"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

A Futile Search in Parkhurst Forest and a Visit to Cowes

Day 5 - Wednesday, 22nd June

The weather this morning was cold and windy with showers at times but brighter and dryer in the afternoon.

The usual discussion first thing about where to go today. I again suggested Newtown (butterflies and birds) or Afton Marsh (water voles) whereas the others suggested Parkhurst Forest in the hope that they might get a red squirrel sighting too!! We went to Parkhurst!

Parkhurst Forest owned by the Forestry Commission consists of ancient woodland, relict heath and some plantation woodland. James I hunted deer in the forest but I have read that today there are no wild deer on the island. The deer I saw in a field on one of my recent walks around the local lanes must have been domesticated.

Going to the forest reminded me of another species I would stand a far better chance of seeing than at home and that was an adder. Sadly, adders are now thought to be extinct in Warwickshire.

We took the 2.5 mile long red squirrel trail through the forest even visiting a purpose built squirrel hide. I had put the 70 - 300 mm telephoto zoom lens on the camera this time just in case!

There were quite a few butterfly species on the wing - speckled wood, meadow brown, ringlet and I was really thrilled to see up to about half a dozen white admiral - the first time I have seen this species for years. Ringlet was also new for this year. I spotted a couple of fritillaries but they were too far away to be sure of the species. I know there are Pearl-bordered and Small pearl-bordered fritillaries in the forest but the ones I saw appeared more the size of Dark green or Silver-washed.

The only butterfly I managed to get a photo of was this Meadow Brown.

Unfortunately the wooden squirrel carving in the photo below was the closest today we got to a sighting.

After lunch we had a walk around Cowes

The paintings in these last two photos had been done by students at a local college.

In the evening we went for a meal at The Crown, Shorwell. Super pub with lovely grounds with a stream, pond and island and lots of ducks. The food was absolutely superb but the only downside was that we had to wait 55 minutes but I have to say it was defintely worth the wait as it was one of the best meals I have had in a pub.


Anonymous said...

Hi, just realized that I am on your blog list - thanks! What a coincidence that we should both blog about a Meadow Brown and a wood sculpture in our latest posts! Is your sculpture also by Paul Sivell - looks like his handiwork. Love the photo of the Meadow Brown!

Ragged Robin said...

Hi Omi - Thanks so much for your comment - what a coincidence indeed about our blogs' content. I am not sure who did the squirrel sculptures - have tried to find out without success. If I do find out I will let you know.

Gift to Nature (mentioned on your recent posting) were involved in building the squirrel hide in Parkhurst - they have done a lovely set of postcodes with walks with wildlife themes e.g. water voles in Sandown, lizards in Ventnor. I picked up a complete set whilst I was on the Island.

I love your blog - have been visiting it for quite a while! Your cartoons are superb!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the compliment, you've made my day! I'll have to look out for those postcards. I put Google to work this morning and discovered that Paul Sivell did indeed carve that gorgeous squirrel. Again, on Gift to Nature's website, I found the following: 'We have commissioned local artist Paul Sivell to construct a selection of unique chainsaw timber carvings. See the gallery for a picture of Paul carving the giant squirrel climbing a tree.' I found that here: http://www.gifttonature.org.uk/pages/visit/16-red-squirrel-hide-at-parkhurst-forest - nice website, only discovered it yesterday!

Ragged Robin said...

Hi again Omi - so glad my comment made you happy :D.

Thanks so much for providing the link to the Gift to Nature website - I can't wait to have a look - and for finding out that Paul Sivell did indeed do the carvings.

Sorry previous comment of mine should have referred to post cards (glad you spotted the mistake)!! not postcodes!. I was shattered after the day in London!

I did take a couple of other photos of his carvings in the forest - one of another squirrel and one of an acorn but sadly they were too blurred to post. The telephoto lens hasn't got image stabilization so its a matter of luck and how steady I hold the camera as to how photos turn out!!