Monday, 23 June 2014

Fox On Beach!

Yesterday we did the usual walk down the old railway track by the estuary. It was pleasantly peaceful for a Sunday. Perhaps it was too hot for walkers or cyclists, or maybe they were all down the beach?

The resident pair of swans displayed this year's brood.

I'm so glad they have more than one offspring this year. We witnessed the adult male violently attacking their sole offspring early this spring, then chasing it right down the estuary towards the sea. The poor thing had never had to fly anywhere before, and had never left the sheltered and safe place by the bridge, where they get regularly fed by visitors. I felt so sad for it, all alone. At least when the time comes, these will have each other. I don't understand how the large groups of swans I've seen elsewhere ever come about when they are as territorial as this pair!

We also saw several white admiral butterflies. We have only ever seen them along this track as it goes through the woodlands.

I celebrated the longest day with a bike ride, and finished up stopping by my landlady's fields to attempt a photo of the barn owls hunting at dusk. They didn't waste time catching large prey, rabbits I think, and taking them back to the derelict holiday camp where their nest is.
Not very good photos, though. The best one had the campsite and the electric fence in the shot. I will have to try again.

I've had to change my day off this week, to Monday, so we went to Steephill Cove.It was badly damaged in the winter storms, but now restored to normal, with the exception of the sand, which was completely swept away and replaced by fine gravel.

There was a small fox on the beach! He was so close to the sunbathers, I thought he might be someone's pet at first, but he wandered about looking for food. Everyone seemed to ignore him. Of course, I worried about him being thirsty and was he able to get off the beach, but the staff at the Beach Shack cafe assured me he had been coming down to the beach all week, so therefore
a) he knew how to get off
b) he was not, therefore, dying of thirst and
c) he did not need me to approach him with a bowl of water and a locally-caught crab sandwich thank you very much.

So I just took photos.

Steephill Cove. We had a lovely coffee each on the beach, followed by ice cream as we went back to civilisation. (There is no road access to the cove. If you want to get there, you have to walk up and down some serious hills)

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Barton Manor Flower Festival

A few weeks ago a poster arrived at the library advertising a flower festival at Barton Manor. I have been there once before, nearly 20 years ago when I was studying BSc. Ecology at Uni. I was doing a study comparing orchid growth on the Isle of Wight compared to the Scottish island of Rhum.
Someone told me to go to Barton Manor, where there was a host of wild orchids on the far side of the fish lake. My sister and her then baby went with me then, and I remember it being a blissful place, so peaceful and quiet. The Manor had not been open long to the public, and it was only the grounds you could go round. There was a small coffee shop as well.
The Manor was owned by the manager of Abba. Stieg someone or other, and it was inhabited so not open to the public.

So when I saw the poster I fore-warned himself that we were going, even though it is quite a trek to the other side of the Island.

I found some orchids in the same place by the lake.

This was a new addition. Not to my liking, though.

There were some huge trees

Beautiful far side of the lake. Just as I remembered.

The grounds were lovely, but this was supposed to be a flower festival!

There were stalls, some with crafts, a few with food but mostly brand new bought in products. I counted no fewer than five stalls selling the same sort of patterned, plastic shoulder bags and purses.

The walled gardens were closed, and someone told us they were in the process of being covered with huge solar panels.

There were two plant stalls selling the usual assortment. Nothing special. In fact, I can get more variety from my local village store!

The coffee shop was larger than before, but only sold pre-packed sandwiches and cups of tea, coffee and cakes. Not even a mug!

The advertised BBQ was a charity heating up burgers on a hot plate, not very tasty and the bread was dry as it was left in the sun.

My summer outings are few and far between so this was a disappointment. Highlight of the day was the walk round the lake, which is always open to the public without the crowds of people walking round searching for the flowers!

Saturday, 7 June 2014


It was sunny when I got up. So much for the great storm, I thought. But across the sea I could see a band of black cloud, and when it came over me later on the way to work, it looked like this.

Thunder and lightening followed, but a couple of hours later it was all over and the sun came out.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014


 I grew this aquilegia from seed. It's my favourite. The flowers don't all come and go at once so it seems to last longer than the others.

We had a nest of sparrows in the eves. The chicks made so much noise, it was like Baby Birds 'R' Us!  Then they fledged, and now follow the parents to the fat balls, noisily queuing with baby great tits to get fed.

 Rolly used to love this patch, but he hasn't been on it for a few years until this Monday. It was hot and I had just strimmed the grass. He lay down in the sun and went to sleep, just like he did years ago only now he is looking his age. His coat isn't great and he will never be a fat, roly-poly boy again.

Apparently the water in my half-barrel pond tastes so good I keep a saucer topped up for the cats, but Smudge decided he wanted it straight from the source.