Tuesday and we headed off to Tyntesfield House, a National Trust House near Bristol, spending the day enjoying the house and gardens. It was a beautiful sunny day but still with a strong wind which eased as the day went on. The house and grounds were lovely with a nice walled vegetable garden which had relatively little in it, we have more growing on our allotment at the moment!. Wildlife highlights were a huge hornet flying by and 2 fox cubs, one dragging a dead young rabbit across the grass to its den where a second one was seen before they both disappeared into the den which was in the wall of the HaHa.
Wednesday and we headed to Wells to have a look at the cathedral which was very interesting with its scissor arches. A trapped male blackbird flying around in the roof top trying to find a way out was a sad sight. I was accosted by a stern church warden who was not happy I was taking photos without a permit but I managed to get a quick photo of the famous arches.
|Wells cathedrals famous scissor arches|
We then headed to Glastonbury Tor, walking up to the Tor top where we had a great view including Wells. Some new age hippies chanting inside the ruined tower on top of the Tor spoilt the general atmosphere but it was a grand view. My first swifts of the year were seen flying up into the eaves of a house near to where we parked the car and a green woodpecker was seen briefly flying up into a tree yaffling away, the first I have actually seen this year, having heard but not seen them in numerous places.
We then headed to Shapwick Heath and Ham Wall RSPB nature reserve nearby and within a few minutes of arriving were watching hobbies flying over the extensive reed beds catching dragonflies in the sunshine. No more than 2 were seen at any one time but they were very mobile so it was difficult to assess numbers, they reminded me of inferior versions of the Eleanoras Falcons I saw in Essaouria in Morocco last September but were nevertheless beautiful to watch. Also seen were a male marsh harrier, a ruff (or rather reeve), a greenshank,black tailed godwits in summer plumage and a kingfisher. Best bird was an unfortunantly distant black tern in summer plumage swooping over the water with black headed gulls and a commic tern. Warbler song was everywhere - blackcap, willow warbler, chiffchaff and reed warbler. A brimstone butterfly was also seen. David was not overly excited about the place but it was very busy with lots of birders who would disagree and I thought it was a beautiful place, reminding me of my youth spent birdwatching at Minsmere RSPB reserve in Suffolk. To compensate for Davids boredom we then headed off to Clarks Village at nearby Strete for some retail therapy but it was quite disappointing and we came away having only bought some chocolate and tea and some bed linen.
|Mute Swan at Shapwick Heath|
Thursday and back in Plymouth with grey skies and rain so we headed off to the cinema to see "Thor", not my first choice but it was actually very good and I quite enjoyed it for all its polished, frothy nonsense.
So Part One of my week off work had been quite eventful so far!