Sunday, 24 April 2016

The arrival of summer visitors

The sun is shining, leaves are slowly appearing on the branches, flowers are lifting their heads above the earth and hordes of summer visitors of the bird variety are arriving on our shores from distant lands. Their journey has often been long and hazardous. It must be a relief to see land once more, and find a safe place to rest and refuel before (for many) heading further inland.


As part of my year of rekindling my sense of wonder in the earth,sea and skies we went on a guided walk in the local nature reserve at West Bexington, which is tucked behind the shingle of the Chesil beach searching for migrant birds.

Dorset is in a popular stop off on the bird migration route. Many of the birds fly over from the Cherbourg Peninsula in France. The first land mass they reach is Portland and from there they will fly along the coast either east or west. Tracking and new technology has allowed us to learn so much more about their routes. It is estimated throughout the world that over 40% of all birds migrate and with a good wind behind them, a bird can cover 1000 Km in 24 hours (see RSPB for more detailed inforrmation about migration.



The views in and around the reserve were spectacular. We saw many birds that we would not have recognized or noticed without the expert guidance. We spotted 38 Whimbrel (a wading bird similar to a curlew),wheatear, common sandpiper, lesser whitethroat, common scoter, tufted duck, shelduck,. They either moved too fast, or were too far in the distance to photograph. The sound of the birdsong mingled with the sound of the new born lambs, this one below had just been born.


Within the reserve was also other surprises of a flowering nature.....
Early purple orchid, false oxslip (a hybrid between a primrose & cowslip, and a marsh marigold.)

There are 47 Wildlife Trusts in the UK which manage 2,300  Wildlife Reserves the majority of which are free to visit all year around.Do you visit any local reserves or a regular basis?  Do other countries have many nature reserves too? There is no better way to celebrate Spring and in their words... 

"
Spring is showtime, with the almost ridiculously sumptuous shag-pile carpets of bluebells and the deafening chorus at dawn..This is Wild Time in its Hope Mode: when everything seems possible and the next miracle of life is just around the corner: or coming along in the next minute, if only you’ll stop your busy life for a moment and wait for it. Life is teeming all around you: in a hurry to create more life before it’s too late."

After our morning birdwatch we walked from home to a nearby wood to enjoy the carpet of bluebells. I always find it so difficult to capture their vibrant colour. We stopped at this gate to admire the view and appreciate how lucky we are to live in such wonderful surroundings. I often get complimentary comments about my images, but with such amazing scenery it is not difficult to produce a good picture!





Earlier in the week the cliffs opposite us were glowing in the evening light, which encouraged me to go down to the bay to enjoy the sunset. The seagulls were already there admiring the view and as the sun set the sky was shrouded in this orange glow. The two people below enjoying the view from the rocks made perfect silhouettes, reminding me so much of an Anthony Gormley sculpture.


 I hope you have been able to enjoy some wildlife this week too.

Sarah x

52 comments:

  1. Beautiful, just beautiful! Lovely to see your spring progressing. Ours is so much behind and it seems to have come to a halt: we had some sleet over the weekend and more is expected before Monday morning, I'm afraid.

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    1. I'm sorry your spring is so far behind ours. Sarah x

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  2. Such a beautiful place. The pictures are beautiful. I could almost hear the birds and the sheep as you described them.

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  3. Amazing landscape! And your photographs have captured it well. I am still waiting for my English Bluebells to bloom this year--their second. Last year only a few of the 80 bloomed. I wonder if deer eat Bluebells? That may be why I have so few blossoms.

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    1. We often have deer in our woodlands too. I suspect it may have something to do with the growing conditions eg temperature or light. It must be so frustrating to see no flowers. Sarah x

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  4. Thanks for sharing your wonderful adventure with us, Sarah! I have yet to see a field of Bluebells up close and personal, but I hope to one day. We do have nature preserves here in Oregon and wanted to go to one on Saturday, but ended up going to a local new to us plant nursery where we were given a lovely hanging basket of flowers. I can't remember if I have mentioned seeing the waves of Aleutian geese flying north from Castle Rock in Crescent City, CA, but I know you would love to see the sight...thousands of birds writing V's across the
    sky. xx

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    1. Those geese must be an amazing sight! Sarah x

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  5. So very beautiful Sarah, you are really a lucky one to live there. I scrolled up and down, so good to have an expert guided walk, for it´s so difficult to determine the immense variety of birds. We remain learning....
    My Spanish bluebells are flowering in the garden now and within a few weeks we go to England where we sure will see your English bluebells again.
    Regards, Janneke

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  6. Your pictures are stunning, especially the silhouette one! We very occasionally visit Torcross in Devon where there's a nature reserve opposite Slapton beach but after reading your lovely post I really want to go there again! Have a good week Sarah!
    Jess x

