Monthly Photo Challenge: The Changing Seasons 05, May, Richmond Park

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Monthly Photo Challenge: The Changing Seasons 05, May, Richmond Park

May

Cardinal Guzman has come up with a very good idea and that is to photograph monthly something scenic, be it urban or rural.  To then capture this again in a month’s time and repeat until a complete year of shots is taken.  I am taking it that one should take shots of the same area to show the difference through the Seasons, but I guess this doesn’t have to be the case, just my take on it and choice I suppose.

For those of you interested in joining, don’t worry about the dates, there is no final deadline, just a suggestion, so you still have time to go out there and create a gallery for this lovely monthly exhibit.

thechangingseasons_6367Now on to my photos for Cardinal’s Monthly Photo Challenge:  The Changing Seasons (click the link to pop by his blog and read all about it).

Richmond Park

As you will know one of my favourite places to go is Richmond Park and this is the place I aim to photograph once a month until the year is up.

You will be able to see collectively all the posts on my Changing Season by clicking this link:- Changing Seasons of Richmond Park

I am also starting a bit of a collection of photographing benches, here are two unrelated favourites: – Weekly Photo challenge: Shadowed – the other one you will see in last months post and some more in this months.

I have presented the photos in gallery format but if you are looking at them from a desktop you might one to click each one to make bigger, if you are so inclined and see that each one is labelled 😀

I confess I am so so late on this, I had posted May on my other blog, Eclecticoddsnsods.co.uk, however totally forgotten I had not done so here, so I am aware June is still to come.  Meanwhile, let’s go to Isabella Plantation the long way around….basically I got lost!

So far I have done two posts which cover my favourite walk from Sheen Gate down to Roehampton Gate in Richmond Park.  I thought I would stick with this for the twelve months, but then I got distracted by Pens Ponds and decided to cover this area in a couple of posts also which now brings us to May.

Now I had heard that Isabella Plantation which is situated inside Richmond Park is stunning at this time of the year.  The blossom around the pond cast a vibrant mirage over the water, almost making it look the colour of the blossom.  This I could not miss, so the destination was set, Isabella Plantation it was.  If you wish to read up about this area, please click here:  Isabella Plantation.

But a brief account as taken from their website is:

The Isabella Plantation is a 40 acre woodland garden set within a Victorian woodland plantation planted in the 1830’s. First opened to the public in 1953, it is best known for its evergreen azaleas, which line the ponds and streams and at their peak of flower in late April and early May.

Located in the gardens are the National Collection of Wilson 50 Kurume Azaelas (introduced to the west from Japan in the 1920’s by the plant collector Ernest Wilson), large collections of Rhododendrons and Camellias, plus many other rare and unusual trees and shrubs which provide interest all year round.

Part of the parklands conservation designation as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, the site is managed very much with nature in mind and the gardens are run on organic principles. Native plants commonly grow alongside exotics throughout the Plantation. Perimeter and shelterbelt areas are planted with native nectar and berry bearing trees and shrubs to provide food and shelter for birds, bats and insects. The Plantation’s ponds and stream provide additional habitat for invertebrates and amphibians.

PREWARN – This post is not for the faint hearted, it took us a long time to get to our destination and I shall take you on the journey with me.  It is a nature lovers delight however.  There are plenty of galleries, please click on each individual photo to enlarge it should you wish.

So the trip to get to this area should have been relatively easy.  Being local residents we ‘thought’ we knew where it was, ie which car park it was near and decided in our arrogance for which we paid later, to just turn up at said card park.  This car park was near Pembroke Lodge.

So we arrived full of vigour an enthusiasm and decided to start walking to a wooded area that was enclosed in the distance that we ‘assumed’ was Isabella Plantation….it was not!

After brief respite they started to climb trees yet again, all rather exhausting to watch.

I was however given a floral present to keep me going.  The adventure seemed to be taking rather longer than I thought, after having noticed that the gate for the area we ‘thought’ was Isabella Plantation, clearly said ‘private’, Shrek decided to use google maps on his  phone and direct us to supposed ‘said’ area.

Changing Seasons May Richmond Park

Changing Seasons May Richmond Park

The boys yet again with their eternal energy levels decided to not only climb trees, but jump over fallen ones, then hide in empty wooden carcasses and poke their hands through like growing vines.

We walked what seemed a vast circle, the youngest eventually just dumping himself on the mud, no ditch nearby but he didn’t care, exhausting temporarily took over.

The Changing Seasons May 2015 Richmond Park

The Changing Seasons May 2015 Richmond Park

We then crossed over a road and Shrek said yes we are nearly here.  By this point I was utterly exhausted.  I decided to ask a nearby person on a bench and she pointed us in the other direction.  Shrek was not having it, we continued as he direct and we ended up at Holly Lodge which is NOT the Isabella Plantation.

