Sunday, 20 February 2011

Worth Matravers and Winspit

On such a nice Sunday afternoon what is better than a nice walk from the little village of Worth Watravers down to Winspit. I have been on two very busy night shifts so am very sleep deprived but a bit of fresh sea air is a great reviver! We left the village and walked down through the field, hills on either side of us lined with the old strip lytchetts on the fields, made many years ago. We got to the quarry which is here right by the sea, you can go in the caves and wander about in them They are a favourite place for bats to hang out.
The views from here are stunning, the picture above is looking east, back towards Swanage.

In 1786 a ship called the Halsewell foundered on the rocks between Winspit and Seacombe and was smashed to pieces, 168 people drowned.There are said to be relics of the ship in many Purbeck homes and some in the Dorset Museum in Dorchester, there is also a mirror from the Haslewell in the Church at Worth Matravers. The ship was bound for Bengal. There were a few survivors but the Captain, his daughters and two neices died, he had refused to leave his ship knowing that his family could not be saved. The dead were buried near Seacombe. After a little time sea watching we headed back up to the village, a gentle climb of a mile and a quarter.....which is alot when you are massively sleep deprived!

The cottages in the village are quaint and old but most of the village is owned by 2nd home owners and has lost it's heart and soul. I know this as I used to stay here regularly when I stayed with a local farming family long before I was married and came to know the village well. This was 35 years ago and even they have gone now, leaving it to the 2nd home brigade.

In the graveyard is the grave of Benjamen Jesty and his wife, Elizabeth. In 1774 he gave the first injection of cow pox to his very trusting wife and probably unknowing sons, they survived and he had created an innoculation which saved lives worldwide.
Just opposite the church gate is this little building in someone's garden, and I would love to see inside it! The chimney is intriquing, maybe it's a potters shed and the chimney is a kiln chimney, but I like to think it's a snug with a little log fire called 'The Hut" as it says on the door!
So ended a very pleasant Sunday afternoon.

Friday, 18 February 2011

A tree Puzzle

I have a bit of a tree puzzle, I think I should learn my tree identifications this year! When I walk with Wrecks I sometimes cut through this graveyard where there are 16 Monkey Puzzle Trees growing in a semi-circle. I notice that the trunks have perfectly symetrical circles round them where I presume branches have been at one time and have fallen off so now they are only at the top of the tree. However I have never seen a branch underneath a Monkey Puzzle tree, so what happens.....or are the council just good at taking them off? I must admit I don't like M P trees and I thought they had no value to British wildlife but I have since watched thousands of Starlings roost in them after doing their murmurations over the graveyard! Also it seems the wood pigeons like them too.
The second thing I want to know is what type of tree is this tall leafless tree in the background? There were 3 of them but one has just been felled. Anyone good on tree ID ?

Monday, 14 February 2011

Buzzards in town

No pictures this time, but just a short blog about my dog walk today.
I walked down through the woods to a field in the town which is used for football and dog walkers, children playing in summer, scout and cub groups playing games. It was wet and soggy underfoot but over the other side I could see a group of Magpies mobbing something, we wandered over there slowly and I saw very close up a Buzzard, as I edged even nearer I realised there was a pair of Buzzards. They flew from tree to tree to escape the attentions of the smaller birds which by now had been joined by a very noisy Jay. I watched them for about 10 minutes and as I walked away I could hear the familiar Buzzard calls.
I know Buzzards are fairly common now but this was right in the town, not on the edge of the town at all.
Lots of singing birds around too, Coal Tits,Robins, Blackbirds, Great Tits and Blue Tits.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

I'm a Twitcher !

This is a rare bird hereabouts I am's a Long Billed Dowitcher and it's causing a bit of a stir in my local park! Now I have to say I would not have known it was rare and would probably have admired it and passed on by. I knew which bird it was by the twitchers all dressed in camoflage gear and lying on their stomachs on the pavement while the locals stepped over them! The bird was very close to the pavement, about 3 metres away. While the twitchers snapped away with their huge lenses other folk just stood watching dressed in all colours of the rainbow, dog walkers and cars going past and the bird did not care a jot! I think it has come from North America.
Still I enjoyed it and it's a good tick on my bird list. I also saw a few other waders and water birds around.

The lake has been drained a bit so that the mud it showing and it is bringing in alot of birds. Someone told me that there is a Ring Billed Gull there too, but I didn't spot it......also from America I think.

This picture doesn't look that impressive but these snowdrops were numerous and just outside this very old cottage they were carpeted on the ground. It's near Badbury Rings (ancient earthworks) and we walked for 2 miles in the rain on Sunday....Oh the joys of having a dog!
The next day was a town walk with Wrecks, while my better half visited an elderly friend of ours who has had to go into a Nursing Home for a while Wrecks and I walked along by the river at Wick on the other side of the river from Christchurch. The Church in the picture is Christchurch Priory. It was a bit of a grey day but not wet.
Am going to look for a Long Billed Dowitcher today which happens to be relaxing in our local park today apparently!