Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Fountains Abbey, Studley Royal

On sunny Monday we visited Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal, Ripon with a half price voucher in hand. An early unexpected sighting kept us chattering all day. This stoat or weasel popped its head out of its burrow not far from the path & again on our return. Both stoats & weasels are both strictly carnivorous, primarily small rodents, secondary rabbits & ground nesting birds.

Wandering around the grounds, treewards we spotted Nuthatch, Willow Warblers, Robins, Chaffinch, Jackdaw, Goldfinch. Waterwards, a pair of Grey Wagtail flew from between the lake margin & the weir. One of two Mute Swan enjoyed the sunshine at the head of the weir overlooking the lake. Also on the lake Canada Geese, Tufted Duck, Mallards, Greylag, Mute Swan cygnets.

Woodland flowers included Common Dog Violet, (Viola riviniana) growing in dappled shade, heart shaped leaves, edible leaves & flowers, foodplant of some Fritillary butterflies.

Wood Anenome
The aroma of Wild garlic (Allium ursinum) filled the air at intervals. The beautiful white allium flowers are just starting to open, contrasted by the lush green foliage, forming a dense carpet in areas of dappled shade. Important for bees & other insects. The plants are edible & medicinal properties.
Although there were plenty of butterflies, I only managed to photograph this Peacock buttefly. The markings on its hindwings mimic the eyes of a small mammal to threaten potential predators.

On the woodland walk, a felled mature deciduous tree hosted a number of different bracket fungi.

3 comments:

  1. Excellent stoat pictures! One crossed my path a couple of weeks ago but I was too slow to get any decent pictures.

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  2. Great Stoat photos and the overhead shots of the Grey Wagtail show the markings well

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  3. Thank you for the kind comments! We were delighted to see the stoat and doubly delighted to manage a half decent pic!

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