We did however see some resident deer on the way, they had a curious look on their faces as if to say “I am sure I have seen these stupid humans wandering all over the park” snigger snigger.

We turned tail from Holly Lodge, of which you can read about here: Holly Lodge

My youngest decided to give me a wishing flower, but promptly blew it all himself, I can guess he was wishing he was at home with some electrical gadget to play with.  I decided to ask a couple if they could direct us, the look of shock and pity when they realised how far away we were from our destination.

They suggested we go the long walk back to the car park and drive nearer to our final location, which is what we eventually did.

However, seeing a the car was parked at Pembroke Lodge, mummy took the rare opportunity to insist on a cup of tea.  Seeing as it was semi Shreks’ fault for the extended walk he could not decline.  Upon entering the gardens I saw a bride, oooh and bridesmaids, of course I could not help but snapping them.

I had my cup of tea, and a view as you can see, semi respite, enough courage to carry on

We arrived at the car park to Isabella Plantation, phew, oh my, now a walk to get to the gate!!!!

Now I went in on my own.  The others were busy parking and the kids moaning about “silly mummy wanting to take photos for this challenge” .  So I thought it best to jump out and go in first on my own and get some photos under my belt before they came in.  What I didn’t realise was how utterly massive this place was, nor that phone coverage would work, I lost my family inside and I lost the entrance, oh my…..I am sooo not good with directions.

The plants however were utterly gorgeous.

I was heading for ‘the pond’ asking various people where it was.  They said straight ahead.  It was a long walk.  I got there, no blossom!!!  Then I was told that there was more than one pond.  I then started to panic.  I was asking whether fate was telling me that I really should not be here, nor trying to do this?

I then asked people where the pond was with the blossom.  I was greeted with either “No idea, I cannot find it myself”, or “I found it last week but cannot find it again”.

So forlorn and slightly frightened at the sheer size of the place, the fact I could not get hold of my family, I walked, and walked and walked.  Suddenly I came upon a clearing and heard lots of “ooohs” and “aaah” and eureka, I made it, found the pond I was so so pleased, nearly jumped up and down in joy!

It was seriously beautiful this particular pond in Isabella Plantation, I can now see what all the fuss is about.  Now I have edited, uploaded and looked at all these photos, it reminds me of the sheer immense size of the walk, for which I paid for physically the next day but utterly worth it wouldn’t you agree?

Thank you for viewing my gallery today, I would love to chat, have some feedback, so please don’t go away until another season, Justine xxx

© Justine Nagaur

 

Monthly Photo Challenge: The Changing Seasons 04, April, Richmond Park

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Monthly Photo Challenge: The Changing Seasons 04, April, Richmond Park

April

Cardinal Guzman has come up with a very good idea and that is to photograph monthly something scenic, be it urban or rural.  To then capture this again in a month’s time and repeat until a complete year of shots is taken.  I am taking it that one should take shots of the same area to show the difference through the Seasons, but I guess this doesn’t have to be the case, just my take on it and choice I suppose.

For those of you interested in joining, don’t worry about the dates, there is no final deadline, just a suggestion, so you still have time to go out there and create a gallery for this lovely monthly exhibit.

thechangingseasons_6367Now on to my photos for Cardinal’s Monthly Photo Challenge:  The Changing Seasons (click the link to pop by his blog and read all about it).

Richmond Park

As you will know one of my favourite places to go is Richmond Park and this is the place I aim to photograph once a month until the year is up.

You will be able to see collectively all the posts on my Changing Season by clicking this link:- Changing Seasons of Richmond Park

I am also starting a bit of a collection of photographing benches, here are two unrelated favourites: – Weekly Photo challenge: Shadowed – the other one you will see in last months post and some more in this months.

I have presented the photos in gallery format but if you are looking at them from a desktop you might one to click each one to make bigger, if you are so inclined and see that each one is labelled 😀

This time I went back to the lakes which you saw in March’s post, I also went back to see if those two lovely dollies were still stranded.  They had been saved!  This photo session was done in one batch but my camera died on me and hence my trustee iPhone came out to take over part way.

We started off by heading down to the Pen Ponds Cafe, with sticks and leads at hand we headed up rather than down to begin with.

The Changing Seasons #4 April

Changing Seasons #4 April

Magestic trees to view, yup I think that one way to high to climb, mothers near heart attack all over thank goodness as they walk by.

The Changing Seasons #4 April

Changing Seasons #4 April

However we get distracted by a rather cute bulldog flirting with Teddy and giving him a run for his money, she even poses with a rather crunchy stick in her mouth!

