Wednesday, 31 October 2012


A nice walk this morning, took us around Shipley Lake, along to Osborne's Pond, then up Shipley Hill before completing the 'circuit' and returning home.
The walk up the afforded some nice views across Shipley Park especially with the continuing, fine Autumn colours.  These two trees were still hanging on to most of their leaves despite the strengthening wind.
Looking like sentinels against the grey sky, they seem to sum up the time of year rather well.
Reaching the top of the hill, we turned south to return home and get the views across Ilkeston.  The magnificent Beech tree which stands guard at this point has lost all of its leaves being so exposed.  Most of them are still surrounding the tree's beautiful roots making for an interesting picture and something of an 'arty' shot.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Looking Back

No walk this morning, except to Tesco for shopping and a 'big breakfast', so I thought it would be nice to look back at what was catching my eye on this day in past years.
Two years ago my eye was drawn to the Autumnal colours on the top of Shipley hill.  Particularly the bright red of the Acer.
In the same spot, the Yew trees were adding their own redness to the scene.   These waxy fruits are well known (erroneously) to be poisonous.  In fact, the fruit itself is harmless, it's the seed inside which is poisonous.
Berries of a different kind also dot the hedgerows in this area.  This time they belong to a variegated Holly tree, reminding us that Christmas is just a few weeks away now!

Friday, 26 October 2012


Another rather gloomy morning for a walk, but nevertheless, we set out for a stroll around the Straw's Bridge lakes.  The smaller of the lakes, which is normally almost devoid of wildfowl, this morning was sporting a magnificent Mute Swan reflected int he water's surface.  The golden leaves around the lake were also reflected beautifully.
Having discovered that we had no bread and being less than impressed by my pointing my camera at him, he turned tail and swam off.

Thursday, 25 October 2012


I am unashamedly posting lots of photos of the Autumn colour these days and this morning's walk around Shipley Lake, Shipley Hill and Osborne's Pond, revealed yet more of these vibrant hues.  Starting with a look along the path which skirts the lake and looking up to the reddening Beeches on the hill.
At the Nottingham Lodge on top of Shipley Hill, a small cut-leaved Acer immediately caught the eye, glowing deep pink among its neighbours.
Further along on our return from Osborne's Pond, we reached the section known as Dog Kennel Coppice and a magnificent Beech Tree turning deep red and gold.
Back up to Pit Lane and another member of the Acer family provided the Scarlet of today's title.  The colour, shining so bright, it confused my camera's auto setting into thinking it was looking at a sunset.  But, it was just as beautiful as any sunset ever was.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012


Little or no brightness over the past couple of days, so we have been unable to appreciate the glorious colours of Autumn as much as we would have liked.  But it does give me the opportunity to post a couple more pictures taken in sunnier times.
I can never get enough of this annual spectacle and think it's one of the best times of year.  Who could argue when faced with evidence such as this...
In the mist and fog of the past few days, spider's webs have been glistening with dew-drops in what little morning light we have had.  Our hedge has been bedecked with these jewel-encrusted structures like Christmas decorations.

Sunday, 21 October 2012


Just one word sums up this morning's walk.  Fog!
Instead of it being the 'Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness', it looked more like the season of fog and muffled greyness.  All was quiet across the Manor Floods. 
Even the ducks and coots were quiet as they picked their way across the water's surface in the murky mist.  It did make for a good picture or two.

Saturday, 20 October 2012


Just a few 'odds and ends' this morning as we had no walk in the park, rather a fraught and hot-under-the-collar visit to Tesco.
Starting with a Great Spotted Woodpecker, which was being rather vocal on an electricity wire yesterday morning as we passed.
Close by the woodpecker, a field of tall grass, has recently been inhabited by a small herd of six Highland Cattle.  Looking fearsome with their long and sharp horns, they seem not to care at all about anything going on about them and stare into the distance, chewing the cud and occasionally giving the passer-by, a superior look.
Lastly for today, a rather more noisy and fractious local inhabitant.  The lakes of Straw's Bridge are populated by Black-headed Gulls and their squawking and squabbling is a constant accompaniment to the otherwise calm scene.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Golden Too

Another colourful walk around Shipley Park this morning.  In spite of the dull and misty morning, the golden hues were still magnificent.
Some of the leaves seemed to light up the darkness of the undergrowth.
Atop Shipley Hill, the Beech trees were joining in with the colourful show and were busy shedding their finery all over the ground.
Looking closer, the shades of Autumn were glorious.

