|Goldfinches on the bird table|
The bird table is heaving with birds, upwards of 20 on it or on the ground at anyone time. There are two pairs of goldfinches, a yellowhammer, several greenfinches, a lot of chaffinches, coal, great and bluetits, house and tree sparrows, a pair of woodpeckers, collared doves, a pheasant, and a squirrel!?! We are getting a lot of enjoyment out of watching them and some great photos too.
As I've mentioned in a previous blog here part of my year off is being taken up by studying to do a University certificate in Biological Recording and Species identification with Manchester Metropolitan University and the Field Studies Council (FSC), see here. The weekend long courses take place at FSC centres around the country. Normally people take two years to do the six 10 credit courses, but because I have only one year to do it and I have the time to study I am doing it in a year.
|Double Cherry blossom in the centre grounds|
My first course was last weekend at Preston Montford near Shrewsbury and is the core module on Biological Recording. Both nervous and looking forward to doing something different, I set off last Friday by train from Edinburgh to Crewe. I haven't travelled by train for years (having grown up on trains) but the whole journey went well and I changed trains at Crewe and caught a train to Shrewsbury. From here myself and several others were picked up by the centre minibus and taken to Preston Montford. This estate has been used by the FSC for many years and they have their headquarters in the grounds. The old house sits in lovely grounds, including a river, ancient woodlands, ponds, paddocks and plenty wild plants.
|Bluebells in the woods|
|Very much needed every evening after a full day|
|Plenty light reading!|
|Cardamine pratense on the River bank|
|A lot of coffee helped!|
The weather was wet until Sunday afternoon, so not pleasant for wandering around doing the practical exercises, but on Monday I was able to have a walk and see the grounds in the sunshine and the geese and goslings down on one of the ponds.
|The field pond, Preston montford|
|Geese and goslings|
|Down by the River Severn|
|The river path|
We had lectures until 3pm on Monday then it was time to leave. I had thoroughly enjoyed the weekend, even though my head ached at times. We got the mini bus back to Shrewsbury train station, then the train to Crewe, where I had a two and a half hour wait, yuk! Coffee, creme egg and a book helped pass the time on the platform. From there it was a short journey to Manchester then a supposed half hour wait for my last train to Edinburgh, which was late. I eventually got to Edinburgh just before midnight where David picked me up. Exhausted but happy to be home, with two assignments to do before the end of June.
|Crewe train station|