The Changing Seasons #4 April

Changing Seasons #4 April

There are lots of dens again to be found, to nestle in to and then Teddy ruins it all by dislodging a branch that canopies one of the dens and decides to play tug of war with my eldest…sighs!

The Changing Seasons #4 April

Changing Seasons #4 April

He gets chased by some rather small pony or huge dog, it went by so fast I’ve no idea which!

The Changing Seasons #4 April

Changing Seasons #4 April

AT LAST I get a decent capture of a bird, namely one of our resident Parakeets that are copious in Richmond Park.  Though they are prolific and rather bullish they are also rather cute to look at and oh yes rather noisy!

The Changing Seasons #4 April

Changing Seasons #4 April

Then some lovely ladies pass us on horseback from Kingston Stables.  At least that is where I ‘think’ they came from, I did get distracted by the rather wonderful horses.

The Changing Seasons #4 April

Changing Seasons #4 April

I think I woke him…uh oh!  Spotted.

The Changing Seasons #4 April

Changing Seasons #4 April

Alright I shall move on and annoy another…who seems to be dozing.

The Changing Seasons #4 April

Changing Seasons #4 April

Oh great, not dozing but now apparently grinning for the camera, how lovely.

The Changing Seasons #4 April

Changing Seasons #4 April

Or maybe not!

The Changing Seasons #4 April

Changing Seasons #4 April

Uh oh, looks annoyed, I best go.

The Changing Seasons #4 April

Changing Seasons #4 April

So the children and Teddy patiently wait for me to take my deer shots and I am very pleased AT LAST again to have gotten some close ups.  Now we are getting rather hot with all this walking and decide to finally head to the lakes, glorious.

The Changing Seasons #4 April

Changing Seasons #4 April

Teddy didn’t care about dolls, all he wanted to do was rest and roll in the grass.

The Changing Seasons #4 April

Changing Seasons #4 April

After winding our way around the track that snaked around the lake, I spotted a lovely couple relaxing and taking in the view.  It reminded me of spending time with my mother who has since passed away.  Her birthday however was on the 21st of this month, so I wrote a poem and featured the bench post in it.  If you like poems and wish to see it, the link is here:  Eclectic Corner #10 Unconditional Love.

We are nearing the end of our journey now, so I give you another view of the lake and solitary swan.

The Changing Seasons #4 April

Changing Seasons #4 April

Plus a sign that Spring is glad to be here.

The Changing Seasons #4 April

Changing Seasons #4 April

How does my youngest still have the energy to climb up curly trees?

Changing Seasons #4 April

Changing Seasons #4 April

My youngest’s hair competes with a tree…

Changing Seasons #4 April

Changing Seasons #4 April

They rest and finally we get picked up, rather sweaty and tired we all are now!

Thank you for viewing my gallery today, I would love to chat, have some feedback, so please don’t go away until another season, Justine xxx

© Justine Nagaur

Early Easter Present at the Wetlands

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 Early Easter Present at the Wetlands

Wardens at WWT London Wetland Centre are celebrating an early Easter present after three rare Nene goslings recently hatched.  Only about 1,000 Nenes – pronounced ‘nay-nay’ after their call –  survive in the wild in their native Hawaii.  The goslings are out just in time for Easter; the proud parents seem unconcerned about the fuss their offspring are causing among visitors to London Wetland Centre!

Nene Goslings at the Wetlands Centre

Nene Goslings at the Wetlands Centre

 

Nenes, otherwise known as Hawaiian geese, are close to the hearts of staff at the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) as Sir Peter Scott, who founded the Trust, established a captive breeding programme in the 1950s.  At that time less than 30 Nenes survived in the wild.  Thanks to a reintroduction programme by WWT in the 1960s there are now between 1000 – 2000 Nenes in the wild. Approximately 25,000 of the birds inhabited the Hawaiian islands in the 18th century but the introduction of predators by Europeans, as well as hunting, caused the population to decline.

They are distantly related to Canada geese, a common site in London, evolving from them about 500,000 years ago.

Wetlands Centre

Wetlands Centre

WWT London Wetland Centre is a 105 acre wetland visitor centre in Barnes, southwest London, an international award-winning visitor attraction and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). It is home to a wide range of wildlife species including birds, water voles, bats and amphibians. Facilities include six wildlife hides, the Water’s Edge Café, an Observatory, a gift shop and free car park. The Centre also has indoor and outdoor adventure play areas for children.

WWT London Wetland Centre
Queen Elizabeth’s Walk, Barnes, London SW13 9WT

The Changing Seasons of Richmond Park – February

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Monthly Photo Challenge: The Changing Seasons 02

I have undertaken to partake of a challenge run by a fellow blogger called Cardinal Guzman.  The idea is to photograph somewhere, ideally the same place, once a month over the course of a year, finishing off with a lovely portfolio of said ‘area’ at the end, showing the Changing of Seasons.

