After a long pause caused mainly by the 'orrible weather and nothing to blog, here's a bit of a marathon. So, put the kettle on, make a cuppa, and clock this lot
First, this fascinating example of Milkmaids growing on a log in the water in a ditch at Stodmarsh, amazing isn't it
Then there was this fine male Reed Bunting to admire - I don't get to Stods as often as I'd like these days, but there do seem to be better numbers of them nowadays
We have managed to get a few days away at last, and set off from Gravelines up the E40 into Germany, then the A4 to Kerpen-Sindorf, and the A61 down to Güls on the opposite bank of the Moselle from Koblenz. We stayed in the Hotel Winehaus Grebel, which was excellent all round, and here are some pics from our stay
First the huge church towers in Güls, against a radio mast on the hills miles away
Slogging up the track out of the town beside the vineyard was a good antidote to a day sat in the car
At the top a simple stone-built chapel with this delightfully simple decoration. It was only when we got here we realised that a series of such graffiti on the way were the stations of the Cross
The views got better the higher we walked, and this Rhine cruiser came down the river while we paused for breath. Later, nosily peering into this one moored at the Deutscher Eck in Koblenz we realised how small and pokey the cabins appeared to be
At the top I was amused by this aid to summoning help in case of emergeny, presumably call in the number and "they" know where to bring the ambulance
Next I was impressed by the way this huge building was softened for it's visual impact, it was really effective
This is, believe me, a photo of a male Golden Oriole, honest - all you have to do is find it - we couldn't!
We did enjoy these Roe Deer feeding in the vineyard visible from our hotel window - now that's what I call a hotel view, and it got better. Unfortunately on this day the weather didn't
Some more pics of the views from the hills at the edge of Güls - superb walking country
We enjoyed some smashing views of this Common Buzzard, what a beauty
I managed to take a pic just as it dived out of it's perch
Nancy drew my attention to a medium-sized light coloured bird hunting around some brambles, after a few moments it showed long enough for these photos, and to confirm it was a Red-Backed Shrike, lovely
Having clocked lots of Common Buzzards, this one appeared and after lots of neck-craning and puzzling, I got a good enough look at it's greyish bonce to confirm a Honey Buzzard. There must have been a bit of an arrival, for later that afternoon from the hotel window, there were 7 soaring along the ridge over the vineyard - yes, seven
This is where the Orioles were, in this traffic-free zone, the lower sign declares it to be a landscape protected area, and the bird symbol is commonly used to denote a nature reserve - all I know was that
it was a super walk
Edible snail for tea, anyone?
Mention must be made of the weather, which on Wednesday was absolutely dire. We wrapped up against the cold (6.5 degreesC) and caught the bus into Koblenz, which failed to catch our interest or our imagination, probably because of the rain and cold
There are some attractive bits, tho', but much is just a modern collection of shops
Much of the place was bombed to bits in the war according to a touristy plaque in the pavement near this church which was one of few buildings to survive, and the sun shone momentarily while we were there!!!!
Thursday was a much better springlike day so we walked and enjoyed the warmth, the riverside
the Red Kites passing overhead
The procession of touristy ships heading up and down the Moselle
Friday was coming home day, Nancy drove part of the way so I could take some pointless pictures!! A bio-digester near Aachen - during the time when I was driving I recall this being built
And this Power Station could be seen fro miles away, and on the way home was a sure sign I was nearing the Dutch border and therefore getting closer to Calais
A German motorway
A Dutch motorway - spot the difference?
Everyone is driving like bats out of hell 'cause the Dutch appear not to enforce speed restrictions like the Germans do
The wind turbines are real whoppers, and perhaps the red bits on the rotors help to keep birds away
And here is the latest thing in motorway service areas, the building made to look like a wood!
This is a well remembered landmark, the Michael Schumacher Kart Centre at Kerpen - wow
And finally, this curiosity parked in Güls
And just for interest, the bird list was 58, not bad for a no-birding holiday. The hotel was good value, B & B plus evening meals in the superb restaurant - £45,00 a night each, brilliant