Wednesday, 30 November 2011


This afternoon I decided to visit Aqualate Mere bird hide to watch the starling murmuration. I drive past Aqualate estate regularly in the afternoon and see groups of starlings flying over the road towards the mere, but I wasn't prepared for what I encountered. I had heard that I should expect to see around 250,000 birds but what does 250,000 birds look like?
I arrived at the car park at about 3.15pm and walked to the mere. I had the hide all to myself and I secretly hoped that would remain the case.
The mere was very calm with ducks, swans, gulls and moorhen floating on the surface, so quiet.

Then in the distance the starlings started to collect, and it looked as though the murmuration was going to take place at the far end of the mere.

All of a sudden there was a black noisy mass of birds right infront of the hide, just fantastic

and the noise wow!!!!

Then they all dropped into the reeds alongside the hide, the rush of wings stopped but the bedtime chatter didn't, you couldn't see them , but you could certainly hear them, thousands of starlings clinging to the reeds all talking to each other- just brilliant, - then the hide door opened and in walked another hopeful murmuration watcher, I had to tell him they had just settled down,  I hung around for another quarter of an hour with the hope of an encore, but it didn't come and I had to make my way back to the car park, so I bade farewell and left the still hopeful birdwatcher staring out over a very still and quiet mere.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Autumn Fungus

Coprinellus micaceus

 Daedaleopsis confragosa


Shaggy parasol
Macrolepiota rhacodes

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Loynton Moss revisited

I really enjoy our visits to Loynton Moss and today was no exception, the sun shone through the remaining autumnal leaves and even after last nights rain all the paths were still dry - A little too dry as far as the Moss is concerned but it made for a very pleasant walk none the less.

The Moss - very dry especially for the end of October

The Moss

Greater Reed Mace

Greater Reed Mace

Peacock Butterfly

Red Admiral butterfly

We also enjoyed watching several birds including nuthatch, goldcrest, buzzard, greater spotted woodpecker.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

wasp's nest

A couple of weeks ago I posted a photo of a wasp's nest inside one of our bird nest boxes, this week we discovered this much larger nest in the entrance to a rabbit's burrow along our lane - no sign of any wasps, but I have to say I didn't go prodding around for them either!

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Autumn surprises

walking down the lane this week
Cow parsley flowers April to June

and cow parsnip  or hogweed flowers June to August

Sunday, 9 October 2011

A quick dip into Cotton Dell

We spent the morning in the Churnet Valley in Staffordshire visiting the lovely Staffordshire Wildlife Trust reserve Cotton Dell
We only spent an hour or so wandering around the woodland, taking in the autumn colours and listening to the calling birds, occasionally getting a glimpse of a nuthatch and the mixed flocks of tits flitting around in the tree tops.

Sadly we didn't have time to explore more of the reserve, maybe we will manage a return visit in the Spring

Sunday, 2 October 2011

St Lawrence Church, Gnosall, Flower Festival 'Music and Song'

This weekend Gnosall has been treated to a wonderful flower festival, so good I visited it twice, the second time I took my camera.

St Lawrence Church, Gnosall

You entered the Church through the beautifully decorated doorway, 

and having paid your entrance fee you were invited to spend as much time as you liked admiring the displays clutching your guide and talking to the volunteer stewards who were on hand to answer any questions.
So many beautiful displays, too many to show all on here, so here are just a few of the twenty five to give you an idea of the talent that Gnosall has to offer!

'The Blue Danube'

'The Planets'

'Sounds of Music' by Gnosall Flower Arranging Class 

'Mary Mary Quite Contrary'

'Swan Lake ( the morning after) '

'The Owl and the Pussy Cat'

'Fingal's Cave'

'An English Country Garden'

'Madam Butterfly'

'Humpty Dumpty'
 Where ever you looked there were flowers or beautiful stitchwork hangings such as these!

  I hope you agree this was quite a special display.