I have of course chosen my favourite area, that being Richmond Park.

If you wish to see more about the challenge specifically, please click here – Monthly Photo Challenge:  The Changing Seasons (click the link to pop by his blog and read all about it).

You can catch up on the seasons by clicking the category section named “Changing Seasons”

I have presented the photos in a gallery but if you are looking at them from a desktop you might one to click each one to make bigger, if you are so inclined and see that each one is labelled 😀

Richmond Park

I went around the daffodil area of Palewell Common and Fields and was delighted to see the pretty flowers blooming and trying to make a Spring like appearance.

I am sure there must be some kind of story behind the owl in the tree, does anyone know who put it there, how long has it been around?

You will note no deer in this picture they are no doubt tucked away in the forest for it is deer culling season.

My children always love charging down the hill on their bikes which puts the fear of god in to me, it didn’t seem to scare one lonesome bird, of course I never get any birds face on but back end, it seems to be the same case with the deer, though their bottoms are prettier.

It is always a joy to see the various ‘dens’ built by children that pop up around the park.

One of my favourite views is the skyline where you see the striking difference between urban and rurul with the high rise blocks in the background.

Here we have the pond, the swan here seemed to be making a beeline for someone, it really was quite dramatic.  My children spent ages just sitting by the water’s edge for a change not making a noise, I wonder what it was that was catching their attention?  You will see of course some of our well known visitors the parakeets shaded by the setting sun, I almost didn’t recognise them as they were devoid of their greenery in this light.

Next we have the benches which is always a bit of fun for me there was quite a busy time to be had on them in a short period.

A little bit of macro.

We are further down the park now, nearer my favourite tree.  This is where my son plays at leaping over the water, always, always getting wet though he promises every time he won’t.

Wise and majestic

Changing Seasons Richmond Park February

Changing Seasons Richmond Park February

My favourite tree, again I am sure there is a story behind this great live wooden sculpture, perhaps someone will tell me?

My son on my favourite tree, a place he always goes to.

Changing Seasons Richmond Park Februa

Changing Seasons Richmond Park Februa

I hope you have had pleasure viewing this photo gallery, if so please share on facebook and tweet, share the love! Justine x

© Justine Nagaur

Petersham Nurseries Wild Food Walk With Claudio Bincoletto – Write Up

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Petersham Nurseries Wild Food Walk With Claudio Bincoletto – Write Up

FEBRUARY WILD FOOD WALK WITH CLAUDIO BINCOLETTO
Sunday, 22nd February 2015 09:30am – 12:00pm
Tickets:
SOLD OUT (£35.00)
Concession (£30.00)

Discover the joys of foraging with the charismatic and knowledgeable chef and horticulturalist, Claudio Bincoletto. Each walk lasts an hour after with we return to the Nurseries for a light brunch, glass of wine and cooking demonstration.Tickets £35.00 (includes walk, light foraged lunch including tea/ coffee and a glass of wine).

I decided to treat myself to the above, which is the Wild Food Walk from Petersham Nurseries.  Having never been to any of their events I was super excited.  Being a total novice forager I was keen to find out more about what I could acquire in the wild to eat, be it raw or cooked.

My mind did wonder as to what exactly one would find at this time of the year foraging but I was assured upon a telephone conversation with one of the lovely staff at Petersham that I would return with at least three or four foraged items to cook/keep.

Even though I have been there a few times now to shop and eat their wonderful gluten free cake,  the splendour and sense of magic when you enter Petersham still takes my breath away.

(please click upon any image in the galleries to have it brought up to full size)

It was one of those mornings where you could see your own breath and the frost lay lightly upon the ground.  I arrived with a friend of mine and saw a variety of age groups, some with babies also arriving for the scheduled event.

Having never seen Claudio Bincoletto I was rather excited when I spied him through the vintage glass of one of the large greenhouses preparing what looked like our lunch.  I made my introductions to him upon entering and received a very warm welcome and could tell immediately that I was going to have an enjoyable day.

All the eager participants of the event had a few minutes to mingle and peruse the indoor shopping area, to get some ideas and feel a certain sense of inspiration to get planting for the year ahead.

Claudio then made his introductions to all and it was time to go.  As we were leaving to go for our walk I spied next door where he had been working to see a lovely rustic natural display upon the long iron tables, it was a sign of good things to come.

Claudio started with the history of the immediate area and Petersham itself, I wont be a spoiler and talk about it here, because then you won’t be tempted to go and try it out for yourself.

I was shocked to be told that this area which is so wild and seemingly unkempt to the novices eye that this used to be a beautiful wild garden with a summer house.  The rising waters have caused much damage and havoc in the local area.