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  7. I never tire of looking at your amazing photos and the spectacular scenery of Dorset. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful landscape with us. xx

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  8. A lovely place to visit. I enjoy looking over my garden fence into the field. We are very lucky to have a pair of buzzards nesting close by xx

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  9. I could get lost in these photos...I have missed the recent posts but I'm now here to enjoy your photographs, utterly wonderful.Woods, wild life, what would be the lovieliest target to capture?Thanks for letting us tag along...
    Olympia

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  10. Our bluebells are just beginning. I know what you mean about photographing them, I always struggle too. The picture I get through the viewfinder is far more intense than the photo actually turns out. We had to chase a deer out of the bluebells yesterday! Love your sunset photos, really beautiful Sarah.

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  11. What an inspiring post and glorious photos Sarah. You have prompted me to think of our nature reserve in st ouen. Definitely time to make a visit. Have a lovely week. B x

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  12. Such a beautiful post! You have captured spring so well in your words and photos.
    Your Early Purple Orchid really is early, and how wonderful to hear the calls of migrating birds on the coastal marshes.
    I particularly like the last view, across the gates and the downward slope towards the sea.

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  13. Liebe Sarah, die Bilder sind traumhaft,besonders das letzte. Ich finde es auch schwierig, die Bluebells richtig zu fotografieren, sie sind so schön und in unserem Hang vor dem Haus fließen sie wie ein Fluß nach unten. Im Garten mag ich sie nicht so sehr, weil sie sich so breitmachen. Wildvögel können wir hier auch beobachten, nur momentan ist so kalt, es schneit und hagelt seit gestern wieder. Erst vorhin wurde ich komplett vollgehagelt, als ich draußen war.

    Sigrun

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  14. That sounds brilliant! The bluebells are just coming into flower here now, I've just seen odd ones so far!

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  15. I loved taking this pictorial journey with you. The last pic of the sunset is amazing!

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  16. As if Dorset couldn't get any better... Ah, lovely Dorset.

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  17. Your pictures are always so beautiful Sue that they make my heart ache a bit, but always in a good way. What a wonderful idea to do the guided walk. I had np idea a bird could go as far as 1000 km in a 24 hour period. Incredible!o

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  18. And of course as soon as I hit publish I realized I had said Sue instead of Sarah! My apologies for not having proofread what I was typing.

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  19. That last photo is especially stunning! I had no idea birds could fly so far in 24 hours - what an amazing fact.
    I've seen otters twice in the last 10 days so am a very happy wildlife spotter!
    Hope you have many more lovely outdoor moments in the coming weeks. Juliex

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  20. Hey Sarah,
    What wonderful pictures. The orange glow of the sunset is breath taking! I agree that it is difficult to capture that haze of colour of a carpet of bluebells. I have tried - and failed - many times!
    My latest nature spot is a leaf cutter beetle, and a truly enormous red tailed bumble in the greenhouse.
    Have a lovely week.
    Leanne xx

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  21. How neat to hear about the migratory birds you encountered! My husband and I have been relishing the arrival of our "summer visitors" just this last week, though not all are exotic (but thoroughly enjoyable to have in our yard). I'm particularly happy to welcome back the robins and varied thrushes. The butterflies are also flitting about, and I'm hoping to spot some sandhill cranes flying overhead as they make their way to their nesting grounds!
    We have a really lovely bird sanctuary just minutes from home where you can walk boardwalks suspended over marshy wetlands that SO many varieties of birds love, and in late summer you can even watch salmon spawning. It's not uncommon to see big bear tracks in the mud during summer (or see a bear itself).

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  22. I'm glad our wildlife is not so big, I'm don't think I would want to come across a bear in a nature reserve! Sarah x

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  23. How beautiful!!!! Ooh, I've shown my children pictures of whimbrels because we listen to them and imitate their bird song in year 2, how great to see 38 of them!!!! The flowers and the nature around you is sumptuous!x

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  24. You are in such a wonderful place to see the summer visitors arriving. I've seen swifts arrive in Cornwall; so many of these little birds make such an amazing journey. It is enjoyable tracking some these birds on line. Beautiful photos of the spring flowers including those lovely bluebells and of course the adorable lamb!
    Thank you, too, for your kind words on olddogsnewtruck blog xx

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  25. What a good idea to have a guided walk. When we visit our local nature reserves we are never able to spot any unusual birds. The bluebells are out in the garden and our local bluebell woods are starting to look blue as we drive past. There are plenty of newborn lambs in the fields too. I love these signs of Spring.

