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31st July 2019 – WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre

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I was totally indulged on my birthday and had a lovely morning photographing birds at Slimbridge Wetlands Centre on Gloucestershire. We didn’t venture far as most of the centre was teeming with children and their parents/grandparents at the beginning of the school holidays. However, we found a few quiet hides where we could see some waders (mainly black-tailed godwits, common sandpipers, green sandpipers, greenshank, lapwings) as well as goldfinch and linnets bathing at close quarters. Just before leaving we also saw lots of Red Admiral butterflies and bees on the buddleja.

DSC04206Black-tailed godwit

DSC04739Black-tailed godwit

DSC04792Greenshank

DSC04298Common sandpiper

DSC04748Green sandpiper

DSC04689Lapwing

DSC04331Goldfinch

DSC04803Linnet

DSC04961Tufted duck

DSC04924Red Admiral

DSC04921Banded white-tailed bumblebee

 

 

 

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29th July 2019 – Stoke Park Estate, Bristol

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I had a short walk around Duchess Pond in Stoke Park Estate dodging the rain showers.

The sun shone briefly and a few butterflies appeared. I was particularly pleased to see a Red Admiral and that I was able to get close to a Green-veined White.

Other than mallards, coots and Canada geese on the lake there wasn’t much bird life. The most interesting was a grey heron and a glimpse of a small bird in the reeds (no idea what it was).

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DSC03933Red Admiral

DSC04116Green-veined White

DSC03990Meadow Brown

DSC03896Green-veined White

DSC03902Green-veined White

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28th July 2019 – Stoke Park Estate, Bristol

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We had a lovely late afternoon walk through the woods in Stoke Park and along the skyline on Purdown with great views over Bristol and its suburbs.

DSCF7834A robin greeted us at the entrance to Barn Wood

DSCF7856A Speckled Wood butterfly in the woods

DSCF7970Duchess Pond in the foreground with the Dower House behind

DSCF7920The M32 leading in to central Bristol with Eastville Park to the left

DSCF7896Looking over our house to Glenside Hospital whose chapel houses the Glenside Hospital Museum: the museum is full of an interesting and growing collection of a wide range of artefacts and images from its past life, including objects from the former Stoke Park Hospital and the Burden Neurological Institute (now the Dower House)

Link to Glenside Hospital Museum

Link to Dower House

We had a slow start as, right at the beginning of the walk, we stopped to watch a kestrel which hovered quite close by and regularly dived in search of prey. It didn’t seem to be very successful and went and had a look in to the window of one of the flats of the Dower House that dominates the park.

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We made our way to the top of Purdown to see the goats which are grazing around the  old gun battery known as “Purdown Percy”

The following reference about “Purdown Percy” comes from an article on the web by Eugene Byrne (https://eugenebyrne.wordpress.com/2010/08/30/purdown-percy/) :

‘Purdown Percy’ was the name given to a legendary supergun supposedly placed here during the war. There was no such weapon. What there was was a battery of 3.7-inch guns and the occasional 40mm Bofors gun(s).

People apparently believed, though, that Purdown was home to a sort of ack-ack version of Big Bertha. The legend of Purdown Percy might have arisen because of the elevated position of the battery; the racket it made would have carried very widely. It’s also, and slightly more credibly, been suggested that up to four of the guns could be fired electronically at the same time from the battery command post. Four or even two 3.7″ guns going off at once would have made a lot of noise, and a bright flash.

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Anyway as part of the Stoke Park improvement work (https://www.bristol.gov.uk/museums-parks-sports-culture/stoke-park-improvement-work-2018-to-2020) goats are now grazing the area around the gun battery (https://www.bristol.gov.uk/museums-parks-sports-culture/cattle-grazing). The goats are very friendly and have become a real attraction. However, it was rather difficult to get a photo of the troupe of goats with a telephoto lens!

DSCF8003Goldfinch feeding on the abundant seeds at the end of our walk.

Post script

 

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27th July 2019 – Eastville Park, Bristol

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Goosanders are not common in my local park but this last winter we saw a good number of them. Strangely today another one (a female) reappeared on the River Frome, the river which runs through the park. It behaved in a somewhat strange manner (a bit like you sometimes see from caged animals) and sort of paced up and down (swam in reality) in a short space on the river; it really looked very confused.

