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River Cree and Newton Stewart, Dumfries and Galloway

Newton Stewart has a lovely situation sitting by the banks of the River Cree:-

River Cree, Newton Stewart

River Cree, Newton Stewart

Unfortunately the river sometimes comes a bit too close. In this photo you can see work on flood defences at centre right:-

River Cree, Newton Stewart, Dumfries and Galloway

There is a lovely bridge over the river:-

Newton Stewart bridge

It seems to be a good place for birds:-

Bird, Newton Stewart

Heron just to right of and above centre:-

Heron, Newton Stewart

The plant growth was making this chimney loook dodgy, though!:-

Chimney Plants, Newton Stewart

Hoy and Flotta

On the way back from Lyness on Hoy to Houton on the Orkney mainland the ferry took a slightly different route in order to put off and pick up at the island of Flotta.

Looking back to Hoy from ferry to Flotta :-

Looking back to Hoy from Flotta Ferry

Miltary constructions go back a long way on Orkney. This is one of at least two Martello Towers on Hoy. These date from the Napoleonic wars:-

A Martello Tower, Hoy

Defunct military building on Flotta, Orkney. Plus trees – an unusual sight on Orkney:-

Fortification on Flotta, Orkney

At the Flotta terminal a woman suddenly cried out, “Look. A Seal!”

A Seal, Flotta

Three more seals were basking on the shore on the other side of the ferry:-

Seals on Flotta, Orkney

Structure in mid Scapa Flow. This was too far away from the ferry for me to make it out but it looks like an artificial island:-

Structure in mid Scapa Flow

Oil Terminal at Rinnigill, Flotta, from Flotta-Houton ferry.:-

Oil Terminal at Rinnigill, Flotta

Tanker and Rinnigill Oil Terminal, Flotta:-

Tanker and Rinnigill OilTerminal, Flotta

Canal Bridges, Bruges

When we saw a notice advertising boat trips on the canal in Bruges we opted for one straight away. These photos mostly feature bridges over the canal(s).

Setting off:-

Bruges by Boat 1

Typical view:-

View from Boat, Bruges

Not quite “mind your head”:-

Under Canal Bridge, Bruges

But certainly do this time. I think this was the one the guide said was the lowest:-

Lowest Bridge, Bruges

Looking back to low bridge:-

Looking back to Low Bridge, Bruges

Bridge and swans:-

Bridge and Swans, Bruges

Furthest bridge on the trip. I think the building beyond the bridge is something to do with the water management system in Bruges:-

Furthest Bridge, Bruges

Side bridge and swans. The bridge wasn’t one we went under. It looks too low for that:-

Side Bridge and Swans, Bruges

Raptors at Gardening Scotland 2016

One of the outdoor displays at Gardening Scotland 2016 was of various birds of prey. There’s actually a place near where I live where someone keeps birds of prey. I’ve seen a bloke walking in Markinch with an owl on his arm. I have also seen them being displayed in a shopping mall in Kirkcaldy.

I think this is a long-eared owl:-

Long-Eared? Owl

A Falcon?:-

Falcon?

Barn owl:-

Barn Owl

This looks like a female lesser kestrel:-

Lesser Kestrel

Wildlife at Mount Grace Priory

Mount Grace Priory is in North Yorkshire, the best preserved Carthusian monastery in Britain. We popped in there for a look on our way from Northallerton.

Just before the car park there was a pond on the left hand side. I spotted a heron:-

Heron at Mount Grace Priory

Mount Grace Priory Heron

There were some geese too:-

Wild? Geese at Mount Grace Priory

Miniature Railway, Blenheim Palace

One of the attractions at Blenheim Palace is a miniature railway which every half hour does a trip from near the car park to a play area, maze and garden centre type thingy.

This is the railway’s station:-

Miniature Railway, Blenheim Palace

I photographed the train on its return journey to the car park:-

Miniature Railway Train, Blenheim Palace

This handsome gentleman was walking along by the side of the station when the train had pulled up:-

Pheasant at Blenheim Palace

This year we returned to Blenheim (the ticket gives free re-entry within a year) and had time to make a trip on the train:-

On the Train, Miniature Railway, Blenheim Palace

The locomotive is named after one of Blenheim’s most famous sons:-

Blenheim  locomotive

Amphibian Visitor

This summer we replaced one of the sinks in our house. The old one was then pressed into service as a makeshift pond for the garden.

Within 24 hours of filling it with water the “pond” had a visitor:-

Frog in Garden

Frog in Garden "Pond"

By this one the frog (or toad) had climbed out to the side:-

Frog in Close-up

Birds at the Helix, Falkirk

On the path to the Kelpies (see previous post) we saw a family of swans on the other side of the canal. A dog was being walked and had to be wary of the adults.

Closer to the Kelpies a more exotic bird was being exercised. It turned out a man took his parrot there every day. It could fly about a bit on the end of a line. I caught it below when it was on the ground.

Parrot on a stick. Well, on a lead:-

Kelpies  parrot

On the walk back to the car the swans had moved over to the near side of the canal and settled down by the side of the path. A wide berth was given and warnings shouted to kids on bikes not to get close:-

Swans + Cygnets 1

Swans + Cygnets 2

This Year’s Cygnets

I was in Beveridge Park, Kirkcaldy last month and the swans have seven cygnets this year.

This Year's Cygnets

This Year's Cygnets 2

My Second Jay

While in Surhuisterveen we spotted a house with a viking ship for a weathervane. The house itself has a distinctive style. I like the railings on the balcony.

While manoeuvering to get a better shot of the weathervane than we had originally we saw a jay on the roof. My second jay! It’s perched on the thatch just above the window.

It moved to the edge of the roof and I got this shot.

Here’s a close-up of the weathervane.

What a great thing to have on your roof.

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