This used to be a lovely wild garden with a Summer house

This used to be a lovely wild garden with a Summer house since ruined by rising water levels

 

There were a few lovely private gardens tucked away on our walk which always gave a sense of magical mystery as one peeked through the iron gates.

Claudio was extremely passionate about preserving the majestic trees, so many of which have suffered with the rising waters and various other influences.  He gave us the entire history of each statuesque tree with a sense of fondness like they were almost family members. There are not as many left now, perhaps a handful in the wild wooded area that formed part of our walk.

Having traversed the woodland we then had a short amble down by the river, only to turn left back in to the woods and witness more water damage.  You can see some of the preventative measures in the form of sand bags that have been put up.

We were shown two types of wild garlic, now I know they had special names but for the life of me I cannot remember what they were.   However one is best cooked, the other not and just put in salads.  But like all things, one has to be careful certainly that we know that what we are picking is safe and edible and also not urinated upon by the many doggies going for their walks.

Claudio showed us the Artist’s Conk, or rather Nature’s Canvas.  I found this a fascinating fungus.  It is not edible.  However if you touch underneath it is super soft, like a soft leather and artists have been known to draw pictures upon it.   You can see a really interesting article about it here:-  Artist’s Conk

We also found the Judas Ear mushroom which apparently is edible.  I have to say to me it looked utterly disgusting and felt it too, it caused many an “urgh yuk” amonstg fellow walkers.  I don’t think I would want to try it, but interesting all the same.

Some of the trees that have seen better days still strike an imposing silhouette against the skyline.

Claudio explained about a fungus that eats away at the inside of the trees.  Many of the majestic prominent ones have fallen to this fungus.  However what was interesting is that this fungus eats away at the entire core of the tree, you can see this in the photo below.  The tree either dies because of this or becomes stronger, the fact that it is hollow means that it is more flexible in the wind and less likely to fall over in high gusts.

What is the saying “what doesn’t kill you can only make you stronger?”

Petersham Nursries visit 278

We finally returned after about an hour.  Being a visual person I took delight at all the table decor.  The walkers were invited to find a seat, it was all a very relaxed affair.

Once we were all seated, Claudio with various cooks served us bit by bit an array of wonderful foods.  Not the type I would normally cook at home.  There were potatoes in an anchovy sauce, of which I ate far too much, my tummy grumbling afterwards, but it was well worth it.  Lots of raw vegetables, cooked roots and leaves etc.  We had wine and pudding also.  This was something I was not expecting in such quantity and variety, certainly a wonderful treat.

All in all the event was wonderful and good value.  I had gone with the anticipation of walking away with an increasing level of knowledge of foraging that would enable me perhaps re-create the walk and find my own wild foods or indeed find wild foods elsewhere.  However we returned empty handed but I fear this was due to the season and the weather.

The passion and knowledge from Claudio was infectious and inspiring.  He clearly has a wonderful talent and knowledge base to share.  The food blew me away and I thoroughly enjoyed the walk.  I walked away with a full belly and an increasing understanding of the plight of the local area by the rising water levels and interesting bits and pieces about the local trees and garlic!

I am not sponsored to write these articles, I write them for the pure enjoyment and to spread news about events in the local area.

If you wish to see more events available at Petersham, please click here:- Petersham Nurseries Events

© Justine Nagaur

The beauty of the London Wetlands Centre & drowning iPods!

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The beauty of the London Wetlands Centre & drowning iPods!

It’s right on our doorstep!

I think that makes us very lucky don’t you?

Have you been?  Yes, then when did you last go?

I went last Spring with my 11yr old which he thoroughly enjoyed.  However nearly being a teenager the prospect of visiting again or doing anything which didn’t involve electronics was met with a groan and “urgh this is going to be boring 2nd time around, do I have to go?”  Of course I ignored him.

I had not taken my 8yr old, so was full of anticipation to see how he would find it.  In fact my eldest really enjoyed the whole experience again as much as the 1st time around and my 8yr old equally so.

There was no moaning to be had except when my youngest dropped his Ipod in to the pond, yep, it turned out to be a very expensive trip indeed as totally useless even after being sat for two days in rice, which was a recommendation that unfortunately didn’t work.

In fact I captured the moment just before it dropped and evidence that in fact he was not using the wrist strap which he claimed to have done!  Just goes to show, photos come in use sometimes for more reasons than just for viewing pleasure. (evidence below)

 Please note most photos are displayed in a gallery, you can hover over the pics for a brief title but if you double click it will bring up large editions of the photos to scroll, much of the beauty of capturing the Wetlands cannot be seen small.

