Saturday, 31 March 2012

Snakes and birds

LOTS of lovely birds on the Somerset Levels today - marsh harriers, black-tailed godwits, 3 ruffs, dozens of sand martins, booming bitterns, squealing water-rails, as well as singing chiff-chaffs, a reed (or sedge?) warbler and blackcaps, plus - as a special bonus - several prancing grebes.  

But the stellar bird stars of the day were the two long-billed dowitchers.  This brings Steve's year count to around 109-ish...and these were lifers for both of us.

Here are the grebes - at the limit of my camera...

As spring is here we thought that it might be worth hunting out the snakes - and we were not disappointed.  This smallish male adder was curled up on a heap of dried grass; a reddish coloured female was also curled up on the ground near by, in a location favoured by the female.


Cool weather- cool day.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Savill Garden

THE amazing weather that we had last weekend provided a wonderful opportunity to capture Savill Garden at its spring best - this is an outstanding collection.  Whilst not "wildlife", I wanted to share some of the images from the day.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Our Sunday sortie

SUNDAY was a beautiful day and so we made the most of it by doing a quarter-marathon circular walk near Compton Dando (look it up!) - this was to avoid the "Bath Half" traffic.

With the bright, warming sunshine, came the first Brimstone butterfly of the year.  It was moving much to fast for me to catch it up, but there were some more sedentary, yellow beauties that were happy to have their photos taken:

The primroses were only just starting to appear - these ones were nestled at the foot of a leafless hedge, which provided just enough shelter and warmth to encourage them to burst into flower.

Lesser celandine
We ate our lunch sitting on a log in a small woodland.  It was great to see that the bluebells and dog's mercury pushing up through the leaf litter, creating a green carpet over the woodland floor.  Where the ground was wet, ramsons appeared in such profusion that there is barely any soil visible between their fleshy leaves. 

The greening woodland floor
Along the way we came across a length of hedgerow that had been recently laid.  This is the traditional way of managing the hedge to encourage thick, bushy growth which can act as a barrier to livestock.

The final stretch of the walk was the only place where it was truly muddy; this was a consequence of the stream that took the shortest route down hill along the path and the fact that it was used by a gaggle of 4x4s, which arrived just after we reached the road beyond!

Anyway - a great day out in the spring sunshine.