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  26. Hi Sarah, when I read the heading I thought, visitors already....in this weather?? and then I read further. I love hearing birdsong in the mornings, it really defines Spring like no other. I'm not really a bird watcher but growing up we had swallows in South Africa who nested under our front door and every year they came back, had chicks and then went off again in winter, to return in summer. Incredibly clever how they know where they live. Lovely post Sarah! Sharon x

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  27. Dearest Sarah! HELLO! Happy spring to you! We too have been seeing (and hearing) the Canada geese coming back to enjoy lakeside. We are seeing flashes of bright red as the male cardinals stake their territory, and the yellow finches in flight against such blue skies looks like gold raining from the sky.

    ENGLAND IS GORGEOUS!!!!!!!

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  28. Gorgeous photos. My favourite is the very last one, the orange sky . . . I'd love to paint it.
    I know what you mean about the colour of bluebells; there's an area in a copse of trees that is thick with bluebells and from a short distance away the colour is stunning - a deep lavender blue. But the camera lies - they just look blue. So frustrating.

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  29. Tomorrow we are going to walk at Silvermine. To see what flowers after the mountain fire.

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  30. Lovely post as always, there is so much to see and do in Dorset! I love the bluebells... we would never see them growing wild around here. The sunset is magic, and I agree, you look as if you have an Antony Gormley sculpture right there. Enjoy spring.

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  31. I enjoyed this beautiful walk, Sarah. And that sunset!
    Amalia
    xo

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  32. More gorgeous photos, Sarah! Seeing migrating birds arrive is surely one of the most amazing sights - we get quite a few along this stretch of the coast too. I saw a swallow whizz off the sea and onto land a couple of weeks ago and it made my heart skip a beat. Noticing and really seeing all this beauty - we are so privileged. Thank you for sharing your wonderful images and experiences. Have a great week. Sam x

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  33. Dear Sarah,

    here the Winter is back. Snowy rain yesterday. Hope that the apple and pear blossoms survive this horrible weather. Have no green house so I hope the vegetable we planted is strong enough.
    I love the picture with the view to the sea and the sundown most. For me, the people are looking like Giacometti sculptures. Wonderful impressions.
    ....waiting for the April issue of the Garden Gate...

    Hugs Barbara

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  34. Hello, I have just found your blog via Design Dreams. This is such a lovely post. Your photos are beautiful, I'm so envious of where you live. I love the newborn lamb one, and the view over the gate, and the last one is stunning.

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  35. Such wonderful photos once again. I love seeing the English countryside and seaside through your eyes.

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  36. Isn't it wonderful to see the birds returning and the signs of spring appearing all around. So heartwarming.

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  37. Oh my goodness, your photos were stunning! How beautiful...I could almost pick the flowers (which I never hardly ever do though))))). You must keep a birding journal so you can compare arrival times. We have had the ospreys arrive last week which is always a treat and the Blue Herons are back fishing nearby. All is good. Keep well.

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  38. So beautiful! I hope to see it all in person some day. Meanwhile I love reading your posts and seeing your beautiful photos.

    xo

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  39. I think you must have sucked up all the sun for miles around. We have none, but the wild flowers this year are stunning.

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  40. Lots of bluebells around here in Devon as well. Where exactly is the gateway you pictured with the beautiful view down to the sea?

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    1. It is at the top end of Eype Down on the footpath towards Thorncombe Beacon looking towards Seatown. If you come this way a visit to Down House Farm Garden cafe is highly recommended, it is a gem,(it's not open on Mondays apart from bank holidays.)

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  41. Wasn't the weather wonderful when you took these photo's ...

    A joy to read your post.
    A joy to look at your post.

    All the best Jan

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  42. Hi Sarah, stunning photos! Looks like you had lovely weather then too!

    I just wanted to let you know that I've nominated your for the Liebster Blog Awards. Please have a look at my latest blog post for more details!

    Em x

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    1. Thanks Em for honouring me with this award. I do appreciate it so much. A few years ago I did decide to make this blog award free as with so many followers and limited blogging time at times I find it difficult to keep up with everyone who is kind enough to leave me comments. Congratualtions on you also receiving the award I always enjoy reading your blog and learning about Barry's latest advetures! Sarah x

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  43. Nature gives the best show!! I love to see the geese migrating. We are new at this present residence and I we are pleasantly surprised to see so many ducks, geese and many other species of birds around here. You have a wonderful post! Truly enjoy all the photos and in particular the photo with gate and the sea can be seen in background.

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  44. I love visiting to see the beautiful countryside and beaches of England.

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  45. How gorgeous is that sunset! We have a curlew round here at the moment that is keeping me amused xxx

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  46. Hi Sarah,

    Nature is wonderful and you have shared some lovely photos. Interesting to learn about bird migration and I find it fascinating how far they travel sometimes. Bluebells and the sunset are gorgeous too.
    Enjoy the weekend
    Hugs
    Carolyn

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