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Sunday, April 30, 2006

Ode to a Nightingale

Why is it others get stunning views of Nightingales whilst I have to settle for them diving for cover? I'm rubbish? probably! Nightingales were singing there hearts out though! Still had a nice stroll around the bushes at Paxton Pits in the late April sun. Willow Warblers and Common Whitethroat singing there hearts out, every possible Garden Warbler was a Blackcap - hey ho.

On to Ouse Washes. Mistake ! the sun shines in your eyes in the morning. Welney morning then Ouse Washes Duxon!! Still Sedge Warbler everywhere, two common terns and I picked out a Greenshank amongst the Reds. Couldn't find the Green Winged Teal - but there were lots and the glare made it hard.

Anyway met up with Mr Deboo at welney. We birded the main hide before lunch, Avocets, Common Tern, loads of ducks, Litte Ringed and Ringed Plover, Redshank, some Black Tailed Godwit and Ruffs. Two stunning Yellow Wagtails.

The new visitors centre is open and is more Barnes food wise. To be honest I'm not sure what the visitors centre gives you. ok new interactive display downstairs but there are no more books or other stuff than the old one. The restaurant is more upmarket i had roast chicken. No more jacket spuds. I suppose it may have educational uses I didn't really see and perhaps it will pull in the punters.

The reserve is unchanged - and is brilliant. Dave picked out a hobby on our way to Friends hide and we had Marsh Harrier, Sprawk, Kestrel. Little Egrets, Dunlins, loads of Black Tailed Godwit (some must have been Islandica race -as they were more colourful). Also had Garganey, Reed Warbler and Meadow Pipit. There were also some pintail about - late aren't they? oh and Little Egret and swift overhead. Dave was convicned there were Arctic Terns out back but we'll have to call them Comics.

Nice day!

Saturday, April 29, 2006


well i'm back.... obviously.

folks were up and about so off we came.

i've updated blog and mowed grass.

Friday 28th April

Wake up early. Walk? Pulls duvet up and thinks better of it!! I did finish the Man Who Smiled by Henning Mankell.

Stopped off at Stow-on-the-Wold and Moreton-in-the-Marsh.



From the number of cars you can tell they are both popular. Both though have shops of real life. Moreton feels like a proper small town. Then on to ....

Chastleton. It has been in the care of the National Trust since 1991 and was owned by the same family since being built. Looks like they did little to it. Interesting though.

The House and church through the trees.

The House!

Some wild flowers in the garden. Think the first is Snakesehad Fritillary. There was an article about that in the paper the day before.

Stopped off at the very pretty village of Lower Slaughter, best kept village 2005, double yellow lines everywhere. Hotels very pricey. Fillet Steak burger and chips £18 where's Dave?

Evening stroll through up lots of Blackcap and a Goldcrest to finish on 63. Not bad for strolls around the village and National Trust Gardens.

Thursday 27th April

Drag myself out of bed for my eary morning walk. Not much to report. Really is nice to keep seeing Yellowhammer.

Start off by going to Bibury. Its a lovely village with a river running through it and unlike Bourton doessn't have lots of tourist tat. It does have a trout farm. You can pay to enter and feed the fish, oh yeah righ!! There are trout in the river!!

My dad. 76 going on 7. The Mallards race the trout and often lose!!

As you can see its very pretty. It gets lots of tourists in Summer. The cottages seen and the land in front of them is owned by the National Trust.

Bibury Church.

Mum and Dad and two friends read the paper.

A brief stop at Lechalde.

Before heading on to Buscot Park. It has two lakes.

The small lake had this nesting beauty.

The house contains many fine things. The Burne-Jones room is superb.

The water gardens.

The big lake had Arctic Tern, Ruddy Duck and Common Sandpiper.

The evening walk had stunning views of a Buzzard.

Wednesday 26th April

Wake up to brilliant Sunshine. Wahay!! Usual morning constitutional. First fox of the holiday.

Anyway off to Chippenham and my final target church I had already established was open Wednesday mornings. Nice Tea and Cake as well.

Memorial window by Christoper Whall.