Thursday, 18 October 2012


Back to our local environment and a few pictures of the changing colours of Autumn.  Despite the awful Summer we have had, the colours of the trees this year are absolutely stunning.
Around the derelict site of the old Theme Park, the Maples are resplendent in their golden, sunlit glory.  Yesterday, the strong winds were doing their best to denude these trees of their colour, but without too much success.
The sunshine was brilliant, doing a wonderful job at picking out and enhancing the bright gold and deepening reds of the leaves.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012


More general views today, of our stay in Mallorca.  I have mentioned the view from our balcony already and this view was every bit as good during the day as it was in the evening.  Here, the early morning sea-mist partially obscured the mountains and made an ethereal vista.
At the other end of the day, the setting sun  lit up the skies above the Puig de Sant Marti turning everything to fire.
In the heat of the day, a walk down to the beach took us through a stand of Pines which edged the sand and provided some welcome shade as well as a great view.
Back to a mountain view for the last picture and one of the great chain of mountains which form the Serra de Tramuntana.  This spine of peaks forms the whole of the Northern side of the island.  The highest peak is the Puig Major at 4,741ft just visible in the shallow, V-shaped 'dip' in the middle if this picture.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012


On the way to the old town of Alcudia, we took a detour towards the leisure port called - strangely enough - Port d'Alcudia.
A bustling resort and worth a visit to look at all the fancy yachts and other leisure craft on display in the marina.  Some seemed to be the size of small ocean-going liners, proving that despite the global recession, there's still some money about!  These were more modest in size...
The waters of the marina were alive with fish of all sorts and sizes and the ever-present Harbour Mullet were well worth a picture.
 Around the area, some posh hotels and sailing clubs were interspersed with old Olive trees, shady court yards and a feeling of opulence which we rather enjoyed!
Time to get our feet back on the ground, return to reality and start our hot and sweaty walk back to the hotel.

Monday, 15 October 2012


Our second walk along to the wetlands of the s'Albufera natural park, gave us more than we had bargained for.  It wasn't quite as hot as the first time we visited and we were walking along enjoying the views when I spotted something in the bushes which scared the life out of me.
With a web stretched out and spanning about 2ft across, the occupant was a female Banded Garden Spider (Argiope trifasciata).  It was rather tricky getting a good photo of this frightening creature with my hands shaking!  From below, it looked even worse...
The web is usually eaten and re-spun each day and is to catch it's meal of flying insects, of which there were plenty flying about in the sunshine.  Despite its fearsome looks, the spider is usually harmless to humans and in fact rather shy, preferring to scuttle away rather than stand and fight.  If they do bite you, the wound though not painful, can be very slow to heal- not that I was about to get close enough to test the theory!  Banded Garden Spiders prefer to catch and eat grasshoppers and there was an abundance of them.  The most numerous of which were Marsh Grasshoppers (Eypropocnemis plorans).

Sunday, 14 October 2012

St. Jaume

Another walk into the old town of Alcudia, took us round the Roman Catholic church of St. Jaume.  The original church was built on the site around 1302 on land given over for the cause, by King Jaume II.
Following a complete collapse in 1870, it was reconstructed in the neo-gothic style from 1882.  Reconsecration took place on July 25th 1893.  The statue of St. Jaume (James) above the entrance was the work of sculptor Menígia Caubet.
The great rose window was designed by Alcudian artist Llorenç Ferrer Martí.  Cool and shady seating areas around the church, provided us with a quiet moment to rest our feet before we walked back.  Time for a picture of Malcolm too!

Saturday, 13 October 2012


A long walk in the other direction from Alcudia, took us to the wetlands of the Parc Natural de s'Albufera.  This is an area of over 4000 acres of marshland and dunes, criss-crossed by drainage ditches and canals.  Huge quantities of reeds, sedges, Tamarisk bushes and Poplars, make the area wonderful for numerous species of insects, amphibians, reptiles, mammals and birds.  Little Egrets (Egretta garzetta) are common.
 Ducks are to be seen everywhere too.  The ubiquitous Mallard is always in attendance, but I was more interested in the rather more scarce Gadwall (Anas strepera).
By far the most exciting to see was an extremely rare waterfowl the Crested Coot (Fulica cristata).
This individual was sporting a rather natty neck-ring with its own unique identity number.  It was also clearly displaying the reason for its name 'crested'.  The two, bright red swellings on the bird's head give rise to its other name of Red-Knobbed Coot - which doesn't sound so nice!
Endangered in Europe, this bird has been reintroduced to the wetlands here and is doing reasonably well thanks to huge efforts from the conservationists.  It was quite a 'tick' for my life list too.

Friday, 12 October 2012


A walk of about two miles, took us to the old, walled town of Alcudia.  The approach to the town, took us past the remains of the Roman town of Pol Lentia - later to be repositioned and known as Pollenca.
The Romans took control of the island in 123 B.C. and there have been invasions by Vandals and Moors as well as Pirates and, in later times, tourists.  The town itself was impressively fortified with walls and gates.
The name Alcudia means 'on the hill' in Arabic and was the site of a Moorish farmstead.  This was seized by King Jaume I in 1229 and the town was developed by Jaume II in 1298 with the building of a church, graveyard and Priest's House.  The walls were begun at about this time too.
The gate houses remain impressive to this day, even though the walls have not lasted quite so well, with gaps in various places.

Thursday, 11 October 2012


Our hotel was part of a very large and sprawling complex situated on the banks of a lake with the name of 'Esperanza'.
Dominating the view at 'our end' of the lake was the imposing bulk and twin peaks of the Puig de Sant Marti.    Here, the moon can just be seen shining above the gap between them.
Looking south along the lake, the glassy surface reflected the pine trees and scrub-land which fringes the wetlands of s'Albufera.  Sadly, it also reflects the huge chimney of the power station nearby.  But the view is still good.