Other highlights from the UK

If you recall my last post, I was in the UK.  The UK has an abundance of wildlife and the local and national governments seem to have done an admirable job in taking care and preserving what they have.  I was training in the area of North Somerset which lies adjacent to the River Severn.  The River Severn has the second highest tidal range next to Canada’s Bay of Fundy and the Saint John River.  During my down time, I walked the grounds of the facility where I was staying which had nature trails and a surprising amount of wildlife.  Here are some of the birds I saw from my walk around as well as a drive through the countryside.  I also added some more Red Kite images and a Buzzard which we in North America will recognize as a member of the Hawk family.

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On the Thursday before I left, my host was kind enough once again to take me on a tour of the local area.  We visited the town of Pensford in hopes of seeing a Dipper which was reported to be there as well as a chance to see Kingfishers.  We didn’t see any birds at Pensford but we did admire the St Thomas A Beckett Church which is a Grade II listed building.  A listed building in the United Kingdom, is a building that has been placed on the Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest.  A listed building may not be demolished, extended, or altered without special permission from the local planning authority.  According to Wikipedia, The St Thomas A Beckett Church dates from the 14th century and is currently being used as a private residence.

During our pleasant drive through the English countryside, my host asked if I had ever been to England’s Grand Canyon?  I hadn’t and now I am curious as to what it would look like.  As we traveled along I could see the landscape changing and stone walls began to grow on each side of our car.  We were actually driving into the Cheddar gorge which has dramatic cliffs that rise up to 450 feet in height.  The gorge is a major tourist attraction and this website’s front page shows a variety of views.  Another way to experience the gorge is through Google Streetview and I have created a link here.  We found some wild goats that had been released into the gorge area as part of a program to increase the biodiversity of the area.  We ended up in the village of Cheddar where anecdotally they still make the best cheese and have done so since 1170 AD.  For more information on Cheddar and area, visit their website – http://www.cheddarvillage.org.uk/about-cheddar/

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We are going camping next weekend so I hope my next post will have the first migrants of 2013!

Arni

 

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