Saturday, 6 October 2012

Kiliamanjaro update

Hi everyone,

Just thought it would be good to update everyone on the fund raising for Alzheimer's Society. We are preparing for lots of auctions at work that will raise a lot of funds for the Charity. The training for climbing Kilimanjaro has started with plenty of fitness training to come.

One event I have agreed too is a sponsored Head Shave, if £500.00 is raised by making donations via my Just Giving page I will have my head shaved. Something I have never agreed to in the past.

If you would like to sponsor me losing my hair ... please click on the link below. Thank you.

If you would like to mention my fund raising for this great cause I would of course be very grateful.

Thank you for reading this and helping this great cause.

JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Kilimanjaro Charity Trek

Wednesday 26th September 2012

Firstly very sorry for being out of action for so long, I have been too wrapped in work over the best part of this year..

I have exciting news. To raise much needed funds for the Alzheimer's Society, I am going to be climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in January 2013. This will be the biggest challenge I have ever faced but it will the most exciting at the same time.

In the meantime I have to raise £4,000.00 for the Alzheimers Society. So lots of fund raising in the coming weeks and months.

I have set up a direct JUST GIVING web page were you can donate direct to the Charity.

JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

I would be very grateful for any donations large or small. Thank you for taking the time to read this blog.


Sunday, 1 April 2012

First Angels of the Spring

First Butterflies of the Spring.

Saturday 24th March 2012

A few technical hitches with my internet prevented me from posting this over the last week. Apologies for lack of photos, still cannot upload as yet.

We have had a lovely warm sunny week in the South West and I enjoyed a Spring walk through Exminster back along the Canal back to Exeter looking for Signs of Spring.

On Exminster Marsh, a lone Buzzard was being mobbed while soaring on thermals. At high tide the Curlew were rossting on the Marsh, guessing there were in excess of 400. Among them a lone Littel Egret patrolled the shallow pools.

As it warmed up, I was happily surprised to find 3 Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies and a single Small White closer to Exeter a single Speckled Wood and a Red Admiral.

Back in Taunton along the Taunton Canal, three stunning Kingfishers were seen together with a Male Blackcap and a sunning Peacock Butterfly. Spring has arrived.

Update: Thought it was too good to be true, they are now forcasting colder weather with Snow coming back. How do you go from sunning yourself on the beach one day to getting your thermals back on the next.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Otter sighting

Taunton and Bridgwater Canal
Tuesaday 28th February 2012

Walking to work this morning, I noticed my first Skylark of the Spring over a field near the Canal, singing and hanging quite high in the sky. Brought a real touch of Spring. Lovely to hear the first singing Skylark. If that was not enough the return walk back from work along the Canal close to home at dusk brought my first Otter sighting what more it had a fish. It was a real surprise, I know they had been seen along this part of the canal, but it was great to see. Now I want to see more.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Cranes at Slimbridge

                                             Slimbridge Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust.
                                                              February 19th 2012

Sorry for the long overdue posting, I have been a little busy with my new job over the last few weeks.

I have been wanting to pay a visit to Slimbridge for a while just for the purpose of photographing the Cranes that are now part of the conservation programme with the WWT.
It turned out to be a very cold day, with the reserve covered in thick ice. So there were not too many wild birds like Waders to look for sadly, so my day was just wandering around in the Winter sun photographing various birds. But it was the Cranes I had come to see.
It was a Grey Heron that grabbed my immediate attention wading around in one pool that was not iced over.

The WWT are part of a group of Conservation bodies that are re-introducing the Common Crane onto the Somerset Levels so there is a breeding programme here. The lagoon was covered in thick ice so the Common Cranes were gingerly walking about the ice.

There were probing the ice, even at one point really attacking the ice and poking holes in the ice, I had visions of the ice cracking at one point, not a pleasant thought. But they are so graceful to watch, and they would call to each other if one wandered too far off.

With my passion for all the species of the Cranes around the World, one of my favourites has to be the really attractive looking Demoiselle Crane. With their striking red eyes, you are really taken when you get to see them so close.