The moment just before the iPod went in to the water

The moment just before the iPod went in to the water

 Bug Hotels

I found out about bug hotels when I was asked to go and write a piece up about a Community Project in Castelnaugh, you will find it here:  Bug Hotels, Community & a cuppa!

I was intrigued by them and thought not only is it a great idea for every garden to have one but it’s also such fun for the children to build, be a part of their maintenance and growth.

It seems the palette bug hotel is the most popular probably due to it being the easiest.  I was sure though that there would be more elaborate ones out there and low and behold on my Spring visit to the London Wetlands I did indeed find a very glamorous piece of art called a bug hotel.  I confess to being fiercely envious of this one, wishing it was in my garden.  You will find it here:  WW Wetlands Centre ~ Beauty in Nature

We are in the process of building a bug hotel and I have done a little bit of research in to what is the best way to build them.

I have shared the links with you should you be so inclined to give it a try and I will write a post later, once complete on our home made East Sheen one.

You will see also in the last two photos a bee habitat, bees an important part of our ecosystem, without them pollination would not happen and that gives a greater knock on effect as you can imagine.

They are on the decline due to various reasons, so it is important to try in our small way to make our gardens as bee friendly if possible.  There are plenty of ways to do this including through what flowers are planted as well as making a habitat for them.

Building and Insect Hotel Habitat

Wild about Gardens

How to make a bee hotel

White and black swans

I love swans and grew up with them at home.  Did you know they mate for life?

A male swan is called a cob, the female a pen and they can fly up to 60 miles per hour WOW!

Their eggs take 35 – 42 days to hatch, that is a long time.

The black swan was from Australia and is my favourite colour swan.  So striking and to me for some odd reason looks a little more alluringly fearsome.  It was hunted to extinction in New Zealand but later re-introduced, thankfully.

Wetland Landscaping

The landscaping of the Wetlands is mesmerizing, one meanders like a snake between all the pockets of water and grassland stocked full of so many different species of flora and fauna.  Even if you don’t know what is what, like me, one can just stand for a moment and take in it’s glorious beauty.

Waterlilies

I love waterlilies, we never had them in our lake at home and I have always retained admiration for its striking, elegant features.  They are I imagine the most sought after water plants.

This took me back seeing how green the water was here just in this one spot.  My memory evades me to as why it is so green.  I don’t believe algae, but probably some water plant perhaps?

Floral beauty and bees

As mentioned before we need to look after our bees so it was lovely to see quite a few buzzing around.  Can you spot the bee?

Also the distinct colours between the flowers and greenery was almost as if painted, so striking.

Blackberries

Our family is not adverse to a bit of blackberry picking.  In fact even though this year it has been rather poor very nearby I managed to make a lovely blackberry ice cream.  It is extremely easy to make, I recommend you try if not this year but next, here is the write up/menu = Blackberry ice cream

I must say though the blackberries at the Wetlands Centre were second to none, we only had a couple but they were fat, juicy and sweet!

Dragonfly or Damselfly

I spotted this handsome or beautiful damselfly or dragonfly, the problem is I have no idea which.  I always thought that dragonflies were more ornate in colouring, but upon looking them up this does not seem to be the case.

Now from my photos can you tell me which it is and type?

Here is an interesting link on who to identify which = Dragonfly or damselfly

A fungi

It takes some while walking around the Wetlands, always set aside a few hours.  As you can see my youngest found a natural pit stop whilst I found a fungi, wow it’s just huge!

Heron

Now I presume this is a grey heron, though not entirely sure.  There is a section of the Wetlands Centre at the far end where you can go bird watching over the waters that are backed by some town houses on the other side.  It is always odd to see such beauty and then the stark reality of London in the background.

Woodpecker

It is not often I get to see a woodpecker.  Normally you hear them rather than see them, well that is how it seems to be for me.  This was pure chance spotting this one in the distance.  He really was far away hence the photo quality of my camera not so good but at least he is there, I was rather chuffed to have caught him.

woodpecker

woodpecker

 

Birds Galore

My parents knew everything about birds, flowers, fish and so forth being country folk gave them an added advantage.  As a youngster I confess I wasn’t interested, I just wanted to escape to the City.

Now though I feel slightly sad that I do not have the knowledge, I can appreciate the beauty but it is at times like this when I do a write up and realize I do not know the name of this or that flower or bird that it catches up with me.

However, here are some beautiful feathered friends.  We used to have ducks and moorhens at home amongst other types but I always remember the moorhens being extremely shy so it was constantly challenge to try and spot one.  I am not sure if there are two types here, one with red beaks and one white or whether they are just different birds, perhaps you can enlighten me?

 

Otters

The children, as do I, always love these playful creatures.

The Wetlands Centre have EuroAsian Otters, they are small short clawed otters which are not nocturnal so we as customers get to see them which is fabulous.

