Hedgehogs for a Nigerian blogger by the name of Esther (and anyone else :) )

A follow up to my butterflies-we-have-4-species-in-our-garden

A shout-out post for you this evening and you know how I love interacting with bloggers here on WordPress ūüôā A lady by the name of Esther who Blogs from Nigeria commented telling me she enjoyed seeing my garden butterfly photos, and do you know what even after two years ‘sharing’ photographs on my Blog Andrew, knowing people living all those miles away in Africa (or anywhere!) are reading my personal thoughts published on a website never ceases to amaze me! Please know I truly never take your feedback for granted and thank you ūüôā ‚̧

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Returning to my back garden butterfly post linked above, the one where I’d promised to

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Blenheim Palace, England. (Pt2)

¬© All Photographs taken by Andrew, all Video filmed by Andrew and Narration by Andrew. ūüôā

Whilst looking back through Wednesdays photographs something rather puzzling struck me, ‘why an earth is the grass so short Andrew?’ I mean you should see my jungle of a back garden when I haven’t mown the lawn in a week, yet this Parkland resembles a golf course? All very odd must remember to Google. NOT.

As you may be aware if you ‘read’ pt1, Wednesday previous I walked around Blenheim Palace grounds taking lots of photos, incidentally that’s in Oxfordshire England. Unfortunately the video isn’t as good a quality as I’d like, never mind perhaps I should invest in a new camera or buy a new phone :/ it’s on my wish ‘list’.

So rather than ‘publish’ a part 3 blog Post here’s the remaining photographs and video (have I told you they’re all taken by me?), So if you’d like a short historical synopsis please read part 1.

(Briefly Blenheim Palace is the ancestral home of the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough built in the 1700’s with stunning ornamental grounds, and England’s Prime Minister Winston Churchill was born here.) That wasn’t tooo painful was it. ūüôā

A question for you. Have you ever visited a place you know you visited as a child but forgotten about? Well my gentle walk around Blenheim estate was one of those experiences, a beautiful summers afternoon when memories of times past filtered back into my imagination all prompted by the idyllic Parkland scenery. Like the time as a ‘Boy Scout’ I gained my Woodland and Forestry badge chain sawing trees and watching birds. Happy days and according to my nephew did you know they allow girls into the Scouts now? ūüėÄ Sounds fabulous, twelve go camping for a weekend returning with thirteen!

On another occasion I fondly remember picnicking with my parents and grandparents under a tree and my grandmother spreading out a white linen table cloth as if in her front room, picture us seven drinking tea from fine china cups (with saucers), an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ tea party laid out on a forest floor all very surreal but at the same time wonderful! :/ The only trouble is the older you get the more times you’re struck by these rather depressing deja vu.

 

A very warm July day! But Mustn’t complain this is England after all.

The following is a 4 photograph panorama. (Moving left-right)

Blenheim Palace July 2017 pan6

Blenheim Palace July 2017 pan7

Blenheim Palace July 2017 pan8

Blenheim Palace July 2017 016Blenheim Palace July 2017 pan9

Blenheim Palace July 2017 041

The lake in front of the Palace has many types of wildfowl take this swan with signet below.

Blenheim Palace July 2017 022

¬© Andrew ūüôā

 

47 – Oxfordshire Countryside Photographs (taken by me August 2016)

All photographs and video © Blog Andrew.

Within walking distance from my home a small nature reserve has been created on the edge of Town, a lovely peaceful secluded area of natural habitat comprising of woods heathland and a lake populated by many wildfowl bird species, I guess the whole area covers a couple of square miles and is very popular with dog walkers bird watchers and swimmers during summer heat waves.

So having my camera handy I took¬†a selection¬†photographs also very short video¬†and uploaded onto my YouTube Channel (btw they’re identical views). I’m afraid the ‘vistas’ aren’t as spectacular as Tuscany or the plains of Africa, but they show typical English countryside.

If you were to join the following¬†7 photographs ‘end to end’¬†forming one straight¬†strip, you’ll have a panorama looking across heathland¬†and Oxfordshire farmland in the distance.

The YouTube video below¬†the¬†heath¬†panorama¬†photographs,¬†reveals the same¬†pictures but in film format¬†and narrated by me, I’m afraid I managed to obscure a row of nesting boxes fixed¬†on top of¬†posts¬†which¬†attract Barn Owls, and walkers if they’re lucky will see owls circling the heathland feeding for shrews and mice, I’ve been lucky and witnessed what is¬†quite a spectacular sight, I probably stood and watched for an hour,¬†but you have to visit late evening just before dusk.

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Photograph 1 of R-L panorama

 

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Photograph 2 of R-L panorama

 

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Photograph 3 of R-L panorama, the owl nesting posts are behind that bush!!!
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Photograph 4 of R-L panorama, Barn Owls in the evening fly circling the heathland looking for mice and shrews
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Photograph 5 of R-L panorama

 

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Photograph 6 of R-L panorama

 

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Photograph 7 of R-L panorama

 

If you were to join the following 3 photographs ‘end to end’ in one straight¬†strip, you’ll have a panorama view¬†looking across the lake toward heathland, or in other words you’ll be looking across the lake toward¬†my previous panorama……….I’m afraid all the Great Crested Grebe had disappeared…….clumsy me scared them off!

