Back to work

June 16th, 2010 , 17:40

Took the car back early this morning, so that’s the end of the holiday and we’re back to work. Photos to follow!

Frog Blog

English Safari (Joe’s version)

June 15th, 2010 , 21:38

So we got in to the land rover, and were basically told a window each. We would be driving out to areas that people are not allowed to go – not even staff. The land rover would be a mobile hide almost. So we would be shooting out the windows, but get out at some spots later on. Not a massive amount of bird life; the best pictures to follow on flickr, when processed, but a vast variety of things to see and photograph, birds of course, hares, toads, grass snakes, newts, insects, damselflies, and dragonflies, and flowers including orchids.

We went for about two hours then stopped and had tea, another two to three hours then lunch and a final hour after lunch. A very enjoyable day taking pictures, with plenty of variety, for long lens, macro and wide.

And finally, Slimbridge

June 15th, 2010 , 21:22

Up far too early, especially as I was up most of the night thinking ‘up early, must get a good night’s sleep’. Got everything ready and off to Slimbridge. Got there nearly half an hour early but better early than late! A few others turned up and finally a land rover pulled up, everyone jumped in and I took a nap in the car until the centre opened and I could go in.

I went to get a cup of tea and ran into the photography group having their tea! I was going to sit at a different table, but Joe said to join them. After tea we went our separate ways. Or so I thought. I headed out toward the kingfisher hide and when I get on that path, there’s Joe walking toward me! Told me there were no kingfishers, but there may be otters, so I carried on. And that was the last I saw him until the afternoon when the photography group was done!

On the way to the kingfisher hide there is a dragonfly pond. No dragonflies but there was a reed warbler nest and a couple of fledlings huddling nearby. Got to see the warbler mending the nest and lining it. Also saw a reed bunting and a couple of gold finches. Then headed on to the kingfisher hide. Sat there just watching what was going on. Then scanned the opposite bank and there was a little kingfisher. Just sitting on a branch. He even did a dive, grabbed somthing, beat it against his branch, then spat it out. A twig. Got to sit and watch him for a while before he flew off.

I walked over just about the entire area open and got into all the hides. Didn’t see loads of interest, but had a good time. Met up with Joe and, after dropping off our friend, we headed back to London. The traffic wasn’t too bad and we made good time back. Now to bed!

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Fountains

June 14th, 2010 , 19:44

Had a lovely dinner and more drinks then off to bed. Up in the morning and sorted to head to Ripon and Fountain Abbey. It was still grey and cloudy but mostly dry and we had a walk around Thirsk before heading out. Saw the market set up and had a wander.

Off toward Ripon and had a lovely drive. Got there as it opened so perfect timing – we about the second couple in! Walked down to the abbey, with Joe taking photos as we went. We spent a good two hours just around the abbey, didn’t get to see the gardens or the church or the rest of the site! So another place to return someday.

The ruins are very impressive, especially as there are ravens all over. Toward the end of our visit the school groups were coming in so we had three groups of little ‘monks’ walking around. Apparently they dress them up in robes for the tour!

At about noon we headed out to get to Cheltenham. We drove from Ripon to Pateley Bridge in the dales. We took the B roads through the dales and Grassington to Skipton and the A59 down to Preston and the M6. Then it was just M6 to M5 to Cheltenham with a quick stop at the services just south of Birmingham for a short break.

Now settled in, had a look through the photos and Joe is getting camera equipment ready for the photo day at Slimbridge tomorrow.

Still in Yorkshire

June 13th, 2010 , 21:12

So woke up and had breakfast. The Met Office had said that the day would be cloudy but dry (one of the reasons we came up here) so of course it was pouring with rain. Ho hum. So our idea of leaving the car at the hotel and walking around the town and up to the abbey went and instead we drove to the abbey. And looked at the walk through the rain and said ‘forget this’. We’ll come back to Whitby to see the abbey.

So we headed into the moors – down loads of teeny little one lane roads with two lane traffic. Didn’t have too many cars on the road luckily. We went along various little roads, ending up at  Glaisdale, where we saw some parking under the railway bridge. So we swerved into that and parked. Saw a little bridge that was marked 1609 but was probably built earlier. Lovely. We then took the path toward Egton Bridge, which ended up at a road and we decided not to walk along the road and turned back. We then drove through various little places to the Moors Visitors’ Centre in Danby. Had tea and scones and a look around the shop. Headed out to the bird hide but there was more activity behind the hide so we watched that and then carried on along the walk. It was starting to rain again so we got back in the car and decided to drive over the moors towards Rosedale – we’d seen the forest and farming bits and decided to try out the actual moors. Despite the rain it was quite pretty and we saw several standing stones and crosses. The road we wanted was marked as closed but we decided to try it anyway (Joe said it said ‘line painting’ and, as it is Sunday and pouring it down with rain, we figured no line painting was going on – we were right, and wrong).

