Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Lee Abbey

Not much blogging due to lots of away time. Went to Lee Abbey in Devon to help with some kids activities where we got involved with looking at God's creation. On my way down I called in at Slimbridge WWT but it was very quiet on the birding front. Once in Devon things were not much better but there were loads of other things to marvel at. Saturday night we waited outside a door to the cellar which was securely locked. The door did have a large space between the top of the door and the the door frame. Our curiosity was soon satisfied when we heard a very unique sound on our bat detectors. Horseshoe bats sound like no other, and there seemed to be several of these emerging from the cellar. No wonder nobody is allowed down there.
Sunday morning was  great day as I walked to the top of the hill to try to get a decent signal on my mobile. House martins, herring gulls, a spotted flycatcher and some goldfinch flew past. There was also a great spotted woodpecker shouting its alarm call to all and sundry. On my way back for breakfast I spotted some Scarlet Pimpernel  amongst the speedwells and lesser trefoil
There was a talk in the morning but after lunch we walked down to the beach to prepare for later in the week.
A peregrine falcon scared all the other birds away until a buzzard decided to fly from the south. It was being harassed by two ravens. I was pleasantly surprised to see a violet still in bloom but not once someone had seen and identified a Silver Washed Fritillary. Another thrill awaited us later that evening. As we walked down to the campsite at the bottom of the hill, a badger ambled past, oblivious to our presence.
Tuesday was pond dipping time which proved very successful. Despite being mid August we still found one or two tadpoles. I was more thrilled to see a darter dragonfly larva. Great diving beetle, fresh water shrimps, lesser water boatmen and a very small bullhead drew expressions of excitement from the kids.
Wednesday is usually a day when no activities are planned so folks can do their own thing. We had however organised a trip out in a boat for those interested. The weather was very kind as the sea was almost flat calm. We managed to see fulmars, gannets, cormorants, a seal and a dolphin.
Using sweep nets and pooters, Thursday we searched for more minibeasts. We saw the usual suspects, millipedes, centipedes, wood lice, ground beetles, spiders, harvestmen, slugs and worms, but our best find was a fantastic bright green grasshopper. Rock pooling was left until Friday partly due to the tide being right. Lots of crabs, limpets, winkles and a blenny.
Once dried off, a visit to the Tea Shop for cake and ginger beer was a perfect way to end our exploring. It also seemed that once we were relaxing, several butterflies came to visit us including these beauties

 Throughout the week we learned a lot about the problems our planet is facing, but more important, how we can get involved in our communities working and praying together as we endeavour to be good stewards of God's creation

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