"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

Monday, 6 January 2014

A Vist to Marsh Lane and A Christmas Carol

I popped to Marsh Lane NR last Thursday afternoon for a few hours. It was cold and sunny and good to get out in the fresh air. The water levels in the pools were very high after all the rain we had had and the nearby River Blythe had burst its banks in several places.

I've noticed this tree by the car park several times on recent visits and took a photo this time as the colours of the branches are really rather lovely.

Two of the Mute Swans seem to escaped the usually attendant Black Swan - in fact I didn't see the latter at all on this visit.

The highlight of the visit was a group of Snipe seen from the car park hide - a new species for me at this reserve. My total list of bird species seen here since I started visiting last autumn now stands at 47 and last Thursday's visit got my year list off to a good start :)

A very poor record shot of the snipe - very heavily cropped (they were a long way away!!).

So far this year we've had 14 species of bird in the garden (I'm really pleased the Redwings are still visiting) and with the additional species seen at Marsh Lane the year list is up to 33 species (which is a good start for me!!!).

A Christmas Carol

On New Year's Eve we went to Birmingham Repertory Theatre to see "A Christmas Carol"

(Photo courtesy of the Birmingham Rep website)

It was a really excellent production and I thought they had done an exceptional job in creating a play that was suitable for all age groups. It was great to see so many children in the audience enjoying the play so much. The play was suitably spooky in parts and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come was particularly good being in the form of a rather frightening grim-reaper type skeletal bird which was expertly controlled by puppeteers.


Dartford Warbler said...

Lovely, serene photos. I expect the swans are not having such a peaceful time today!

We still have flocks of redwing on the wet fields. I hope they stay a while longer.

SeagullSuzie said...

Marsh Lane looks lovely in the sunshine and reflected in the water, making the swans stand out beautifully. Lovely to see Snipe. I am very jealous of your garden birds-for some reason we just don't have many and with the wind we don't see any at all.

Dean Stables said...

Nice set of photos, Caroline. Not had the opportunity to use my camera yet, this year.

PS : you`re creeping up on my year list :-)

Countryside Tales said...

Exciting to see the Snipe. I wonder what else you will add to your list this year.

Have to ask- have you heard the latest Owen Patterson bull**it? Apparently, its fine to bulldoze an ancient forest as long as you offset the damage by planting 100 new trees for every ancient one you destroy.
Stupidly, I had thought the clue to the importance of these places was in the name ("ancient forest"), but it seems I was wrong. Apparently, it's fine to cut down something that's taken 400 years to grow and replace it with something brand spanking new because all the wildlife that depends on it won't notice. :-( I'm fuming. What is that man doing in that job???? It's badgers all over again. I'm starting to feel he won't rest until he's utterly knackered our countryside (feeling very grumpy about it, sorry to rant but I suspect you'll understand my dismay).

Ragged Robin said...

Dartford Warbler - Many thanks :) I would imagine it was very choppy and blustery there today!!!

Good news on your Redwings - hopefully they'll be around for a while or as long as the berries last :)

SeagullSuzie - Thanks so much. I was pleased with the snipe sighting - they occasionally get Jack Snipe there too :) Wind and rain affects the amount of birds in my garden too - do you are always not have many or do you mean just at the moment? I would have thought it would have been a good location. Hope they return soon.

Dean Stables - Thanks so much Dean - last Thursday was the only time this year I've used my camera.

I don't think I'll match you by the end of the year re: number of species :) And I "cheated" a bit as I knew I would add loads on the nature reserve :)

Countryside Tales - Many thanks CT :) Hoping for some good butterflies :)

Oh yes the dreaded OP - I am absolutely hopping mad. I had several rants on twitter yesterday about bidodiversity offsetting and ancient woodlands and sent a tweet to DEFRA. The man is a real threat to our wildlife and countryside and totally clueless. Its not just badgers (horrendous as that is and believe me I still fume nearly 24 hours a day about that!!), and woods but bees, hares, marine conservation zones, buzzards. The list is endless and will continue to grow. Going back to the woods - I will email my MP about it although not sure what good it does as my last badger letter and emails have been ignored!! :(

There's been more media reports over weekend about the badger massacres costing around £4,100 to kill each badger!!! My Warks Badger Group only charge around £20 to vaccinate each badger including surveying and baiting!!!

Oh dear, I had better shut up because I could rant all night about it all.

To lighten the comment somewhat and before I explode in anger about SOS for the E/ment!!! I shall end on a note of frivolity :) I have a new tv boyfriend!!! :) The delectable Benedict Cumberbatch - swoon :)

Countryside Tales said...

I think you'll have to fight me for him, now that both Homeland and Peaky Blinders have finished. He's definitely the thinking woman's crumpet! x

Ragged Robin said...

Countryside Tales - lol :)!!! Such charisma :) Did you see him in Parade's End?

Wendy said...

It's lovely to see the birds at Marsh Lane and you are getting a terrific number of birds in your garden.
I agree with you and CT over the ancient woodland news. I just end up thinking now 'what next?'

