Sunday, 28 March 2010

52 Walks in 2010 - Walk 10 - A walk around RSPB Nature Reserve Sandy, Bedfordshire (28th March 2010)

I am so behind with my 52 walks but I'm certain that I will catch up at some point.

Today we went for a walk around the RSPB Lodge Nature Reserve at Sandy, Bedfordshire. The Lodge Nature Reserve opened in 1961. The woodland, heath and grassland cover 180 hectares, and are being restored to form the largest stretch of heathland in Bedfordshire.

The reserve was very, very busy today because this weekend a female Two-Barred Crossbill (a rare species if bird) had been spotted at the reserve. The last recorded sighting of this bird in Bedfordshire was in the 1840s so needless to say there were a lot of bird spotters out with their binoculars and digi scopes trying to catch a glimpse of this bird. They pointed out to us the flock of Common Crossbills that this rare bird had hooked up with, but we weren't able to pick it out ourselves from the 20+ other birds.

Within the reserve is 'The Lodge', built in 1870 as a private home but has been occupied as the national headquarters of the RSPB since 1961.

I can't imagine workign in such an impressive building! I love the triple chimneys.

At the reserve there are lots of wild flowers......

....... and other flowers in the formal garden of The Lodge.

These miniature irises caught my eye.

Around 1851, the 'Swiss Cottage' at the entrance to the estate was built and is now the reserve's visitor centre and shop.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

52 Walks in 2010 - Walk 9 - A walk around our garden (14th March 2010)

Not able to go for a proper walk this week so I thought I would just take a quick walk around the garden this morning and upload a few photos of the flowers that are now in bloom. Everything is so late this year. This time last year the daffodils were in full bloom but at the moment there are only green leaves so I think it will be quite a while before the flowers appear.

There are quite a few crocuses out though.

As this morning has been quite sunny even the bees are out busily collecting pollen.

These pansies were planted in the tubs by the front door back at the beginning of October to give a bit of colour during the winter. I thought that they had been killed by the heavy snow we had during the winter but they seem to have sprung back to life.

And lastly the Polyanthus are starting to come out. These are always so bright and cheerful but have a habit of springing up where they shouldn't be - like in the middle of the lawn. I did move a lot of them last spring and so far those that have appeared are in the borders and not on the grass.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

52 Walks in 2010 - Walk 8 - Danish Camp, Willington (7th March 2010)

I am still a couple of walks behind but am hoping that I will catch up soon when the weather improves.

Today although cold was a dry sunny day so we headed off to Danish Camp at Willington, Bedfordshire. The site next to the Great River Ouse has been known as "Danish Camp" for many years. It is an English Heritage scheduled monument, believed to have been built originally by the Vikings as a place in which to live and repair their boats, in readiness for battle.

From Danish Camp it is possible to walk or cycle along the Ouse Valley Way (beside the river) to Bedford in one direction and to Great Barford the other. We just walked one way as far as the Willington Lock before turning round and then walking back the other way a short way onto the Grange Estate.

The robins must love the area because we saw lots. This little chap managed to stay still enough under the bushes to let me get a picture.

There were quite a few ducks, swans and moorhens on the river including a few of these manderin Ducks.

The sunlight looked lovely reflecting on the water.