Sunday, 24 April 2016

A Circular Walk from Marcilly

We have just enjoyed a walk with friends, Paul and Mary, setting off from Marcilly sur Vienne. We adapted the walk slightly but it was well signposted and had some magnificent views and plenty of interest along the way.

The PDF of the walk can be found at the following link:

The first section was uphill, though it was a gentle enough climb and in no time the views made it all worthwhile.


Spring flowers were out in abundance. As well as violets, bluebells, white and red dead nettle and cowslips a plenty....
Bladder Campion
Wood Spurge
Orange Tip on Purple Gromwell

Then through both beautiful woodland paths and open countryside,

And down to the Vienne..

Across the river, the site of the old chateau...

Common Storksbill
An over hanging branch of willow has put out new growth...
Ground Ivy 

Orange Tip on Dandelion
 And then the best of all...Lady Orchids...

Any help with the IDs will be gratefully received. Suffice it to say it's a walk we would recommend and will certainly be doing again!

ps. Thanks to Susan for help with the identifications. (Post now edited, thanks Susan)

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Another new garden visitor

This morning we saw this bird in our garden for the first time...

It is a Ring Ouzel (Turdus Torquatus) it is closely related to the common blackbird, The name Ouzel is the name for the common blackbird in Old English.

To learn more about this bird see HERE and HERE,

We look forward to seeing it again.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Spring happenings around our garden.

This morning Elizabeth photographed the greater spotted woodpecker again (See here) however this time it was the female... No red on head. We look forward to babies perhaps...

I also spotted a pair of Bramblings. I thought, like the Siskins, they had all moved on as we have seen neither since our return to France last week. More babies perhaps...

Elizabeth, despite recovering from Flu, reported chasing an Orange tip butterfly around the garden but failing to get a photograph. I succeeded as it was sheltering from the wind on our first Honesty flower...

Finally in the early hours we captured a Fox in the garden for the first time... 

We will see if we can tempt it a bit nearer the camera tonight...

Spring must be on its way!

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Forest of Bowland

Whilst in England recently we did our favourite walk near Stocks Reservoir in the beautiful Forest of Bowland.

The wild moorland and isolated farms of the upland area at the head of the river Hodder, contrast with the mixed woodland, managed by the Forestry Commission, which makes up most of the walk.

Despite the rugged nature of the landscape there are always pockets of interest and we found so many sights to remind us that spring is here.

A few photos from the walk... from the top... coltsfoot; frog; frogspawn;larch rose; lesser celandine; primrose and finally primrose with wild strawberry.....


If you want to see a plethora of primroses, see Susan's blog here.

Now that is a sight to see!

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Long time no see...

The greater spotted woodpecker has been conspicuous by his absence these last few months but today he was in the garden making his way from trunk to trunk..

Also back was the cuckoo; heard but not seen!

Last year we heard the first cuckoo on March 18th and the two previous years it was 24th March so it may have been here whilst we've been away.

A lovely sound to remind us that despite the weather, it is Spring!

Friday, 11 March 2016

Tasmanian Odyssey Part Three

As Susan and Simon know only too well, we could bore for England on the subject of our recent holiday in Tasmania. But I make no apologies for that.

We loved it; it's a wonderful country and our relatives are just the most lovely people you could hope to meet..

So here's another selection of photos following on from Tasmanian Odyssey Part Two

We spent one of our days at the Western Wilderness harbour town of Strahan, cruising up the Gordon river and visiting Sarah Island. It was here where the most hardened of the convicts were sent, their main employment being felling timber (Huon Pine) and shipbuilding.

The story of Sarah island is both harrowing and inspiring and for those interested, one of the best sources of information is from the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service webpages. See here.

At the end of the cruise we visited a sawmill where Huon Pine is worked. Huon Pine is a very dense wood with tightly packed growth rings and a distinctive scent. It is valuable for its longevity and for the fact that it is impervious to water, therefore extremely useful in shipbuilding. To read more, see here.

Enjoy the photos!

The court house on Sarah Island... in later days this was used to house convicts as an incentive to cooperate with those in command..

A few of the remaining log wharves which are exposed at low tide..

Within the Rainforests of the Gordon River, deep within the Tasmanian World Heritage Area, are 8000 hectares of Huon Pine. This cross section of a trunk shows the growth rings so closely packed..

A view up the Gordon River..

Vegetation on Sarah Island..

The sawmill working the Huon Pine..
For a little light relief at the end of a day with stories of convicts, cruelty and hard labour, we drove west to Ocean Beach, a vast beach backed by spectacular sand dunes...

The strata within the sand is clearly seen here...

A trigger plant, which, I am reliably informed by Susan, traps any visiting insects with a flick of the 'trigger' on the back of the flower, until the insect is covered in pollen, at which point the plant uses the trigger to flick the insect out and on its way to pollinate another plant. Very clever!

The sand dunes - we had great fun running down them (not quite so much fun climbing up, though)

The vast stretch of beach with nobody to spoil the view...

As I said earlier, just wonderful!