The YouTube video below is of the identical lake panorama filmed at the same time and narrated by me. Not very exciting apart from showing a typical English lake!

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Photograph 1 of R-L panorama
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Photograph 2 of R-L panorama
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Photograph 3 of R-L panorama

Imagery © Andrew

 

29 – Fruits of the Forest Floor

Local seasonal¬†photographs¬†and all taken by me ¬© Andrew ūüôā

Residents on my housing estate must have wondered what an earth I was playing at yesterday? There I was crouched down underneath two walnut trees taking close up photographs of the ground!

I have always been an autumnal collector of UK tree seeds (a rather strange admission I know) as¬†far back¬†as I can remember when¬†walking our collie dogs¬†in local woods I’ve invariably returned home with pockets full of oak tree acorns, sycamore seeds, ‘conkers’, beech nuts and walnuts……..You see I can’t resist picking them up because quite simply I hate to see the fruit¬†go to waste! Yes later when I returned home most were thrown in the waste bin, but as a teenager I used to plant the foraged¬†acorn and beech seeds into pots then transport the samplings back into the woods years later. I wish I knew whereabouts though! I sense standing in a forest¬†gazing at a fully grown oak tree I’d grown from an¬†acorn a quarter of a century previous could be quite a spiritual experience. ūüôā

Incidentally for those not in the know, fruit¬†from the horse chestnut tree in the UK is called a ‘conker’…..and to play the game of ‘conkers’ children dig a hole through the brown nut, tie a piece of string, and well you can guess!

Anyways before I get side tracked with childhood memories¬†and tales of schoolboy games this post features two walnut trees¬†a few hundred metres from¬†my home, I’ll give you a short geography lesson, from where I’m standing taking the photograph below, walk to your left following the Cotswold wall line¬†and you’ll pass¬†‘Codfathers’ Fish and Chip restaurant¬†then the Doctor’s surgery and¬†my home, turn right and you’ll find yourself at Downton Abbey Yew Tree Farm.

Thirty years ago when the housing estate was built on wheat¬†fields surrounding¬†my Town, various types of tree species¬†were planted on small patches of grass with the aim of improving the look and feel for residents living there, and in that respect they are a success, turn down one Street and you’ll find a small green oasis of oak trees, down another and¬†you could¬†happen across ‘copper’¬†beech trees and in¬†next week¬†or so the best is yet¬†to come when¬†the leaves turn rustic shades of brown…..yes I am fortunate and perhaps take my local surroundings a little for granted.

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Two walnut trees close to my home with leaves just starting to turn yellow
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…….walk a few paces closer and I’m standing underneath¬†a tree¬†canopy

So¬†now¬†you understand¬†why after work I slightly change my route home,¬†yes the distance is¬†slightly longer from the bus stop¬†but after a windy day there’s sure to be fallen walnuts blown to the ground and you’ve guessed ūüôā¬†I fill my pockets with as many as I can find!…………..Neighbours looking out of their kitchen windows must question what an earth I¬†am up to when there is a perfectly good Tesco supermarket around the corner, but hey we all know food tastes better if you don’t have to pay for it and¬†I’ve just had a thought perhaps that’s the real reason why I also grow raspberries?¬†Or the fact I’m just a tightwad!!! (That’s a¬†British slang word meaning ‘an aversion to spending ones own money’ also known as ‘not having spent a penny’).

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A close up photograph of an ‘English walnut’ variety on the ground

My apologies the¬†‘walnut laying on the ground’¬†close up photo above is¬†a little ‘washed out’ but our¬†evenings are drawing-in and late afternoon yesterday was a little gloomy hence the bright flash!!! Anyways if you look more¬†closely you’ll¬†just make out the image of¬†an English walnut or:

Juglans regia, Persian walnut, English walnut, or especially in Great Britain called the common walnut, which is an Old World walnut tree species native to the region stretching from the Balkans eastward to the Himalayas and southwest China. (Courtesy Wikipedia

Very few plants and trees are indigenous to one particular Country and that applies to¬†wildlife as well however¬†introducing species into other continents can have terrible dire consequences, for example the European grey squirrel was introduced into the UK and for reasons you’ll have to Google the grey species went on to virtually wipe out our own red squirrel, such a shame because the red is such a sweet looking animal, but there you are,¬†and yet again through the wonders of the internet¬†Wikipedia informs us the ‘English walnut’ originates all the way from southwest China……..your fact of the day!

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……..and taken even closer!!!
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Three of the many I picked from the ground

…………don’t you think the¬†Google a wonderful tool?¬†The search engine even¬†gave me storage tips, apparently you lay the ‘English walnut’¬†out to dry for two weeks then crack open and eat!

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Lay the walnuts out in plastic crates to dry for 2 weeks

Well I hope you enjoyed my photographs following my¬†housing estate¬†‘fruits of the forest’¬†foraging journey yesterday afternoon………and who knows what I’ll Post about next?

Andrew