As I sit here writing this blog (and watching the ICC Cricket World Cup from sunny London) we are having a torrential downpour. Really I shouldn’t be surprised as when editing my photos from our visit this morning to Acton Court, a Tudor manor house near Latteridge in south Gloucestershire, I could see that the weather was quite threatening and the photos rather moody.
In fact we were very lucky to complete our visit to the garden (which was open to the public as part of the National Garden Scheme) in the dry. We really enjoyed the vegetable garden, the wild meadows, the wild flower garden and the old English roses as well as the butterflies and insects.
Meadow brown butterfly
As well as the lovely refreshments (coffee and home made cakes) there were stands from the Hawk and Owl Trust and Owl Occasions although the few owls on display looked very nervous and, to me, sad.
Great grey owl
Acton Court’s website (https://www.actoncourt.com/) says the following of the history of the manor house:
“In 1535, one of England’s most colourful kings, Henry VIII, came to stay at Acton Court with his second wife, Anne Boleyn, while on his summer Progress around the West Country. The owner of Acton Court, Nicholas Poyntz, wanted to impress his sovereign, so for Henry’s pleasure, he built a magnificent new East Wing on to the existing moated manor house. The new wing was a splendid testament to Nicholas Poyntz’s loyalty to his King. He went to immense trouble and expense to impress Henry, decorating the state apartments lavishly and fashionably. He was well rewarded as it is thought he was knighted during the royal visit.
Today, the East Wing which was built in just nine months comprises most of what remains at Acton Court. It offers a rare example of 16th century royal state apartments and some decorations which are said to be the finest of their kind in England.”
Acton Court is open to the public for three National Garden Scheme Days in June, and three Heritage Open Days in September.
What do you do when it’s too wet for golf? – Go bird watching.
I spent a couple of hours in the rain at Chew Valley Lake in North Somerset without taking a photo and was about to give up and go home when suddenly a Great White Egret flew right in front of me. Encouraged a stayed for a while longer and got some pleasing photographs. The rain stopped and the sun came out for a while. The GWE moved to the back of the lake and I experimented with a bit of digiscoping. I need to put some more effort in to this as I must say I get a better view through my telescope than I do looking through the camera lens.
Great white egret flying in
Bad hair day for the great white egret
Great white egret checking its hair
Great white egret fishing for his lunch
Close up of GWE
GWE and mute swan
These last two photos were my best efforts at digiscoping
It was a gloomy evening but I needed to tear myself away from watching the Cricket World Cup on the television and so I strolled across the road to Stoke Park Estate for an hour of nature watching. There was lots to see and enjoy as I hope you can see from my photos.
Duchess Pond in Stoke Park Estate – only a couple of miles from Bristol city centre and less than 5 minutes on foot from home
The grey heron flew in as I arrived
A whitethroat made a lot of noise above the pond
Flowers of so many colours
Moorhens young and old
And the grey heron kept moving around the pond in search of his supper
I even got back in time to see the end of the cricket match.
On a walk round our local park there was lots to hear (mainly warblers) but not much to see as the foliage on the trees is now very dense. However, there were ducklings, goslings and the chicks (if that’s the right name) of coots on the lake and a dipper on the River Frome.
We had an enjoyable morning at the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust centre at Slimbridge visiting the hides which look north out on to the Severn Estuary and taking the “summer walk” down to the edges of the estuary. However, other than shelduck and 3 curlew there wasn’t much to see on the estuary except for the lovely views.
The beautiful meadows and reed beds on the edges of the Severn Estuary
A distant curlew
On the pools we had close up views of mainly shelduck, greylag geese, avocet, gadwall and black-headed gulls but there was a common crane, a pied wagtail with two juveniles, a couple of bathing linnets, an oystercatcher and, in the far distance, a little ringed plover.
Adult pied wagtail
Juvenile pied wagtail
Shelduck with ducklings