Otters are included in the Wetlands Centre as they are a big part in an indicator as to health of the ecosystem in being that they are at the top of the food chain.

These two are now at the stage where they can breed, so everyone is waiting with baited breath.

Mother and chicks

I found these lovely birds right opposite the otters.  The crowds were gathering so I drew myself away to look elsewhere and get a bit of space, it was then I saw this lovely mother and her ‘chicks’.

Again I don’t know the breed, however it was fascinating watching how she tended for her young, dipping in out of the water to get food, they would sit there with their mouths so wide open the gaping hole was nearly as big as their body.  Then she would place carefully in whatever she had found for them.

So there you have it, a seasonal update on the London Wetlands Centre, if you wish to find out more about what they do, please take a look at their official website – The London Wetlands Centre

You can book tickets online here – online tickets

© Justine Nagaur, LivinginEastSheen.co.uk

You will also find events at the London Wetlands Centre, the next one coming up is:

Saturday 27 September

Wildlife photography: intermediate skills
10am – 4pm
If you already understand how your camera works and the basics of photography, but want to fine-tune your pictures of the natural world then this is the ideal course.

Based both in the classroom and outside you will explore and practice various advanced techniques and subjects such as

  • Lighting and exposure
  • Advanced camera settings
  • Depth of field preview/ hyperfocal distance
  • Field craft for wildlife photography
  • Bird flight photography
  • Advanced composition – to ensure your photos show what you want the viewer to see

The content will be tailored to the needs of course attendees, and with limited numbers there will be plenty of time for 1-2-1 tuition.  Iain’s wildlife photography courses at London Wetland Centre are extremely popular and places fill up very quickly, so we advise you to book early. £55pp + admission. Booking essential: call 020 8409 4400.

Wildlife photography equipment: This course is suitable for users of SLR cameras only.

Evening wildlife photography at WWT London Wetland Centre Thursday 14th August

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Thursday 14 August

Evening wildlife photography at WWT London Wetland Centre

4pm – 8.30pm

This workshop gives keen photographers a rare opportunity to enjoy WWT London Wetland Centre in a relaxed, secluded atmosphere when most of the other visitors have left. Experience the beautiful evening light from late afternoon until dusk, taking advantage of the changing conditions to capture images that aren’t possible during normal opening hours.

The evening starts with an introductory session looking at composition and technique and you will then head out onto the reserve to spend the majority of the session outside under the guidance of wildlife photography tutor, Iain Green.

This is a tutor-led session and participants must stay with the group at all times.

£39. Includes admission to the Centre after 3.30pm.  Booking essential: call 020 8409 4400.
Location

Queen Elizabeth’s Walk, Barnes, London SW13 9WT.

Nearest Station: Barnes, Barnes Bridge.

Nearest Bus Routes: 33, 72, 209, 283.

County

London

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A swim and a possible crane in Richmond Park?

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A swim and a possible crane in Richmond Park?

People always have this thought of when the Summer Holidays approach and I am guilty of this too that we must go somewhere else.

When I wander through Richmond Park, I often think why?

So myself and my children decided to go to our ‘secret place’ that I discovered with my youngest a couple of days ago when we saw the deer go for a drink.  If you missed that post the link is here: Richmond Park Deer go for an afternoon drink

A few pics from then:

We had various challenges on Richmond Park as they set off on their bikes commandeering the bumps and dips around the now dried lake, then off down the side of the river we went ahoy!

Now I show my complete ignorance here, my mother seemingly knowing every kind of bird would be shamed of me now as I state, I think we saw a crane on the side of the river.  All I know is that I wanted to photograph it with my rather old iPhone (see the excuse for blurry shots?).

So we advanced quietly, as quietly as you can with children, slowly, camera in place, the crane turned that was it, flew off down to the next tree on the riverbank.  This continued with me getting increasingly frustrated but rising to the challenge all the way down the river.  I got some blurry shots but what we did get was an adventure discovering a small part of the river that my children decided looked good enough to swim in.

Is it a crane, can anyone tell me please?

So I sat on the bank and watched as they slipped and slid on the watery/muddy bank, falling down so that bottoms got completely streaked with the stickiest mud.  Tops then came off and bravery became foremost as they not only went in, but really went in, dipping under and attempting to paddle/swim in the shallow waters.

I think most of their fun was had creeping under the bridge and pretending they were trolls, much to the amusement and wonderment of children crossing over the bridge, not having a clue where the noises were coming from.

When they came out, they said “mummy that was amazing, better than gaming, any day!”

Now that is an achievement, thank you Richmond Park.

Thank you for reading, Justine x

© Justine, LivinginEastSheen.co.uk

 

Richmond Park Deer go to take an afternoon drink!

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Richmond Park Deer go to take an afternoon drink!