So down this little road and there was another road closed sign next to a pull off. So we pulled off and sat for a bit watching the rain. Only to have a golden plover land in the heater and watch us. So we watched it. And Joe took photos. We got out as the rain slacked off and could hear loads of them around us. When the bird flew off we decided, as there was a large gap between the road closed signs, to carry on.

Went on a bit further and off to one side there was loads of movement – a bird attacking a lamb. Which was interesting so an emergency stop and Joe jumps out with camera and we watch. Turns out it was a lapwing chasing off a lamb that had probably just strayed too close to a nest. We watched the lapwings for a while and Joe probably got some excellent photos. Especially as he was getting them to try to get him to leave!

On a bit further and there was a family of grouse. Little babies scurrying around through the heather and more photos. Then a shadow of a bird, another lapwing but because we stopped we saw a hare. Which took off and disappeared as they do. Then an odd bird just sitting on a stump. Just as Joe got ready to take a photo it flew off. And another road closed sign but this one was small and by the side of the road so we carried on. Only to come up to a huge fence, large signs warning of corrosive salt, and no way to go but back the way we’d come.  However, that was the best bit of wildlife we saw all day and we figure as the road was closed things were coming closer to the road.

Since we couldn’t get to Rosedale we headed on out of the moors and along to Thirsk, James Herriott country, and on to Ripton. By this time it was pouring with rain so we headed back to Thirsk, more hotels, and are now  in the hotel bar relaxing.

Off to Slimbridge

June 12th, 2010 , 19:10

So, Joe is doing a photography day at Slimbridge on Tuesday so we had to hire a car. Since we were going to have a car we decided to take the weekend and have a look around. I thought somewhere near Slimbridge to be there for Tuesday and have a nice quiet time. We’ve ended up in Whitby tonight. If you have a map you will very quickly see that Whitby is no where near Slimbridge. How did this happen?

Well, we collected the hire car (found a place right down the road from where we live which is handy) and started out. Ended up on the M11 and decided that we hadn’t really seen the North Yorkshire Moors, so that’s where we headed. Mainly motorway and A roads up, stopping just outside Peterborough at an ‘American Diner’. Not that much US but fun. Then carried on up, though a town called Spital on the Street – with a sign saying ‘please drive carefully’ just under the name. Soon got onto the back roads and slowed down to gawp at stuff.

We decided to go over the Humber Bridge (it costs £2.70 which they don’t tell you until you’re at the toll booth – they do say it’s a toll bridge and give you chance to get off the road, but they don’t tell you how much!) We turned off before going over the bridge because I saw a ‘Humber Bridge viewing point’ sign. Went down little twisty turning roads until we found the parking for the site and got out and had a walk under the bridge. Joe took loads of photos. Then over the bridge and onward to Beverly. Our next stop was Flamborough Head where we saw the very old lighthouse and the more modern Victorian one. Walked down to the beach, where Joe took loads more photos. Also got to see a kestrel working along the cliffs. Lovely. Went through Scarborough and have marked that as a place to come back to. Drove through Whitby to Danby then back to Whitby. Found a very nice hotel (old tudor building but we’re in the Georgian annex) then went for a walk through the town. Had our obligatory seafood dinner and are now relaxing.

Frog Blog

To see orchids

June 6th, 2010 , 17:24

We have been trying to get out to Cheshunt, to see the orchids in the Lee Valley Park.

Lee Vallley Park Bench

The are several trails and boardwalks . We took the train to Cheshunt and walked to where we thought the start of the walk was – we got it wrong :). Where we whould have turned left we turned right, but had a lovely walk along the river before turning back into Lee Valley.

Met up with a friend  for lunch in Waltham Abbey. She joined us for the orchid hunt and we managed to see some, but only at a distance. They are protected by a boardwalk which only goes out so far. Most of the orchids are quite a ways from the boardwalk. Still lovely.

We also saw loads of other flowers & animals. Lots of birds, lots of plants, and lots of pollen. Too much pollen. But the orchids were pretty.

Colour of Flowers

Update

June 6th, 2010 , 14:55

Well, we haven’t been travelling so we haven’t been updating the blog. New house, less money to travel! So this year so far, instead of travelling, we have had our garden done with a large deck built out the back to make it easier to get in and out. And it’s lovely. So far we’ve had one large barbecue with friends, several for just us, and more planned.

Next, electrics!

Frog Blog