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Wednesday, 24 May 2017

The ever changing seasons. May at Charlecote.

I think somewhere along the line I must have blinked and then as I opened my eyes we were in full Spring mode. I love May, The grass is a beautiful vibrant green, the trees are as colourful as they are in Autumn only with many different shades of greens, pinks, reds and some with beautiful coloured flowers. Blink and you will seriously miss it!

 West Park looks amazing at this time of year! Look at all the different colours of the trees. Beautiful!

 You can really see the two different types of Lime trees in the avenue that runs between the Church and Charlecote House. 

The walk from the church towards Hill Park.

And from the Avenue into a different area of West Park.

The trees really stand out in the park and look so healthy. 

And if that isn't enough they produce some beautiful flowers too!

Like jewels on trees. 

Everything is growing quickly from the lambs running around the park...

To the does bellies, ready for next month when the fawns start to arrive.

I love the lambs at this age. They are only a few weeks old but already their little horns are starting to appear. I love their little horns!

Most of the bucks have now lost their antlers and in their place stumps start to appear as the new antlers grow.

It doesn't take long for the antlers to start growing back. 

Some of the  Fallow deer's coats still look a little patchy while they lose the last of their Winter coats to show off their new shiny Summer ones. 

One of my favourite things about this time of the year is seeing the return of the Volunteer BTO Licensed Ringers who spend weeks checking all the bird boxes in the park and some of the natural nesting sites to keep an eye on how the birds are doing and to ring them. This kind of research is what helps us protect wildlife in the future. This is my 4th year out in the park with them and I have learnt so much about wildlife and not just birds. They contain so much information and me being me, am always asking questions.  As we go around the park, I am not allowed to touch the nesting birds as that is against the law but I am allowed to tag along, climb the odd ladder or two and take a few photos. So far it's been mainly Blue tits and Great tits boxes we have checked and I have to say they are doing really well this year. Most have between 9-11 young, some are still waiting to hatch but some like in the pictures below already have. These were too young to ring so a return visit was  needed.

They are so funny, they open their mouths to the clicking of the camera.

A short video for you.

These below are just one week older and ready to ring.

And a little older again. Next time we check the bird box in the picture below, they will probably be gone, busy exploring their surroundings for the very first time.

It is too early to check the Barn Owls but soon. I have to say I love Owls, they are such beautiful creatures..

Walking over the old Slaughter Bridge that divides West Park from the rest of the estate, have you ever taken a look into the River Dene and seen the size of the fish in there? The children love watching them swim under the bridge.

The lake has been busier this year especially first thing in the mornings but a new resident Little Egret has appeared. There has been one seen a few times over the years but it normally disappears in the daytime, returned as the Sun goes down. This year a few have been seen early morning but this little fellow below, has decided that the lake is a good place to stay.

Little Egrets come from the heron family and are starting to be seen more and more in this country over the last few years. The larger egret is a little harder to spot and is the same size as the Grey Heron.

The way to tell the Great White Egrets from the Little Egrets apart from the size is by their feet. Little Egrets have yellow feet but the larger 'Great White Egret' has black feet.

Another group of birds roosting at Charlecote at night are a large group of Cormorants. I have been told there are as many as 29. This one below I spotted on one of the Kingfishers favourite perches. I was too far away for a better picture but it's on my list of things to get along with the Green Woodpecker which is doing very well at Charlecote at the moment!

The beautiful Kingfisher of which there have been many sightings along the River Avon and the River Dene. Last year it bred twice and I think that has something to do with so many photos of Kingfishers taken at Charlecote appearing in my Twitter and Facebook feed.

There is lot's of new life on and around the lake and it can get very noisy!!!! This Raven below has nested in one of the high trees on the far side of the lake and now having young makes such a noise. you can't miss it!

One day last week I saw a Buzzard fly over the nest. The Raven was up in the sky withing seconds trying to chase it away. It was only then that I realised how big the Ravens really are. It was the same size as the Buzzard in flight. I really wish I had a longer lens that day!
Rubbish pictures but you get the idea.

This beautiful Swan has been nesting on one of the islands within the lake for awhile now.

I checked every few days almost giving up as she seemed to be nesting for ever but last week I was rewarded by 5 beautiful little signets.

Also on the lake are these 8 little ducklings who have grown a little since this photo.

And these new ones who also nested on the island in the middle of the lake. I counted 7 in this group.

Plus 3 brand new Coots.  Coot chicks are not very pretty but they have amazing colouful heads. 

Have you ever seen Coots fight? It's quite a show.

I am still waiting to see if the resident moorhens produce anything this year. They can be quite shy and dart in and out the reeds around the island so quickly, it's hard to see them sometimes.

Elsewhere in the park I have spotted 13 Canadian goslings and they are so cute! Shame they have to grow up! Baby animals are always cute, well nearly :) These were spotted on the Paddock.

And down on the Cricket Pitch I found 10 Greylag goslings with their parents. I have to say it was like lots of family outings but for the birds of the park :)

I have also heard many baby herons .You can't miss the noise coming from the top of those trees either!
For those who don't know, Charlecote Park has the 2nd largest Heronry in Warwickshire. I think there were 13 nests counted this year so plenty of Heron spotting around the park.

.May is such a busy time in the park and a lovely time to visit. So much is going on and the gardens are full of colour.

The gorgeous Parterre which will be changing again very soon. Watch this space and my next blog.

The border around the Croquet Lawn.

The beautiful Long Border which runs down the side of the Woodland Garden.

The colourful trees around the spinney.

The Judas tree in flower.

And the Wisteria growing on the house which so many admire.

There is so much happening in the gardens that I have decided to write a blog on them alone so I will save the rest of the pictures for another day. 
Ok just two more colourful photos of the gardens. A couple from in and around the Tea Gardens.

The views from the avenue in West Park are gorgeous as always. Such lovely greens at this time of year.

And in Places Meadow the buttercups are out and looking great!

And so are the Jacob sheep!

They finish the English countryside picture of just perfectly.

I hope you have enjoyed this blog. Garden blog to follow shortly x

Jana Eastwood