I headed over to Charlecote as I do most weeks but this time I was on a mission to take photos of wildlife. This as many people will know is easier said than done. The tall trees had a chorus of birds in them. I could hear them but not see them. I had spent the night before studying how to take a really good bird picture so I wanted to put my theory in to practise.
As is the usual way when entering the grounds of Charlecote, there is always something to distract you from your planned agenda but being greeted in the morning by the deer in front of the house always starts my day off really well. I can't explain it because I see the deer all over the park but when they are right in front of the house it always feels special and makes such a pretty picture. It bring much of what I love about Charlecote together.
This buck's new antlers are growing quickly. It really does amaze me how quick they do grow.
''Excuse me a moment while I have a scratch''
There is so much to love about Charlecote but you can not deny that this is a lovely scene to walk into the Park and see. I hear many visitors reactions when greeted with the same scene and it is one of wonder and happiness and very excited children.
I really like this next picture of a buck in the long grass.
Now for those who think deer and other animals don't get close.Think again.This is the closest you will get to a deer hug and it was so sweet to watch.
There are so many changes happening with the fallow dear at the moment. The buck's antlers have grown a little more but don't they look so young like this compared to how they look in Autumn as the rutting season approaches when their antlers are their crown and glory and they stand so tall and proud. They are also a lot bigger in the Autumn, filled up by the lush land they graze on. A link to one of my autumn blogs so that you can see the difference for yourself.
Heading over to West Park I just missed a heron fishing in the River Dene. I see him too late and he sees me and off he goes.
I know a lot of people complain about Herons but they are beautiful graceful creatures and in a place like Charlecote Park which is all about protecting nature, they are in a perfect place with both The River Avon and the River Dene running through the estate to fish from. They can be seen from the main park sat on the branches of the tree which was pulled from the river after the storms earlier this year. The tree now makes a perfect heron perch.
Flighting close to the Charlecote House.
They are beautiful creatures.
A little heron video.
Heading through the Avenue I hear so much noise from the birds but with all the leaves on the trees now they are so hard to see and far too quick for me. I was feeling a little disappointed but then I saw the heavily pregnant does just the other side of the trees. Last week they were so jumpy and would have ran away from even the sight of me but yesterday, they were not running , just slowly moving away while checking me out. I made sure they knew I was there before moving any closer and that I was there to cause no harm. They soon start to settle again and sit down. Never rush over to deer as they will run. Always slowly slowly and keep your distance. Patience will allow you to take the photo you want.
Lots of rounded bellies.
Look on the doe on the right, she looks ready to pop.
Do you think this one is talking to her belly like people do? If she is, she is probably saying 'hurry up and get out!'
Sometimes I wonder if the deer recognise me or not as they seem to settle quite well for me. They must think..'here is that funny person with the thing that goes click click all the time' :) Do you ever wonder what animals think when they look at you? I do and I would love to know!
I thought a quick check on the lambs before I headed back to the main park. The lambs and the rams were very funny this day. The little lambs with their new horns kept running up to each other and head butting. They can really hit with some force.
I looked in on the rams as I headed back and while I was taking photos of this one...
I wasn't paying attention to the other ram who thought he would come and try to look through my camera. Is this a ram selfie?
I spotted loads of fungi. With all the wet weather we are having it looks more like October to me than the end of May. If anyone would like to name any of the fungi for me? Please feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this blog. We used to go mushroom picking as children with our family but it has been so long that I can't remember them all any more.
On my way to the lake to see if the nesting swan had had her young yet, I passed through the beautiful gardens at Charlecote and stopped to take some photos. I was going to include them in this blog but the gardens deserve a blog of their own as they are looking so beautiful at the moment but I will add some of the bees I saw. It would have made this blog far too long to include all the photos I have from that one day.
How cute is this?
A little further down the lake on the path that goes around it, sat the family of Greylag geese which I had photographed before. How they had grown in such a short time! Here is a link to my blog which shows them just a couple of weeks ago.
Here is a little video you might like to watch which I recorded at the same time as taking these photos.
While taking a couple of photos of the geese I spotted a lot of action on one of the islands in the middle of the lake. It was a coot going back and forth constantly. It was very near to where the Swan had been nesting so I watched where it went and oh what a lovely sight. This is what I saw and I even managed to video it. Here is the link to the video...
The coots were so sweet. I am guessing it was the male coot which went out looking for food while the mother stayed with the young. They were very small.
The little chicks were so keen to get some food that they tried to follow their father and fell out of the nest.
Safe back in their nest.
Have you spotted the beautiful dragonflies yet? So rich in colour, they are close to the water but also fluttering around the flower beds around the crochet lawn.
It does not matter how many times I go to Charlecote Park, I never get bored as there is always something new to see or something happening. I love volunteering there and taking photographs for them but I have to say this has never been one sided. I get so much out of it too.I have always loved Charlecote Park and I have spent many days over the years there but now it is all different .It is not just the place, it is the people too that make a place and all I have known since I started at Charlecote has been very welcoming friendly staff and volunteers. I have also found that since I have been at Charlecote I am a lot happier as I have something for 'me'. I have spent so many years giving 100% to my children, I am now stealing a little time back for myself . It has also given me a little more confidence which I had lost over the years. I am so enjoying being there. I just wish I had done this sooner.
Watch this space as I am out again soon with the lovely people from BTO ( The British Trust of Ornithology) and I might have a few interesting things to share with you later in the week. I am really looking forward to it.
I hope you enjoyed this blog too, My blog on the beautiful gardens at Charlecote will be following very soon.
Photos Copyright Jana Eastwood