Christmas walks in Nottingham

Christmas Day: The Little Prince

I received a gift on Christmas day during a stroll in Woodthorpe Grange Park; I saw one of my favourite birds. The Goldcrest (Regulus regulus) is truly a little prince (regulus means prince in Latin). The smallest bird in Europe, but with a certain majesty topped off with a crown of gold:

Goldcrest

Boxing Day: An Elizabethan Park

A late afternoon stroll in the grounds of 16th Century Wollaton Park in the heart of Nottingham…

Wollaton Hall

Wollaton Park

28 December: Lord Byron’s home

Newstead Abbey was an Augustinian priory operating from the reign of Henry II until it was dissolved (along with so many others) by Henry VII and became a residential home of the Byron family…

Newstead Abbey

The 6th Baron, who we know as one of Nottingham’s most famous sons, the poet Lord Byron, could not afford the upkeep of the estate. He described the romantic ruin of his family home…

“Thro’ thy battlements, Newstead, the hollow winds whistle;
Thou, the hall of my fathers, art gone to decay”

The Abbey was eventually sold and is now a museum to its most famous occupant. The grounds include walled gardens…

Newstead garden

… and wilder parkland…

Newstead lake

Robin

29 December: toll path into the wild

Nottingham Canal

The Nottingham Canal courses out of the town and meets the River Trent:

Trent

Looking South across the Trent, smoke and steam can be seen billowing from the Ratcliffe-on-Soar coal power station…

Reflection

Ratcliffe

Ratcliffe

In the name of Sir David

The Trent leads to a complex of lakes now part of the Attenborough Nature Reserve:

Hide

In turn this wetland is home to a range of wildlife. From common ducks such as:

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)

Mallard

… and Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula):

Tufted Duck

… to the less frequently seen, such as these distant shots of female and male (left to right) Goosander, or Common Merganser, (Mergus Merganser):

Goosander

I also had fun exchanging whistles with a very bold (but tiny) Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes):

Wren

… and trying, and failing, to get a good photo of an elusive Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis). This was the best I got:

Kingfisher

But the treat for me, was to see Tree Sparrows – rarer cousins of House Sparrows – (Passer montanus) at feeders at the reserve, as they have been almost wiped out from southern parts of England:

Tree Sparrow

As we eat, drink, make merry, and nurse winter colds, it is pleasant to get out in the fresh air, walk, and appreciate some of the beautiful sights that places – such as Nottingham – have to offer.

Happy New year everyone!

Attenborough

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