Return to Terra(pin) Island

All five of Epping Forest’s Terra(pin) Island residents have survived into another year

Terrapins Epping Forest

Terrapins Epping Forest

Five is the most I have seen in one go, there may of course be more lurking in the depths, One lady I have spoken says she has counted eight.

Photos copyright QueenMab/Shipscook Photographic. contact simon.ball3@btopenworld.com for commercial reuse

Woodpecker and Son

One of our most welcome garden visitors is a green woodpecker who enjoys probing the lawn for ants. The other weekend he or she turned up with a recently fledged youngster.

Woodpecker and son

Woodpecker and Son

The juvenile is on the left. As you can see unlike the adult it has a speckled breast, a bit like a thrush. I did manage to get a slightly better shot of the youngster a bit later. Unfortunately they are quite easy to spook so the pictures were taken at the extreme range of the camera’s zoom and through a window.

Juvenile green woodpecker hunting for ants

Juvenile green woodpecker hunting for ants

Halloween Pumpkins

Last year I attempted to grow some pumpkins for carving at Halloween. All went well until next door’s bastard cat decided to sleep in the trough and wrecked the plants. Undaunted I thought I’d have another go and on Monday I discovered one of the plants had flowered.

Pumpkin flower

Pumpkin flower

How pretty I thought, then yesterday I found this

baby pumpkin

baby pumpkin

So maybe Cinderella will go to the ball this year.

Loughton After the Deluge

Unlike other parts of the UK we have not had too much of a problem with flooding so far, However during the recent break from the rain we decided to take a look at our local River Roding and see what the local situation was like on the ‘front line’ so to speak.

A bridge over very troubled water

A bridge over very troubled water

As we approached the banks of the Roding it was getting pretty wet underfoot, with quite a lot of surface water lurking beneath the grass.

The roding in flow

The Roding in flow

The water level was almost to the banks and it was really running fast, which was such a big change from the last time we were down here in August.

The Roding

The Roding

In one or two places the flow had spilled over the banks, but thankfully nothing like the devastation in the rest of the country. Of course having said that I ended up flat on my face and covered with sticky brown mud when I slipped in some!

As to wildlife spotted: loads of black headed gulls and jackdaws, some magpies and carrion crows and that was it.

Greensted Church and the Fat Turk

I hope nobody is expecting a story featuring an obese fellow from Istanbul, because they are going to be disappointed.

Greensted Church

Greensted Church

Last weekend took us out to Chipping Onger, a town in Essex that really isn’t very far from where we live. Now despite having lived in the county for about 30 years I had never been to the town before (well except as the terminal point on the Epping and Onger Steam Railway)

Pitchford Hall gets steam up

In Chipping Onger we could smell the coal fires from the railway locomotives

Our main point of interest was Greensted Church, which is a bit outside of the town itself. It’s the only surviving wooden Saxon building in the UK. The nave walls

The stave walls of the nave

The stave walls of the nave and Crusader grave

were erected around 1060, just six years before the Norman invasion, although archeologists found the remains of a much older building dating back to the sixth or seventh century below the chancel floor and the dedication to St Andrew may even suggest a Celtic foundation .

The Leper Squint

The Leper Squint

Much altered through the years and restored in the 19th century by local carpenter James Barlow the church has some interesting features including the Leper Squint by the old doorway, although this is now reckoned to be a tiny window for looking out rather than one for sufferers of the disease to look in!

We hadn’t actually planned to go into Chipping Onger itself, but having taken the wrong turn out of the church car park we found ourselves there

High Street Chipping Onger

High Street Chipping Onger

and decided to see if there was anywhere good to have lunch. We eventually settled on The Fat Turk.

The Fat Turk

The Fat Turk

Where we received a pleasant welcome from the young waiter who showed us to a rustic table

Next time I want one of these booths

Next time I want one of these booths

and handed us the menu. Mab chose Kavurma,

delocious Kavurma

delocious Kavurma

a dish of pan-fried lamb and peppers while I had The Fat Turk Toastie, a sandwhich packed full of sucuk (Turkish sausage), Halim (a cheese not unlike Halloumi), gherkins and salad. Both dishes were absolutely delicious. With drinks our bill only came to £25 which wasn’t bad at all.

The Fat Turk himself

The Fat Turk himself

I liked the Fat Turk and I’m sure we will visit him again.

Pintail

We took a walk around the lake at Chingford’s Connaught Water on Saturday. I was just remarking that we hadn’t seen as many species of duck as we had in the past when I noticed this chap.

Pintail

Pintail

 

He’s a pintail and I was dead chuffed to get a snap of him as I have not seen one in the wild before. Of course being so handsome takes a lot of work.

keeping up appearences

keeping up appearances

 

Other species spotted at Connaught Water that day included: loads of tufted ducks, mallards, mute swan, Canada geese, Greylag Geese

Greylag goose

Greylag goose

moorhen, coot, black headed gull, magpie, carrion crow, wood pigeon.

 

 

Egrets and Wagtails – River Roding, Essex

Out by the River Roding on Monday evening we spotted a snowy egret. Unfortunately it also spotted us and took to the wing before we could get a snap. This is the first time I have seen one of these visitors to the UK so close to home although I did spot one up in Walton-on-the-Naze in 2009.

Snowy Egret - Walton-on-the-Naze

Snowy Egret – Walton-on-the-Naze (shot in 2009)

While the egret eluded us I did get a snap of a pied wagtail fledgling, which I was quite pleased with as these are normally quite busy little birds who rarely stand still,

Pied Wagtail Fledgeling

Pied Wagtail fledgling

Other birds spotted included: mute swans, Canada geese, mallard, moorhen, coot, great crested grebe, jackdaw, magpie and wood pigeon.

Photos copyright QueenMab/Shipscook Photographic. contact simon.ball3@btopenworld.com for commercial reuse

Ducklings, Thistles and Fledglings

The mallard ducklings at Earl’s Path Pond in Epping Forest are still going strong.

Mallard ducklings

Mallard ducklings

There are at least eight of them and they are quite bold, even when mum isn’t about.

Mallard ducklings

Mallard ducklings

In the forest the thistles have finished flowering  and now the seeds are waiting for a draft of wind to see them on their way.

Thistles

Thistles

We have a new visitor to our garden., excuse the quality of the shot, it was sneaked through the kitchen window as I was hiding behind the chilli plants.

Scraggy

Scraggy

This is Scraggy and he’s a recently fledged magpie. I put some breadcrumbs out for him most days, but he is very nervous and spooks easily.

Photos copyright QueenMab/Shipscook Photographic. contact simon.ball3@btopenworld.com for commercial reuse

Cafe Rouge

Our local Cafe Rouge has had a facelift.

New front

New front

So it’s out with the old fake Belle Époque styling and red fascia and in with this more minimal grey. If I’m honest I don’t like it. It doesn’t seem quite so French anymore, but the standard of the food has much improved on what it used to be.  I guess you win some and you lose some.

The Peacock Struts its Stuff

The recent good weather and flowering of the Buddleia has attracted some lovely visitors to our garden.

Peacock butterfly

Peacock butterfly

The Nikon is usually rubbish at close up work so I was dead pleased with this shot of a peacock butterfly from our front garden.

Photos copyright QueenMab/Shipscook Photographic. contact simon.ball3@btopenworld.com for commercial reuse