rush, also no reports of waders in a long time.

nearly all areas covered in Rush and Reedmace

So now the islands are covered in Rush and also there is less open water.
The Hawthorns path, to the right is the main part of the reserve , which is surrounded on three sides by industrial ,estate, and just out of sight to the left is the West coast main line. the view is looking South.
House Sparrows enjoying the fat balls.
Lazy Woodpidgeon.


Two Lesser Black-backed Gulls had settle on the water with others flying over.

Male Mallard.

Bachelor party, hopefully the females are on nest as there was no sign of any.

A pair of distant Teal , bad timeing.