Ragged Robin said...

Wendy Many thanks :) I so agree with your last sentence - it just doesn't bear thinking about :(

David Turner said...

A lovely start to the year and great pics with that wonderful golden winter light. The Christmas Carol play sounded excellent :-)

PS. As regards Owen Paterson and his most recent statement of idiocy all I can say is that I despair of this government and its attitude to the nature & wildlife of our country !!!

Ragged Robin said...

David Turner Thanks so much David - yes the play was excellent :)

I so agree with your postscript - sadly I just can't see an end to the idiotic statements and policies.

SeagullSuzie said...

Sadly I mean we just don't have many birds in the garden-which does upset me as I love to watch them. I also thought living so close to Berry Head and the SW Coastal Path that the garden would be bursting at the seams. I should not complain as we do have slow worms and wonderful butterflies and a fabulous variety of insects...but I miss my birds!
P.S. after still more website trouble I have installed Google Chrome and all my blog functions are now working perfectly-I think there were some big compatibility issues with Internet Explorer 11

Lou Mary said...

Lovely Marsh Lane photos! Swans are so photogenic!

In total agreement with you and CT and David - We urgently need to get rid of OP before he rids of us all our favourite things. Our countryside is doomed while he is environment secretary.

Em Parkinson said...

So envious of your Snipe picture! I've been trying to get one for five years now but always fail as they flutter off shouting at me for disturbing them. Such particular looking birds.I love the fiery tree too. There's one in Chagford like that and I always forget to take the camera to capture it. Very exciting to have Redwings in the garden too!

Ragged Robin said...

SeagullSuzie That is such a shame about the birds - if I'd have moved there I would have expected many species too! Perhaps there is just plenty of natural food available for them?

You are very lucky with slow-worms - I have never seen one here. Although I think with the amount of high fencing that has gone up we shall never get them. Sadly, hedgehogs have disappeared too - we used to have loads even youngsters which came for food. Even though we have put in hedgehog gaps in fence its no good if others fail too :( Am so glad you do so well with butterflies etc. though :)

I switched to Google Chrome about a year or more ago due to problems with blogger and IE. Chrome is much faster too :) I'm so glad you solved the problems :)

Lou Mary - Thanks so much. Swans are good for photos as they are so big they tend to fill the frame even if they are some way away :)

I just keep hoping Cameron will finally realise what a vote loser OP is and get rid of him. Zac Goldsmith might be a good replacement :)

Em Parkinson - Thanks so much. To be honest the photo was that dreadful especially when so heavily cropped that I nearly didn't post it!!! but I was a bit lacking in photos as most birds are just too far away or too small!!

I'll try and id the tree when it has leaves - do you think its a willow or sallow?? The tree looks as though its lit up by the red of a sunset but in actual fact the branches are that red!

Countryside Tales said...

Zac Goldsmith has a huge house near here. I wonder with OP how much he is just messenger boy/ fall guy for Cameron et al? Depressing thought, but we fight on!

I did see BC in Parade's End- wasn't he fantastic? Perhaps we should start a fan club! Although I hear his female fans call themselves (apologies for this) Cumberbitches. Can't see you or I doing that somehow! :-)

Ragged Robin said...

Countryside Tales TBH I don't think OP understands science in the slightest or perhaps he does and just twists to suit his purpose. Whichever is the case its horrendous. I am quite sure the decision re: badger slaughter roll-outs was made months if not years ago regardless of pilot results :( I just hope DC will realise what a vote loser OP's policies are and ditch him. OP has a "history" re: badgers asking zillions of parliamentary questions before they came to power. But as you say the fight will continue.

I'm reading an excellent book called The Fate of the Badger by Richard Meyer. It was written in 1986 but its as relevant today as when it was written.

The bit about the horrendous gassing that went on is particularly interesting - it appears Tories have learnt nothing from past mistakes :(

Oh yes, really enjoyed Parade's End :) I bought the book but haven't yet read I have a huge pile of books to read!! Yes, I'd heard that name for his fans :( I shan't be using it either!!!!

Chris Rohrer said...

Hello there:) Swans are such amazing birds....but snipes are also very cool:)I love all the variations of this bird. Hope you're having a fun year so far. I'm a coffee drinker and lately I've been into tea. And everytime I order a dessert with a tea, I think of your fun times around castles, pubs and your visits to gardens. You make me realize that any outing should be followed with a little treat:)

Ragged Robin said...

Chris Rohrer - Hi Chris. Thanks so much :) Quiet year so far - not had chance to get out much but am watching garden wildlife and have set myself a new challenge - more in a later post :)

So glad I have inspired you to treat yourself to something nice to eat :) That's lovely :) My daughter is the coffee drinker here - she has introduced me to a rather yummy gingerbread latte :)

Chris Rohrer said...

Gingerbread latte.....yuuuum:)

Ragged Robin said...

Chris Rohrer - I can never resist anything with ginger in it - my favourite :)