Sunday, 10 November 2013

Visiting an Old Place and Exploring a New One

Last Sunday we made a short trip to Stodmarsh. We would have had more time there but Bracken held us up, having completely covered himself in some vile smelling poo whilst out walking. Nevertheless we still had a nice stroll. We came across this squirrel who was either dosing with his eyes open, or just staying really still, in the hope we didn't notice him. There was a little robin who was singing his heart out and also lots of LTTs who were flitting from tree to tree.





 The sun was becoming lower in the sky and it lit the teasels and the reeds beautifully. On this side of the lake were one hundred or more shoveler. In a couple of trees on the other side, 20+ cormorants settled down in their roost. Several marsh harriers and a kestrel were also seen as the light faded.



We made our way home before the light disappeared completely and took Bracken for another walk.

Last week was consumed by volunteering, working at the pub and taking a drive to an area of land which my dad and I visited back in the summer. The land belongs to one of his friends and consists of grassland, which is very overgrown, and an area of woodland. Lots of humongous oak trees, hazels, ash and silver birch make up the wood and we also found quite a few different types of fungi. Running along the bottom of this wood is a stream which was flowing full and fast after the heavy rain on Monday night. A bit of work is needed in order to allow this land to reach it's full potential with regards to attracting wildlife and making it a great habitat.  


Yesterday was extremely wet and with water running off the fields as mini waterfalls, the roads became rivers. Luckily we got out for a dog walk before the heavens opened and in the evening I got out before they opened again. We really are quite efficient at rain dodging!

Today we used our new and up to date OS map and went for a lovely long walk with Bracken somewhere we hadn't been before. We found a nice path that took us on a circular route which followed the Wantsum Walk and we photocopied the St Nicholas at Wade and Birchington area to save taking the whole map. We got coated and booted and set off with Bracken, our bins and my camera. We found a handy lay-by to park in then set off. Still plenty of sloes, rose-hips and hawthorn berries, just begging for a waxwing (or a couple of hundred!) to come along and scoff them! 


We came to the sea wall and in a field adjacent was a large flock of about 50 brent geese! 


We headed down onto the beach and let Brack off the lead. There were lots of other people with dogs off leads, so we hoped pup wouldn't head after them. He played with a couple of other collies but returned to us when we called him away (the promise of a delicious treat was too much to ignore!). I attempted some action shots and was quite pleased with the results. Below are a number of shots of Bracken in various hurtling around poses!



Handstand?!


Pretending to be a horse?

We also had a fly past of 29 brents.




....and a few gulls


More silly Bracken action shots, another gull and a view of Reculver Towers.




Reculver Towers in the distance

All paws off the ground!

It turns out we were exploring Minnis Bay, which my mum and dad often brought me to when I was younger. 

Razor clam and crab leg

We made our way back up onto the promenade and tried to find the footpath which we should have taken earlier on in order to carry on our circular route. It took us across arable farmland and eventually to a farm. We were unsure which path was the right one, but after consulting our photocopied map decided it was. Next time we decide to explore a new place I think I shall do the photocopying because mum did a pretty crap job of it - cutting part of our planned route off! As we carried on our way a late red admiral fluttered past and we also encountered a number of common darters. A buzzard called over head and a flock of chaffinches twittered in the hedgerow. A marsh harrier flew over, as did a kestrel. We came to a point where we could see the car with our binoculars and in the immediate foreground a flock of circa 20 pied wagtails bobbed and tail flicked around.

Red admiral

Common darters and fly friends basking on the footpath post

Common darter

We followed the path and eventually came to the point which we hoped to end up at. Just a short walk back along the small lane we had a brief glimpse of a GSW and soon arrived back at the car. After a delightful 5 mile wander we piled in, finished off our flasks of coffee and made our way home.

Another view of the towers from the car

Once home, we unloaded the pup, bag, bins and camera, made ourselves another coffee (with a glug or two of baileys) and headed into the garden. Mum took the washing off the line, I filled the birdie feeders and took these last two photos. The gorgeous autumn leaves rustled and 3 laughing fieldfares flew over. A small flock of starlings settled down for the evening on an aerial.



After becoming quite chilled by the rapidly decreasing temperature, we returned indoors and I settled down to write this on the couch with Bracken sleeping by my side and acting as a much appreciated hot water bottle. I'm now sitting content after a delicious roast dinner and sipping my G&T. We will probably now finish off that wine we opened on Friday night! It is the weekend after all.

