Saturday, 4 March 2017

Two firsts for the year at Cranford Park

When Storm Doris hit last week I was in north Wales so today was the first chance I had to see what damage it had done to Cranford Woods.
It wasn't as bad as I had feared although a few trees are down, and several lost branches......
 



 
The bluebells are starting to really come up now....
 
 
It's looking to be another really good year for them.
 
Other wild flowers are emerging too, like the lovely Sweet Violet....

 
and the Anemone....

 
and still more Snowdrops are showing in the church yard.....

 
I found my first Ladybird of the year on one of them. A fresh looking 7-spot.....
 
 
and in the Headland area I found my first butterfly of the year, a rather worn looking Red Admiral...

 
Something else I saw today which really pleased me, were the signs that finally the Information Centre is being refurbished after the arson attack nearly three years ago......
 
 
In the Memorial Garden (the grassy area between the back of the church yard and the river) several brand new bird nest boxes have been put up......
 
 
It's the first time I've seen them in this area, and I'll be interested to see if they are occupied this season.
 
As always there were plenty of Parakeets to be seen today, including this one who looked down on me in disdain....

 
The air was full of bird song, with Robins probably being the most heard and the loudest. At this time of year the birds are calling territorially or to attract a mate......

 
Long-tailed Tits are also pairing up now after spending the winter months flying around in family groups. In the Memorial Garden copse there were a pair flitting around together pecking at the branches.....


 
The flowering crocus were still attracting the Honeybees......
 
 
and all three wild hives were still active today.
 
The previous days rain meant the ground was still very soft and it was easy to pick out Muntjac deer tracks in the mud......

 
and lastly, but by no means least, I spent a good few minutes watching our Martyn playing with Maureen's dog Perry........
 
 
 






 
 
 
 

 
 

Friday, 24 February 2017

Grey Seals, Bullfinches, Fulmars and Stonechats - my first visit to Angel Bay in north Wales

I'm currently visiting my family in north Wales and as we didn't manage to get out yesterday thanks to Storm Doris, today we went to a beautiful place called Angel Bay at the Little Orme, which is also on the Wales Coastal Path.
 
There were some beautiful views.......
 

 
We were incredibly lucky with the weather and we all enjoyed the fresh air....
 



 
The inlet that is Angel Bay is a base for Grey Seals. We were very lucky to find several females with their growing pups. These pups would have been born at the end of last year. The mothers only feed the pups for the first three weeks of their life, and after that the youngsters fend for themselves but still come ashore to doze with the mother, who by this time are probably already pregnant again.
 














 
I was also lucky enough to spot my 'bogey' bird - the Bullfinch ! I rarely see one where I live, and when I have seen them, I can never get a decent photo. So I was pretty chuffed to spot a stunning male in the scrub today. Not so chuffed with the only few pictures I managed to grab, but that's nothing new.......
 




 
The tall cliffs of the Little Orme are home to many seabirds and the most prolific that we could see today were the Fulmars.
If weather conditions are good these birds will start nesting as early as January.
Today we spotted several birds on cliff ledges.
 





My cousin Dave managed to walk to the top of the cliffs and grabbed a phone photo.....obviously taking great care not to disturb the birds....and I got to practise taking photos of flying birds.......
 

photo by Dave Marks




 
Obviously with all the scrub there were plenty of Stonechats to observe topping on their favoured perches.
 





 
All in all it was a great day out.
Even young Jack enjoyed seeing the seals and posing for photos
 
 
Beautiful place to visit and one that I would definitely visit again.