Saturday, 30 April 2011

Easter Sunday

On Easter Sunday my daughter, son and I had a day out to the sea. We went to Dunravon Bay, Southerndown which is near Bridgend in South Wales. It started off quite a dull day but brightened up later. We started by walking to the top of the cliffs, stopping on the way for a picnic lunch.

Lovely views from the cliffs of the bay, and the remains of Dunraven Castle.

I didn't know at the time but these are harlequin ladybirds which are a threat to our native ladybirds. They are apparently the most invasive of the species in the world. If you spot any, do as I did and fill in the ladybird survey.

Lots of flowers in the woodland. This is Lords and Ladies or cuckoo pint

Entrance to Victorian Garden

Flag Iris in the Victorian Garden

Apple blossom



Victorian Garden

The tide was in when we arrived and the water looked very cold and uninviting. We sat on the rocks watching 2 people surfing, very brave of them.
More people went into the sea as the tide went out and Sophie and Sam did briefly but it was very cold

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Easter Saturday Hike

Easter Saturday and grandson Stuart was given the choice of a visit to the seaside or a hike up the local "mountain". He said that he had never been up a mountain so would like to do that.

This is a photographic record of our hike up Twm Barlwm, which is 419 metres above sea level. On a clear day you can see for miles in all directions. The estuary of the river Severn to the south and the North Devon coast across the water. To the north and east are Herefordshire and Gloucestershire. Further north the Brecon Beacons can be seen and immediately below are the towns of Newport, Cwmbran and Risca.

Not quite the start as we had already walked uphill for about 1 km to reach this point where we turned off the road.

Lots of interesting things to see on the way

In the distance we can now see the summit, or pimple of Twm Barlwm

Grandma is getting left way behind, maybe just because I was stopping to take photos. lol

We reached the summit and sat right on top for a well deserved picnic lunch. The views from here are spectacular but unfortunately the air quality had been poor for a few days due to pollution so it was very misty

Plaque with details of the history of Twm Barlwm.

On top of the world. (well not quite)

Young calf ready for its lunch too.

Lambs having difficulty following after mum up the slope.

What an amazing tree, must be the result of years of coppicing in the past.

What a harsh warning!

We arrived home feeling very tired but we all enjoyed our day out and it is another experience to tick off Stuart's list of thing to do.

Wild bluebells

As promised here are the bluebells growing wild in woodland

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Garden news

Image for today is an English bluebell. Smaller than the introduced Spanish variety and more strongly scented. I have a few, amongst the many other wild flowers, growing in the garden. Will try and get out during the next few days to take some picture of those growing in the wild, as a carpet of them is more spectacular.

Still having a problem with the lily beetles, saw three today on my fritillaries. Fortunately they didn't seem to have laid any eggs.

The tadpoles were feeding voraciously in the pond this evening, there seems to be a lot of what I think and mosquito larvae in there. I needn't have worried about there not been food available for them. There was also a newt swimming lazily around on the surface of the pond. It is difficult to catch them during the day but I stood and watched it for a while this evening. I think it is a common newt otherwise known as smooth newt. Will try and photograph one if I can over the weekend.

Preparing for Easter

I am sure we will all enjoy Stuart's Easter nests

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

A beautiful day here again, up to 22C at one stage. I walked by the local canal stopping to take in the signs of spring. Lots of hedgerow flowers including the may blossom (hawthorn) which not only looks lovely but has a great scent.

Many birds flitting in and out of the hedges too adding to the peaceful countryside with their chirping. Noticed a few butterflies, especially the orange tip.

The only thing to spoil the walk was the rubbish that has been thrown in the water. Some people do not appreciate the beautiful countryside we have here.

Several pairs of mallards along the canal all with young. I saw two pairs with clutches of 10 and further along I spotted three tiny ducklings all alone. No adult in sight. Hope they are big enough to look after themselves. Luckily the weather is warm so they may be all right. I know they are capable of feeding themselves almost as soon as they hatch but I think they need mum to keep them warm at night and protect them from predators.

I couldn't get any closer to take a picture of them because as soon as they spotted me they dashed for the water.

This is a moor hen sitting on her nest in the reeds. I am sure she must have heard me but maybe she thought she was hidden well enough for me not to have seen her.

May blossom is in full bloom in the hedges.

An old country rhyme to predict the weather for the summer is:

Oak before ash
We're in for a splash.
Ash before oak
We're in for a soak.

I noticed today that the oak is mostly more advanced than the ash so maybe we are in for a dry summer.

In the garden today I did see a blue tit go in and out of one of the nest boxes so I can stop worrying that they have been abandoned. Saw a brimstone butterfly and also small white and speckled wood.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Sunny Sunday

A beautiful day here again. The weather forecast is for more of the same all week. Up to 21C and sunny except for maybe few showers mid week.
I visited the garden centre and bought some plants for the pond and also some water snails to help keep the pond clean. Spotted a couple of newts again today and think they were two different species but not sure what. Maybe a common and a palmate.

Saw a couple of butterflies again, small white and holly blue. A pair of robins were together on the patio and one was feeding the other. This is part of the mating ritual where the male feeds the female to help build her body weight up so she can produce the eggs.

Not noticed any activity in the bird boxes for a few days but haven't really spent much time watching them. Hope they are still occupied.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Saturday 16th April 2011

White dead nettle

Ladybird on fence

Lady's smock
Marsh marigold

Too long since I posted here. Think I might use my blog as garden and wild life diary.
Lots of things happening in the garden at this time of year. Daffodils have just about finished but many other spring flowers growing providing lots of colour.
Butterflies have been appearing this past week or so. I saw a small white, small tortoiseshell and a speckled wood last week. Today a holly blue was feeding on my forget-me-nots.

Visited Magor Marsh with Stuart today for an Easter Eggstravaganza. The weather was lovely, 18C in the shade and quite a bit a warmer in the sun. Flowers there included marsh marigolds, lady's smock and white dead nettles. Saw small white and orange tip butterflies.

We did a treasure trail and toasted marshmallows. At the end of the treasure trail Stuart earned a cream egg.

In the bottom of my fridge I found some potatoes which had started to sprout. I asked Stuart if he knew where potatoes came form and he said "another country?" I thought it would be a good idea to show him so we have planted the sprouting potatoes in the garden so hoping they produce some potatoes for him to see.