Tuesday, 31 March 2015

A day of curlews, magnolias, anemones and and a secret island

We had the feeling that somebody was telling us to go to the beach this morning!

As the 50mph winds were back we decided to go somewhere a little more sheltered for the morning, then we'd brave the beach later when it was a bit warmer. We headed off to Staunton Country Park for a look around their gardens, maze and children's farm. We were going to get there before it opened, so stopped off at the Oysterbeds again for 10 minutes. It was absolutely freezing in the wind, so we didn't stay long, but managed to see an oystercatcher, a curlew and what I think is a shelduck. I took some very shaky photos, mainly because the wind was blowing me sideways!

Curlew - a very handy beak for poking into the mud, but you'd think
 it'd get in the way the rest of the time!


Then we went to the country park, which was really lovely. The kids fed some of the animals in the farm and we saw some really cute baby piglets and baby goats.

Feeding one of the alpacas

Baby goats

6 day old piglets

Tiny ponies

Feeding the sheep was a lot of fun
Then we had a look around the rest of the grounds and admired the immaculate gardens. They had a beautiful walled garden with tropical greenhouses and a large lily house. We found our way through the maze and made it back out again and the kids had a great time exploring the playground.
The walled garden and greenhouses
Tropical greenhouses
The honey bees had found their way into the greenhouses
A lovely old lily house - no lily pads yet, but I liked the way the roof
structure reflected in the water
A stunning magnolia hung over the wall
Magnolia buds

A camelia

The library

Playing nicely (for once!)
Just as we were leaving we noticed these jackdaws nesting in a gutter right next to the children's farmyard. Not the quietest place to pick, but I imagine they can steal lots of the animal feed.

The lack of rock pooling on the island had been causing Bug Mad Girl a bit of angst, so after lunch we decided to make the most of the low tide and see if any rocks were exposed. When we got there, a long, thin strip of sand was showing ... only the seagulls could get to it, so BMG couldn't resist trying to reach it...

A secret island had appeared in the sea

The seagulls were enjoying it out there
How to get to the island ... what's a girl to do?

Take your shoes off, roll your trousers up and wade out to it of course!

Bug Mad Island was claimed - unable to walk on the stones,
she ended up coming straight back though!
Then we walked down to the large rocks that protect the beach from erosion. The low tide had left them exposed and provided somewhere to rock pool - just enough to keep BMG happy for a while!
Limpets and barnacles
Beadlet anemones

BMG found a fossil - the rock was too big to fit in my pocket though!
I managed to end up with a pocket full of treasure again (our collection is rapidly growing), so we headed home to take a look at our finds.

Thick oyster shells that seem to be made up of flaky layers.
I wonder if these are fossilized shells?

More lovely shells for our collection

Pullet carpet shell
There has been quite a lot of this washed up on the beach. It looks like
seaweed, but is actually hornwrack, which is a type of bryozoan, which is a
 colony of thousands of tiny animals

Look closely and it looks like a piece of material


  1. You know, if you had a pencil and paper, you could have made a great rubbing of that fossil. Then you wouldn't need to carry it home lol

  2. Great idea - last day tomorrow, so if we can get there at low tide we might try and find it again.