Monday, 17 December 2012

Snow on snow and other odds and ends

Hello everyone, at last I been able to get photos to upload and share, hope y'all think it was worthwhile!! I have no idea why I cant upload for days or weeks on end, any clues will be gratefully received
First up from 1 December, is this picture I snatched through the kitchen window having grabbed the camera in a panic 'cos there was a fine male Bullfinch in the hedge. It promptly disappeared, and while waiting to see if it might re-appear, these two Goldfinches were practising the old music hall routine - you know, the one where the comic and his stooge are each side of a window opening trying to mimic each other and give the impression the opening is a mirror - they were brilliant!

Next day (Sunday) we set off in super fine weather to Germany for a short break to see the Xmas market in Trier, which is about 25 miles just round the corner from Luxembourg. On the way down over the high Ardennes (South of Namur) it started to snow, and lay. Down in the Moselle valley it turned back to sleet
Next morning we got up to snow, and went exploring in the snow - first to the Porta Negra - superb relic from the Roman heyday of the town here seen in the snow
Yellow car!

Looking through the Porta Negra in the snow

Looking back at the Porta Negra in the snow
Walking down to the river bank in the snow

The wider bases to these bridge piers are the original Roman ones, in the snow

Here's Nancy having a wonderful time in the snow - I know how to show a girl a good time!

In desperation we went into a large shopping arcade for a hot chocolate and a warm-up out of the snow
By early afternoon it had warmed up tremendously to 1 degree and started to sleet for our poke round the xmas market - in the sleet which made for lousy picture taking, but I suppose the snow on the roofs added to the atmosphere

Tuesday morning we woke up to snow, and decided to visit the Romanisches Museum which was superb, and not in the snow. Photos not allowed so I cant show you the breathtaking reconstructed mosaic floors and other exhibits. Suffice to say we stayed in there in the warm for several hours, not in the snow 
When we came out it had stopped snowing, and we found ourselves beside this edifice - supposedly some sort of Schule - it was more like a prison!

We turned away and went looking for hot chocolate and a bun down this inviting-looking Strasse, note the traffic sign on the right

To my amusement it directs you to the Meercats (I think) Presumably they would have been hibernating, in the snow
Next up we looked in at the Cathedral which was superb, the lighting was very much understated, and it was warm(ish) and out of the snow

Outside again, not in the snow 'cos it had stopped, was this modern equivalent of an old decorated building - according to the plaque above the lower left doorway it replaced a much older decorated house (I think)

The second half of the market was outside the Cathedral, so here it is, not snowing, not ever so busy either, and therefore good for a bit of concentrated shopping, and a couple mugs of Gluwein, yum yum (or perhaps more accurately, glug glug)

On Wednesday we set off home, a bit anxious about driving conditions. Although the autobahns were clear, there was plenty snow alongside until we got back up to Namur, where there wasn't any
When we got up this side of Lille it warmed up to 3 whole degrees and poured down with rain, only clearing just before dark during the ferry crossing. This rain had fallen as snow here, so on arrival in Dover we were able to drive home in the snow
The short break was good, would have been better with kinder weather, and the market didn't quite live up to the promotion on t'internet. The museum and the bar/restaurant where we dined each evening made it all worthwhile, though
On the subjest of snow, last weekend it became dry enough for the contractors to get on the ground at Winklands to combine the last of the Maize to produce corns to feed the cattle rather than sileageing the whole crop - so here's a surreal sight, a combine harvester working in mid-December in the snow

Woke up this morning ( Monday) needing it to be a fine day, doubts arose when this lot came by soon after dawn (the cloud not the gull which was circling waiting for a neighbour to put food out
However it turned into  a superb day for me and a good friend and former colleague to spend a few hours walking from Sutton to Eastry and back, gossiping away like old men. Through Northbourne Park on the way back, miles from anywhere, we came across this superb visual joke, well worth a couple of photos

Saturday, 20 October 2012

More moths and some colour

Decided on a whim to put the moth trap out last night, having seen lots of moths in flight Thursday on the way back from Sandwich Bay (no Barn Owls, tho'). Glad I did for this morning there was this lovely Blair's Shoulder Knot

and this Delicate (yes, that's it's name), which is a migrant from Southern Europe in the spring, this one probably being a descendant of that influx, even so an enigmatic moth

especially when you compare it's size to my thumb, amazing

and, like Alan Pavey, a superb Green Brindled Crescent

While poking round for migrants last week, I was struck by the colour in this thorn bush - wow

Monday, 15 October 2012

Autumn moths

Well, came back from France to find Autumn had arrived in the old moth trap, so here's a selection
First, a hangover from the summer, a late and tatty Common Rustic - well, I couldn't turn it into anything else. Pity as I have since been corrected, it is indeed a Yellow Line Quaker, thanks to Tony and Alan

One of the pleasures of this time of year is to catch and admire this amazingly camouflaged beauty, tho' it's name is a bit lost on me, a Feathered Ranunculus. Invisible on a lichen covered branch or gravestone

Beaded Chestnuts been coming in numbers, too, lovely warm brown base colour

This Autumnal Rustic is uncommon in my garden and all the prettier for that

and I do enjoy catching these "stealth" moths, I can easily imagine them being trained and used on covert reconnaisance missions - glad to report they are not uncommon here, Black Rustic being their name

Mallow, delicate and subtly colourd (or they would be if this keyboard could spell)

Went out over the weekend to find lots of autumn birds skilfully avoiding my attempts to photograph them, including unusually high numbers of Ring Ouzels - see Phil Smith's blog - Kearsneybirder - for some super pics. The best I could do were these two early morning light pics

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Bourgogne part deux

On the way back from Louhans we meant to cut across country, but I skilfully got lost. In getting back on track we flushed a large BOP from a roadside electricity pole. It flew a few metres to this pylon, and we saw it to be an Osprey, clutching a fish in its talons. Luckily the road was bordered by a maize field, so I was able to get this pic sort of under cover before it flew off again. As you can see there's no evidence of leg rings on this special bird, what a find!

Next day found us a the museum at Bibracte, otherwise known as Mont Beuvray, home to a large Romano-Celtic town until early in the first century BC when the whole community decamped to the 25 or so Km to Autun. When we emerged from the museum the rain had gone so we drove over the top, catching this spectacular view across to the Alps in the distance

Friday found us cycling again, along the old railway line to Buxy and back, with these attractive old structures to admire

Afterwards, resting in the garden which at some time in the past was a quarry

and in which there was much to watch, including the conifer steaming in the early morning sun one day - note the cobweb
there were these butterflies which I haven't yet looked-up
maybe someone will save me the trouble
and there were these lizards to see, this one caught a fly as we watched, quick as lightning.As you can see it's had a near miss, having lost it's tail

And finally, that woodpecker returned after our bike ride and came out into clear view, a super Middle Spotted Woodpecker, lovely

And so home, where these pics of a Canary Shouldered Thorn were waiting to be posted for you to admire, my moth trap not been out since and from the forecast it seems unlikely for a few nights at least

Looks like I'll have to amuse myself otherwise, like getting on with the rocking horse, here's one I made earlier, with a very young Philip