Today’s trip took us east and north of Marlborough. Chores delayed our start, so we thought to drift around locally and see what we could see – a few miles to the east to Froxfield, then to Ramsbury, Aldbourne, and Baydon, then back to Aldbourne, up to Upper Upham, and then back to Marlborough.
First, to Froxfield to look at the little water meadow pond there. Sometimes it’s a pond, sometimes it’s simply a big puddle. At the moment, it’s half-way between a puddle and a pond. In the field next door, where the stream that feeds the pond exits, I was surprised – and pleased – to note the rather astounding total of 15 or so little egrets. Surprised, as I had noted only a few days ago that the egrets that visited the area had seemingly disappeared; and pleased, as there is still something slightly odd in seeing this so-recently-continental bird paddling in local streams.
Unfortunately no bird – green sandpiper, little egret, grey heron, carrion crow nor red kite – would come close enough to enable a lovely detailed photograph. So we carried on towards Ramsbury. Chugging up the slight incline to Rudge, I noticed that the bare trees were making lovely shapes against the sun, so I stopped to take some photos.
After this we continued our journey towards Ramsbury, making a small detour to the place we call Yellowhammer Yard, because it was once a favourite of yellowhammers feasting on the farmer’s discarded seed and husks. Unfortunately, Yellowhammer Yard has been filling up with discarded soil, trees, gravel and manure, and is no longer visited by the variety of birds it once was – although we did see a number of chaffinches bright in the sinking sun.
So back towards Ramsbury we headed, then onto Aldbourne, where I made the choice “go up that road there, we hardly ever go that way”, a choice with which Lizzie agreed. Nothing much took my eye, however. At Aldbourne I decided for a change to head towards Baydon, which I have only toured through a couple of times. Happy circumstance! For along the road out of Aldbourne we had an excellent view of a barn owl, quartering the verges of the road. So close was it, I never had time to properly compose and focus; all I have is a rear view…
And so we carried on, through Baydon, along Ermin Street, and then taking a left back towards Aldbourne. There was a momentary diversion along a byway that sadly went from gravel to slick mud with deep ruts, which I didn’t want to attempt (well, not with Lizzie looking on with terror!). So we reversed out of that muddy nightmare, and headed back towards Aldbourne; but only a couple a hundred yards/metres or so down the road, I noticed another lovely ridge-line of stark tree silhouettes…
I liked the wires appearing from out of the frame in this one:
The other photos from this location involved cutting into the wide view to find pleasing arrangements of smaller groups of trees:
By the time we’d finished photographing these trees, the sun had dropped behind the downs of Wiltshire, and the light began to quickly fail, so we headed home, via Aldbourne, a diversion to Upper Upham, then Aldbourne again to Whiteshard Bottom and the Roman road to Mildenhall.
And that is the story of my day…