I have always rather revered the deer or should I say stags, in any park let alone Richmond Park.  I remember the days I would go riding in Great Windsor Park early morning the mist still swirling around like cotton wool obscuring our view, sometimes droplets of dew would cling to my hair as we wandered along the riding track.

The horses ears would twitch the puffs of misty air leaving their nostrils which would flutter giving us an indication something was near, we would stop, the mist might clear a little as we squinted to see.  There before us, just a few yards away would be a huge stag, my heart would race as it stood there regal in its knowledge that it was indeed a magnificent beast.

I digress a little, a memory creeping up on me.  However, I love watching the deer in Richmond Park and it just so happened a couple of days ago, late afternoon whilst still warm they decided to cool off and get a drink.

I watched them go in almost single file across the grass until they got to the river.  Being nervous creatures anybody going close and not understanding they are not tame would cause them to run away a bit until it was quite and spacious enough for them to feel safe going in to the waters.

And this is what I managed to record, for me a real treat!  Please excuse slightly wobbly phone and blur but it’s still a joy to see 🙂

Thank you for viewing, Justine

© Justine, LivinginEastSheen.co.uk

A freaky weekend at Southbank, suitable for everyone!

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A freaky weekend at Southbank, suitable for everyone!

The weekend just gone we decided to go on a spontaneous visit to the Southbank, starting somewhere between Waterloo and Southwark Bridge.

It was my sons 12th birthday and when he asked “what are doing today for my birthday mummy?”  Me answering “going for a walk along the River Thames” was met with a swift “urgh, booooring” and disgruntled looks and a most definite dragging of feet.

Little did he know!

We arrived, the surrounding area giving away no clue as to the delights and excitement nearby but it didn’t take long upon reaching the pedestrianized area along the river to be met with a bevvy of food stalls, street performers and various other things to see, it was a positive feast of entertainment.

What I liked was that there was a complete eclectic mix of food sellers most set up in what seemed to be temporary looking but permanent personalized motorized vans, cars and caravans.  There was even a Lobster Shack set up in a VW Camper Van, the chaps selling all dressed up in their black and whites which set off nicely against the red and white newly painted foody vehicle.

We happened to try the Burrito Stall and oh my, I have to say it was the best I have tasted, my mouth dribbles now just thinking about it.  My children sat and watched the BMX cool guys whizzing up and down the graffiti worked concrete as kids in the background played in a huge sand pit as the boats whizzed past on the river.

There was a veritable feast for the eyes at every step, there were very good street performers, persuading us to part with our pounds and notes at every opportunity but I have to say the standards were high.

There were the water garden which yes got my children wet, shock horror, well one child, the youngest who cannot seem to stay away from water, but all great fun and luckily at the end of the day.

My piece de resistance was going to the ‘Freak Show’.  All of us as a family went in, we were assured it would be suitable for all and I have to say that ‘everyone’ really did have an amazing time.  It was 20mins long, cost £6 per ticket but filled us with “oooohs” and “aaahs” in utter shock and exilaration that we all came out smiling.

The chap who seemed to run the show is called “The Lizard Man” he has nearly his whole body covered in tattoos mimicking I presume lizard skin.  He has body modifications above his eyebrows in the form of a trio of lumps apparently surgically connected to his skull.  He has his teeth filed to points and has a forked tongue of which he does amazingly odd things with.

He in fact outside to wow the passer bys stuck a fork up his nose until it nearly disappeared.  Inside, well he stuck other things in his nose that then came out of his mouth.

There was the lovely flame thrower or eater, I am not sure which but she moved like a ballerina and toyed with the flames marvellously.

Finishing off was the sword swallower with a difference.  He not only swallowed the sword but then embarked on a back flip which if you can imagine how close the sword inside is to things like lungs, our heart not to mention oesophagus it was ‘pretty’ dangerous to say the least.

Warning not for the faint hearted

I do have a couple of videos which I shall be uploading to my Eclectic Odds n Sods you tube account.

But for now, I hope you enjoy the photographs, I must say there are a few fuzzy ones with the Freak Show mainly as I was right at the front a little taken aback and hence concentrating without wiggling my camera was proving to be difficult but perhaps in this situation visually less information is better 🙂

I would thoroughly recommend for families, singles, couples to head down to Southbank for a weekend that is empty and enjoy all that is there.  Take plenty of spare change for the street performers and have an empty tummy to sample the delights, it only takes around 30 mins from East Sheen to get there.

You can find out a little more of what is going on at Southbank by visiting the centres website: Southbank Centre

If you wish to see the complete set of photos from my adventure please click on my Pinterest gallery below, meanwhile thank you for viewing, Justine xx

© LivinginEastSheen.co.uk
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