Saturday, 30 January 2016

Young's Park Wildfowl Conservation Area

An original marshland habitat which was reclaimed as parkland in the 1930's, this part of Young's Park was eventually allowed to return to marshland in 2004 after struggling for years against the flow of freshwater running down from Clennon Valley and saltwater from the bay.

 The boating lake provides a resting place for many sea birds, ducks and swans

In the Biodiversity Action Plan 2013 - 2023 the conservation area is described as an amazing marsh habitat with rare plants such as the southern marsh orchid and free flowing freshwater pools supporting dragonflies and damselflies.

I didn't realise how tame the birds were, but given the amount of visitors to the park both in and out of the holiday season, I'm not surprised they are so used to people.

I love the feet of the Coot and never knew they looked like this 


The Coots, Moorhens, Tufted ducks and Mallard ducks were very relaxed and posed for the camera

Youngs Park People (YPP) have taken over the management of the area and have won many awards including a number of Bay Blooms Awards. You can find out more by visiting their website (and see lovely photos of very young cygnets too).

These cygnets sometimes come across the water to Broadsands

Some of the puddles by the crazy golf area had frozen over giving me lovely shots of this Black Headed Gull.

I really enjoyed my hour here watching the birds and think this will be a very good place to improve my photography skills. I used the bridge camera for this set of photos as I wasn't sure how close the birds would be, but next time I'm going back with the Nikon as well!

Behind where I was standing are the freshwater pools and waterways of the marsh itself (above). So there will be many more opportunities to visit this lovely little wildlife haven for more photos of woodland birds as well as wetland and sea birds.

I tried a few creative effects on these images, using the softening option

Swans are just delightful and I can't help but finish this post with a set from a very obliging and elegant Mute Swan

I'm ready to take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch  this weekend. The Blackcap has been in the garden all week and the weather is quite cold, so I'm sure I'll get a decent count this year.

It's been a joy to watch Winterwatch this week coming from Scotland and with such interesting animals like the mountain hare, golden eagle and the wildcat.

I hope you are all safe and well despite the weather
Until next time

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Berry Head In Sunshine

A visit to Berry Head in the winter sunshine

 The Guardhouse building is now a visitor centre and cafe

Looking through the battlements.......

....and down a well trodden path...can you guess what's at the end?

The lovely Soay Sheep of course...looking very happy don't you think?

positively smiling and enjoying the sunshine in the safety of the moat

A very distressing story on the news about abandoned horses in Kent. I'm including the link to this story but please don't click on it if you are easily upset as it has some terrible images which made me cry. Link here. It's just to say we must be aware of abandoned donkeys, ponies and horses as we are travelling about. Let us good people keep an eye out for anything unusual or maybe take a few moments just to stop and check they are OK no matter where you live. If you live in Kent or know people who do, please pass this message on.

On a much happier note my lovely neighbours lost their dog Mario on Sunday evening whilst out walking. He was found safe and well yesterday evening, but rather smelly and stressed, after being trapped in a cave over in Brixham. They worked so hard to find him, out day and night in terrible weather searching and calling for him and leaving flyers will all the local dog walkers. Here is the link to his rescue details and pictures on

With a cold snap upon us I've had some success with garden birds visiting the feeders. Mrs Blackbird is still looking fine and healthy but a new male (possibly) and female are in the garden regularly and chasing her off . I've also had a male Blackcap visiting the fat feeders for the last few days, as well as Robins, Dunnocks, Sparrows and Wood Pigeons. I've had to go out and have a chat with a Herring Gull and tell him to go fishing instead of stealing crumbs from the little birds.

With clear blue skies and calm waters the swans have been out on the sea over at Goodrington and came across for a paddle towards Broadsands this morning. I wasn't about with the camera to photograph them, but watched them through the binoculars.

Looks like we're going to have mostly sunny days for the rest of the week in Torbay
I hope you are all well
Until next time

Friday, 8 January 2016

January-A Break in the Wet Weather

At last we've had a few days of sunshine in Torbay so I took my camera out on a couple of walks.

A beautiful evening sky

A few of the ships in the bay awaiting orders

Eseniya general cargo ship-destination Egypt
MTS Viscount Tug (bottom right) destination Italy
Fanfare (bottom left) general cargo ship- no destination

A little bit of birdwatching

A lovely old Hawthorn in the middle of the golf course

Although not native, these cedar trees look lovely and give the birds somewhere to land

The wind has shaped them despite their size

Hubby with Harry amongst the cedars

Looks like we're all in for a cold spell of weather although we rarely see frost or snow in Torbay. Just a little bit inland the weather changes dramatically, with areas like Totnes getting severe frosts and on Dartmoor plenty of snow. So if we need a 'snow fix' we don't have far to travel.

I've been laid up recently with a painful rib condition which is called costochondritis. I've had it for several years now and it can flare up at any time. Unfortunately trying to teach Harry to walk to heel is aggravating it and I'm not getting the rest I need for it to clear up completely. Then again I'm not good at resting. Keep fit and pilates classes start next week and I'm hopeful I'll be able to attend as I'm really stiffening up. Ever optimistic these classes will also help my numb feet, as they do improve my achy joints.

We've just had the kitchen lights fitted under the cupboards now that all the decorating is finished and we're delighted. Ribbon LED strips in soft white really lift the kitchen on these dark winter evenings.

We also had new outside lights fitted so we can see much better in the back garden. This will reduce the risk of stepping in something horrible like dead mice heads, cat vomit, and slugs and snails in our slippers!

Wrap up warm and stay safe
Until next time

Saturday, 2 January 2016

A Cat Investigates

Percy investigates the shopping and discovers a chicken. 
You can't turn your back for a minute without this ex-stray cat raiding bags or stealing food. 

This is how Percy looked when he'd come visiting as a stray over six six years ago.

One day we took him in after three days of continuous rain. He was soaked through to the skin and exhausted. We made a room up for him with a cosy bed, food and a litter tray and he slept for over twelve hours....something he's very fond of.

Nowadays Percy prefers sunshine and sleeping to roaming.

Sometimes you might find him awake with his pals in the garden.

Just like CT of Countryside Tales our new year has started with a trip to the vets as Harry has an ear infection. He's not too bothered and the vet was very good with him as he is still nervous when being handled by strangers.

The ear drops will be administered in the bathroom as anyone with a dog will know they shake their heads straight afterwards. The oily ear drops fly around the room at high speed and stain freshly painted walls flinging with them any debris from the ears...yuk!

I wonder how many vet trips we will make this year

Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2016
Until next time