On to Lacock and dinner in the Red Lion. Lacock village is owned by the National Trust and has been the backdrop to Pride and Prejudice amongst others.

Lacock Abbey, Where Fox-Talbot pioneered photography. There is a nice exhibit of old cameras. Although going-back-to-film-birder will regard them as modern.

Mum and Dad in the gardens.

The Cloisters

as featured in ..........

Lots of birds in the gardens. Including Treecreeper and Nuthatch.

Ran into some nice birds on my evening walk. Yellowhammer, Green and Great Spotted Woody, Bullfinch, Marsh Tit, Treecreeper and a Little Owl (sitting on a farm building with some feral pigeons!).

Tuesday 25th April

Well another pleasant pre-breakfast stroll. Green Woodies, Kestrel, Yellowhammer, Buzzard and Linnets the highlights.

First stop Malmesbury, an historic small town in Wiltshire. Out of interest where do people shop aroudn here? Most places are incredibly pricey as is the property.

As can be seen the Abbey church has been badly used over the years. It is still, however, a powerful building.

The porch is excellent with some wonderful old carvings.

On to Great Chalfield Manor, a very fine small 15th century moated manor house. Interesting guided tour.

The adjacent church becomes 580!

Pretty small garden.

The National Trust also owns the nearby Courts Garden.

Unfortunately it had started raining (the last of the week!!)

Pretty garden though, blackbirds everywhere.

The House not open to the public.

Well you couldn't sit so off to
Bradford on Avon.

Holy Trinity locked on my previous vist becomes 581!!

Saxon St Lawrence has already been ticked.

Got home to bright blue skies and it hadn't rained all day! Long evening stroll in the sun. I've seen more Marsh Tits than I have Warblers so far!!

Monday 24th April

Nice early morning stroll. I was aware that there were lots of Green Woodies about and saw 5 today including the odd dispute. Also saw a pair of Kestrels sitting together.

First stop Cirencester.

The church can claim to be the finest parish church in the Cotswolds. Only Tewksbury Abbey and Gloucester Cathedral are its betters. The porch is particularly fine.

Onto Dyrham Park, the House is particulary impressive with lots of Delft porcelain but its a bit dark. Although the tulips in every room are a nice touch.

The parish church (already ticked) from the gardens. The gardens were attractive and through up a Grey Wagtail.

On the way back I attempted to enter Ampney Crucis church and this time success so no. 579!

Good stroll with Buzzards, the Kestrels again in the tree and five tit species. Finding Marsh Tit is always nice.

Sunday 23rd April

Wake up early, prepare to go birding! ah its raining! Make tea go back to bed and read, finished book.

So where to? Off to Bourton-on-the-Water

Picturesque place with the river running through it.

Picturesque it may be but it gets packed in Summer (lots of tourist shops). but on a dull Sunday in April its pleasant.

I always think of Broadway as being "upmarket Cotswolds tourist"

Ye olde shoppe, ye expensive!

Still Broadway seems to be suffering as a view shops have closed.

Just as we had lunch it rained - good timing really. On to Snowshill Manor. Now owned by the National Trust it is a small manor house which Charles Paget Wade used to hold his massive collection.

Samurai suits of armour? bikes? its here. Paget lived in an out building and was a true English eccentric.

Snowshill Village - very picturesque.

The evening strol throuh up three raptors, Buzzards, Kestrels and a very nice Red Kite.

Saturday 22nd April

Well here we go!! Cloudy start. Went to Burford first. The car park is next to the River Windrush and as you can see the local Mallards arent' daft they know where the food is!

Went for a stroll around the village.

Burford has one of the finest churches in the country.

The Tanfield tomb.

Went off to find where we were staying

And yours truly finally found Chedworth church - no 577!!

Then on to Lodge Park which was build as a bandstand to watch Deer Coursing!!

Lodge Park

The view. There were a few Buzzards about lots of woodland birds but no warblers.

Then back to move into Cottage for the week.

After dinner I went for a stroll. Lots of common woodland birds and found a singing Yellowhammer.

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