This species of Crane is really quite small, but their calls are really quite loud, and this pair really did not like being away from each other.

Back to the Common Cranes, I was really lucky to get some really good close ups, something you will never do in the wild. They are really striking and would investigate everything, very carefuly lifting up leaves to see what may lie under them.

I have had a love afair with the species of Cranes around the World, and would be amazing to travel the World and see all the speices.

Before heading off home I had wanted to photograph the feathers of the Emperor Goose as they are really quite striking, just getting them to sit still for a moment was impossible !!
Hope you agree about the feathers, just could not find any stray ones though sadly. I did spot this Shelduck also wadling about the ice looking like a duck out of water.
Despite the ice and the cold it was a surprise that I did see the first Mallard Ducklings of the year today...Spring is just around the corner.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

First Butterfly of 2012

Taunton and Bridgwater Canal
28th January 2012

A beautiful sunny day in Taunton, almost Spring like, a walk along the canal into town, brought a few surprises. The canal has plenty of Moorhens and Mute Swans to see. But it is a pleasure to catch a glimpse of electric blue as a Kingfisher flies fast and low up river so it was great to see another one today. The sun brought out the first Bumble Bee's with three being seen. Though it was the first Butterfly of the year that made my day. a single Red Admiral seen flying around in the sun. A sign that Spring is not too far away now, already Daffodils are in flower along with Crocuses. Further along the canal at the weir the Little Egret was back looking for an easy meal. The first Black-headed Gull with it's Summer plumage of  chocolate brown head was noted somewhat early for January.

Exminster Marsh

Saturday 14th January 2012

Sorry for the rather late posting, January has been a little busier than I had thought. Our Winter has been very mild here in the South West of England. Managed to get out and have a walk around Exminster Marsh, near Exeter, Devon.

It was a very overcast day, and it was pretty quiet bird wise. I had hoped to see the Glossy Ibis that had taken up residence on the Marsh, but my luck that day was not that good. It had done a runner for the day. But lots of wildfowl on display. One of my favourite sounds in the Winter is listening to the whistling of the Widgeon. I can happily listen to this all day long. There were a few hundred showing today, with Teal and Shoveler. Sadly the Red-breasted Goose had also done a runner today. But the sight of nearly 200 Curlew roosting on the Marsh along with a small number of Lapwings.

I caught sight of two Snipe flying directly overhead and drop down and just vanish, typical of the Snipe. They can just disapear from view. But stunning birds. A Sparrowhawk flew low and flushed the small Waders and they took flight for safety.. my chance to see and hear some Redshank.

In the trees a small number of Redwing's were good to see. It was good also to find a few Reed Buntings. A Cettis Warbler announced it's presence.

Monday, 2 January 2012

First Birds of 2012

A gentle introduction to 2012

What better way to start the New Year than with an early morning walk to see in the start of the New Year. My walk took me along the Canal close to home, despite some rain falling it still feels far too mild for January.

Some of the birds noted on this gentle stroll were 2 Kingfishers, one perched on the rails of a moored boat. (wish I had taken my camera with me), with the other Kingfisher seen flying up river with it's distintive 'peep peep' call. The ever present Mallards and Mute Swans along with at least 35 Moorhens along the Canal. I was pleased to see the Little Egret this morning. I have been seeing this bird along the Canal off and on for a number of weeks, how they have spread in recent years.

Of the other birds seen along the hedgerows were Blue and Great Tits, with a single stunning Male Bullfinch. three Balckbirds and Starlings in good numbers. Quite a few House Sparrows all ever gregarious chirping and chasing each other through the hedgerows. Asingle Mistle Thrush sat perched a top of a bush was a pleasing sight. I really love our Winter Thrushes that grace our Country, and seeing up to 15 Redwing and 9 Fieldfares was the best sightings this morning. On the way home a large mixed flock of the beautiful Thrushes flew overhead calling.

A lovely gentle start to 2012. Here's to a great year of amazing Wildlife watching.