Anyway thank you for reading, I hope you have all had an equally lovely weekend. Although, on this wonderful bright autumnal day, I can't help but feel awfully lucky to live where we do. With the typhoon that has hit the Philippines and it being remembrance Sunday, it reminds us how fortunate we are. Today was a day to appreciate what we have, and remember those brave soldiers who fought for our country and all those still out there in the forces.

26 comments:

  1. What a delightful stroll .
    I love seeing Bracken having such fun, and great shots of him doing it !

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    1. It was great to be out enjoying the bright weather, definitely beats pouring rain!

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  2. I really enjoy reading about your adventures - thanks for sharing them. Bracken looks like one very happy dog :)

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    1. Thank you Tim :) If only we could explore a new place every day!

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  3. Great photos Lou Mary.. those darter photos are wonderful and Bracken looks like he had a fantastic time :o)

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    1. Thanks Julie, I can't believe there are still so many around. Haven't seen any hawkers for a while though. Bracken certainly loves his walkies!

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  4. Fantastic action shots of Baacken,love the flight shots,great captures.
    John.

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    1. Thank you for your kind comment John!

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  5. Great images Lou, I really like the Brent flock and gull flight shots, the starlings on top ot the aerial is ggod too. Glad to see Bracken is back to his usual hyper-active self.

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    1. Thanks Doug, usually I never manage to get my in flight gull shots in focus, so I was happy to get some adequate gull images this time around! Young dogs seem to heal pretty quickly!

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  6. Safe to say everyone enjoyed the day out then LouM? The brents in flight is a really good shot and the three darters is just lovely. It must be a bit warmer down where you are because I'm pretty sure there are no darters left here, although I have seen the odd butterfly. You finish with some very kind and thoughtful points and you are right to remind everyone.

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    1. Indeed we did! I love the brents - such pretty geese. It has still been fairly mild but I'm sure we will get some colder weather soon!

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  7. Fabulous pictures! I love the Bracken ones, particularly all paws off the ground.

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  8. Sounds like a wonderful day out for you all including Bracken. I just love the geese images Lou. It's quite right to reflect on what we have, we are very lucky indeed.

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    1. Thanks Suzie, we do like to get out and about in the fresh air and Bracken tires himself out, meaning we have a nice relaxed evening! Win win situation!

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  9. What a wonderful day out and some beautiful photos - love the one with teasels and and the action shots of Bracken :( Great to see a butterfly too - I haven't seen one now for weeks :( You are so right in your last few sentences - we are very fortunate indeed to live where we do and mentioning the importance of remembering all those who died for our country.

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    1. Thank you RR :) Could have done with a goldfinch nibbling at the teasel to make it just a bit more interesting though! Bracken is such a poser, even when he is hurtling around at one hundred miles per hour!!

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  10. Gorgeous pics as always Lou. Bracken looked like he was enjoying himself and has obviously made a full recovery from his poorly phase a few days back. Are you going to put together a management plan for the wild place you mentioned? So much could be achieved there- might be worth talking to the groups you volunteer for if you haven't already? CT :-)

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    1. Thank you CT :) Yes 100% better is our pup, thank goodness! My dad has already kind of made some sort of plan in his head about the wild space. The only problem with helping make a real go of it, is the fact it is over an hour away and I always seem so busy! I think I probably will chat to the Warden of my volunteer group. The wild place is just over the border into Sussex so I doubt KWT will be able to help much. We shall see anyway :)

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  11. It's always lovely reading about the walks where you are, Lou and seeing your wonderful pics. I love the Brent Geese and Bracken running at full speed. You've had some great wildlife sightings, too.

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    1. Thank you Wendy, Bracken wasn't too sure about the geese or the gulls, they were quite close to us. I thought one of the gulls might make a dive for him at one point!

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  12. Lovely stuff Lou, I love this time of year! Cannot beat a good murmuration - lets hope those starlings make some recruitments!
    Cracking Darters and Bracken is looking like one very happy dog indeed!
    Tomx

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    1. Thanks Tom :) That little group is only a small proportion of the starlings round us! Right noisy lot they are. House sparrows are doing well too - they demolished the food I put out on Sunday, in approx 20 minutes! x

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  13. It looks like you had a fantastic time at the beach, I loved seeing Bracken running at full pelt and the pics of the Brent Geese (I simply adore Geese). Also great to see some dragonflies still about as well as that lovely Red Admiral :-)

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    1. Thanks David, Bracken is certainly a very fast pup! Luckily he doesn't try and catch the seashore birds!

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