Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Autumn Is Coming

It's beginning to look a bit autumnal in the countryside. Leaves have started turning colour, fungi are poking up from the leaf litter and the Spindle trees at Straw's Bridge, are pink with ripening fruits.
Everywhere, the bright flowers of summer, are turning to gold and brown seed pods.
There was at least one thing still in full colour, unaffected by the coming autumn and that was this gorgeous Kingfisher. He announced his presence with his piping call, long before we saw him.
Frustratingly, he remained far away on the opposite side of the lake from us, but I managed a couple of half decent pictures nevertheless.
At the same lake, the Hawthorn berries provided another splash of colour.
Back home, something else to catch the eye is a neighbour's cat, who seems to spend much of the day staring in at the front window, willing Malcolm to supply the treats.
She's still a bit wary of us, so these pictures had to be taken through the window, so are not as sharp as I would have liked, but with eyes like this, who could resist?

Monday, 16 September 2019

The Other Way!

On Tuesday, Malcolm and I decided to turn our feet 'the other way' and headed along the coast in a southerly direction. Crossing the bridge over the Seiont once more, gave us another chance to look back at the castle.
Then it was a reasonable walk of about 2.75 miles along the coast towards the nature reserve of Y Foryd. Along the way, we had some lovely views across the Menai Strait.
Out on the sand and mud, there were plenty of wading birds to attract the eye, probably the most numerous of which were the Oystercatchers. Gorgeous birds, they announce their presence with their piping calls.
Little Egrets were once a rarity in the UK, but these days they are found almost everywhere along our coastlines, where there is enough mud and sand to provide for them. This one was accompanied by a much more diminutive, Redshank.
Away in the distance, the peaks along the Llŷn Peninsula formed quite a picturesque backdrop.
Looking inland, we could just see the tiny church of St Baglan hidden behind the trees, with the looming presence of Mynydd Mawr in the background.
Time to turn back for the town - and one last picture of the castle.

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Caernarfon 2

Away from the town of Caernarfon, there were a couple of good walks to be had. One, took us north along a long disused railway line. Wild flowers and Blackberries (and people picking them) were in great abundance along the whole walk and we had some nice glimpses of the waters of the Menai Strait...
and over to Anglesey on the other side.
Buddleia bushes were in flower and attracting lots of butterflies including this beautiful Red Admiral...
.. and several Painted Ladies.
People were out on the water, enjoying the fine weather and the calm waters.
All very sunny and glorious.
Back to the town and the Victoria Dock, was filled with some very nice boats indeed.
And always with the castle looming large over all.
More to come...

Saturday, 14 September 2019


We've recently returned from a few days stay in the Welsh town of Caernarfon. We arrived last Sunday, in glorious sunshine and were quickly out and about, getting to know our way around. The water-front was first on the itinerary.
The town is dominated of course, by the impressive walls of the castle.
Built by Edward I in the 13th century, it still looms over all and remains a formidable fortress.
Edward's architect for this - and many other welsh fortresses - was the Master James of St George, who was brought in from Savoy (now part of Switzerland) as the finest in the business. The walls of the Eagle Tower, with its three massive turrets, are around 18ft thick. Strong enough to repel even the most enthusiastic of assailants.
Two main gates provide access to the castle. The first, known as the King's Gate, provided access from the town itself.
The Queen's Gate provided a way into the castle without having to go through the town. It seems to float some way above ground level now, with a glass fronted viewing platform. But it actually shows the ground level on the inside of the castle walls. The gate would once have been approached by a huge stone ramp, long since gone.
 One more shot for today, this time, from across the river Seiont and in 'high dynamic range'...
More to follow!

Thursday, 5 September 2019

Longer Walk

Malcolm and I set out for a walk this morning, intending to stop for coffee at the Shipley Park Visitors' Centre. On the way, we passed the meadow, set out with flowers specifically for the production of bird-seed.
Despite the lovely blue skies, it was very breezy and not a little chilly in the wind. The flowers were blowing about too, which made things a little tricky.
Unfortunately, as we got to the visitors' centre, we discovered that it was closed - due to unforeseen circumstances - so a quick re-think was required. As we were almost at Heanor by this point, we decided to carry on a bit further and have our morning coffee at Costa, then take a stroll round Heanor Memorial Gardens on the way home.
The formal flower beds in the memorial gardens, were looking pretty good and still very colourful.
Heading for home, we cut through Pit Lane, back onto Shipley Park and were pleased to be rewarded with a close view of a large and impressive Southern Hawker Dragonfly.
Unusually for Dragonflies, this one seemed quite happy to let us take his photo and sat still as we got is best side.
What a little stunner!

Monday, 2 September 2019

Autumn Already?

Summer has slipped past us in what seems like just a couple of weeks and September brings with it, the onset of Autumn. To emphasise this fact, the countryside has started to display all the usual signs. Hay has been cut and rolled...
These rolls were waiting to be collected from the fields around Shipley Hill the other day.
The whole area has started taking on that slightly washed-out look after the height of summer's colour.
Some plants are still clinging bravely to their showy flowers, like this Toadflax.
But of all the signs of Autumn, the appearance of ripening fruits and berries, is by far the most obvious. These gorgeous, red berries belonged to some fabulous Guelder-rose bushes this morning.
They will certainly attract the attention of any passing Blackbird.
Hawthorn too, has started to ripen. These were growing along Slack Lane this morning, but they are to be found almost everywhere right now.
Nature's bounty, waiting to provide winter sustenance to the birds.