It was a strange afternoon as it was quite warm but very cloudy and quite gloomy in the park. But there are always beautiful things to see as, I hope, can be seen from the few photos I took.

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24th July 2019 – Severnside

 

 

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A very hot day was forecast and so I made the most of the coolness of the day by working in the garden very early on for a few hours and then down to the Severn Estuary at Pilning Wetlands to see the changes that are happening there and to benefit from the cool breezes. The tide was too high to see anything on the coast but just back a bit on the wetlands there were redshank, godwits and lots of black-headed gulls. However, the heat haze ruined any chance I had of decent photographs and so I contented myself with photos (closer up) of linnets, goldfinch, grey herons, a kestrel,  butterflies and other insects.

DSCF6886Linnet

DSCF7244Goldfinch

DSCF7199Kesterl

DSC03396Grey heron

DSCF7009Redshank and godwits if you have a sharp eye

DSCF7138A tractor disturbed the waders – behind the gulls are redshank and black-tailed godwits

The pools are filling up on the remodelled pools and so new arrivals can be expected soon.

DSC03297One of the remodelled pools

DSCF7192Redshank

DSCF7229Canada geese fly in front of The Prince of Wales bridge over the Severn Estuary

DSCF7303Collared dove

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DSCF6977Gatekeeper

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18th July 2019 – Potteric Carr NR

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Potteric Carr, on the edge of Doncaster, managed by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust  is one of the  largest urban nature reserves in the country. It is certainly extensive with the walk around the perimeter being just over 4 miles. We had a great day there but there was so much to see and so many hides to visit that we had to miss a great deal of the hides (but that was probably due to me spending too long in one hide trying to get a decent shot of common terns).

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As well as the ponds there were extensive woods and wildflower meadows and it was a great place to see damselflies, dragonflies, butterflies  and all sorts of bugs and insects and roe deer.

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The highlight for me was the common terns but you wouldn’t have thought so by the paucity of my photos.

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There was a very good visitors centre and café to begin and end your trip (you certainly couldn’t pop back to it for lunch if you were at the far end of the reserve – but we were wise enough to get them to prepare us some sandwiches). It’s definitely worth a diversion to visit this lovely reserve.

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17th July 2019 – out and about

I have been very distracted by the Cricket World Cup and dashing about the country in the last few weeks but nonetheless I have been able to have a few local walks and am now enjoying a few days in the Peak District where I have taken some nature photos.

It’s been more a time for insects  – butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies in particular.

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Photos taken in Stoke Park on 12th July

DSC00348Male four spot chaser in Stoke Park

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Photos taken in Eastville Park on 13th July

 

DSC01185Juvenile grey heron in Eastville Park

 

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Photos taken en route to the Peak District at stops at Gloucester Motorway Services and Calke Abbey in Derbyshire

DSC01809We had a lengthy stop at Gloucester Motorway Services even though it is less than 30 miles north of Bristol due to the great opportunity to photograph dragonflies

 

 

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Photos taken at Derwent and Ladybower Reservoirs in the Peak District

DSC08531Large skipper near Ladybower Reservoir

 

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6th July 2019 – Pembrokeshire, Wales

We were going to Pembrokeshire in Wales for a party to celebrate the wedding of some friends and made a short break of it. It wasn’t really an opportunity for nature photos but as I had a camera with me I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to take a few photos when we were out and about.

There was only one bird of note and that was a northern gannet which flew across the harbour at Tenby.

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However butterflies have reappeared (they seem to go quiet in June) and I managed photos of four different species in a field at the Bed & Breakfast where we were staying.

DSCF6400Meadow brown

DSCF6429Small tortoiseshell

DSCF6497Painted lady (rather washed out)

DSCF6530Green-veined white

Just think there are all those wonderful sea birds such as puffins, guillemots and razorbills on the island of Skomer, which is very near to here. We have visited Skomer before (see my blog page about Skomer) and I am sure new opportunities will present themselves in the future.

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