Sunday, 19 October 2014

More Wonderful Somerset Orchards

THERE are lots of wonderful orchards in beautiful Somerset.  We chose one our favorite areas today: around Lambrook to go for a walk (apologies to those who tried this link before as it did not work - Doh!).


A number of the orchards are now empty of apples (obviously harvested), but in most you could not easily walk due to apples lying everywhere over the ground; the trees were also burgeoning full of hanging fruit.


There were a number of fungi, butterflies and clumps of mistletoe to add variety.
















Our walk was a circular one and included horse paddocks, cultivated fields, hedgerows and hills. Along the way we found this rather nice fresh print - looks like a badger to me:


There was one field with some very serious fairy rings - with these field mushrooms:


We are planning to go back in spring...

Saturday, 18 October 2014

The bounty of an apple orchard

THEY are certainly not wild, but old orchards are important places through out the year for lots of wildlife, and like so many habitats they are becoming more and more scarce.

Last week we visited RHS Wisley - about as artificial, man-made environment as you can get, but yet one quite sympathetic to the nature.  As a garden it is spectacular, and has a host of different things to see, including an orchard with a huge variety of apples - and hence is important just for that reason.


Using my old-ish iphone (other smartphones are available) I took a few pictures on what was a rather dull day.  It was tempting to take a few apples too, but that would not have done, so we resisted.

The apples are sold in the shop, sent to the restaurant and some left for the wildlife - i.e. thrushes, mammals etc.

On another note, earlier on we witnessed an amazing sight - a mouse running along with a weasel attached to the end of its tail, right at our feet.  It was a contest that was only going to end one way.  Despite the mouse's best efforts to escape by clawing at the footpath in front of us, the weasel twisted round it like a snake in a sudden violent attack and bit its prey.  There was a squeal and both disappeared into the flower bed.  Quite shocking, amazing and exciting all at the same time - no camera at hand though unfortunately.  Mouse for tea!





 



Tomorrow we are hoping to visit some Somerset orchards, so watch this space.  Makes you want to eat one right now doesn't it?

Friday, 10 October 2014

Glorious morning

THERE are a few mornings each year when the conditions are perfect for landscape shots - the sun is bright and low, the mist sits on the fields and the scene unfolds before you.  This was such a morning, but of course I did not have a camera and was in such a rush that I could only take an image directly into the sun as there was no time to stop and walk to find a better position.  However I did get my iphone out and this is was the rather grainy output:


Can you spot the obliging cows?