Friday, 16 August 2013

Birds and Bygone Days

 Yesterday I showed you all the insects I found at Micheal and Vi's garden and cottages but just before I move on from here I want to show you these Maran hens with her chicks.  Vi keeps a number of varieties of hens.   Also as I walked round the meadows at the cottages, I hear quite a number of birds but was not able to photograph them as they seemed to want to hide deep in the hedgerows.
 
 
 
 
There were a couple of Willow Warblers flitting about.
 
 
 
 
At the brough of a hill in one of the meadows, Michael had erected a viewing platform and as I approached it, I saw about 50  Sparrows having a 'meeting'.  By the time I was able to get close enough for this photograph, most of them flew into the hedge but the Chair person is still there on the right post and some the the audience are brave enough to have remained!
 
 
On leaving the property, I saw these 2 Pheasants (above)
hiding in the long grass.
 
 
Not long after I left the cottages, I saw this Yellowhammer and I wondered if it was one of the ones that had breed on the meadows this year.
 
 
 
 
On my way home, I had to pass through a beautiful small village called Greyabbey and decided to go and look at the very old historic Grey Abbey.  Throughout the photos I will tell you a little bit about the Abbey.
 
 
Grey Abbey is a Cisstercian monastery that was founded in 1193 by Affreca, wife of the Anglo-Norman invader John de Courcy.    It is the only Cistercian monastery in Ireland known to have been founded by a woman.
 
These splendid ruins of a Cistercian Abbey church and buildings are the finest example of Anglo-Norman ecclesiastical architecture in Northern Ireland.
 
 
The Latin name of this Cistercian abbey is Iugum Dei, which when translated means Yoke of God. Architecturally it is important as the first fully Gothic-Style building in Ireland, it is the first large stone church in which almost every window arch and door was pointed rather than round headed. The monks who came from Holm Cultram in Cumbria introduced this new style and the abbey bears a notable resemblance to Lanercost, an Augustinian Priory built in the Lake District around the same period.

 
The monks would have had a frugal diet, mainly vegetarian with bread and meat was forbidden except to the sick.  Fish and eggs would be served on feat days only.
The monks had great knowledge of plants and made use of them in their practise of medicine. One of the great features of Grey Abbey today is a carefully recreated Herb Garden, containing over fifty varieties of medicinal plants and herbs that you are free to stroll through.

 
They grow over 50 different herbs here now and this is Tansy flowers.
 
 
Now I am going to have a stab at IDing this 'fly! 
Banded Hoverfly - Syrhus ribesil
Experts please let me know.
 
 
Fennel Flowers
 
 
The Abbey was colonised by Cistercian monks from Cumbria. The French background of the Cistercian Order and the English origins of Grey Abbey resulted in an elegant Gothic building with tall pointed lancet windows, the first truly Gothic structure in Ireland.
 
 
 
 
 
 
It had declined by the late Middle Ages and was dissolved in 1541. In the early 17th century it was granted to Sir Hugh Montgomery and the nave was refurbished and used for parish worship until the late 18th century.
 

Life for the choir monks would have had a very structured day with around 8 services I contrast to the lay monks would have only attended 2 services but spent more time doing manual and agricultural work which was such an important art of  abbey life.
 
 
 
The remains consist of a church with cloister and surrounding buildings to the south. Entry is through an elaborate west door (above), into an aisle less nave, transepts with two chapels in each and a short chancel with tall lancet windows. The buildings around the cloister include an aisled chapter house and a refectory with reader's pulpit, although the west range and cloister walks have disappeared. Three buttresses on the south wall of the nave are part of a conservation programme carried out early in the 20th century.

 
 
The peace and tranquillity of its green setting, the bold outline of the church and cloister, the quality of its stone carving, the ruined state of the buildings today all of these contribute to the beauty of Grey Abbey as it can be seen now over 800 years after its foundation.  As I walked around the grounds I noticed these beautiful fir cones above.

 
This dead branch catch my eye (above) as did this old stump of a tree (below)
 
 
 
 
These Rowan berries had now got their colour showing that autumn is not far away.
 
 
A last look at this wonderful abbey and cemetery before continuing my journey home.  The tide was in so not a lot of birds were seen.
 
 
Redshank
 
 
Herring Gull juvenile 
 
 
Black headed Gull Juvenile
 
I hope you have enjoyed, not only today's post but the last few days when I took you to Michael and Vi's garden, farm and cottages.
Thank you for visiting.
MANY THANKS TO ALL who left comments and emailed me with help with IDing some of the insects.

53 comments:

  1. Thank you, Margaret, for taking us with you on your walk through the abbey. It's beautiful and I enjoyed it very much.

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    1. HI Gunilla I am gald you enjoyed the walk. It was very paceful there adn no one else around.

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  2. A brilliant post.
    The Abbey is wonderful. I always enjoy a wander round ruins.
    The hoverfly is difficult to be sure of but I'll stick my neck out and say it's Syrphus ribesii.
    I realize it's not about picking a favourite but the Pheasants are just perfect. It would make a very good print.

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    1. I see you have replys sorted now.

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    2. HI Adrian As faar as I know, I don't so I am replying to you, firtly to see if you get it adn then what usually hapens is when someone else adds a comment, my reply disappears. So please let me know if you get this reply in your email. I have not had time to look up your suggestion for the fly yet as I am dashing out. I fly to the I.O.W. tomorrow and havve a lot to do yet.

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    3. Hi Adrian Thanks. I am glad you got it adn so far my replies are not disappearing. it would be great if this was sorted.

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    4. H Adrian I have now looked up the 'fly' adn it is the latin name for the Banded Hoverfly. Wow! Wold it bee greaat if we got this right! Many thanks for your input, I will add the Latin name now.

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  3. Thank you. This is a truly beautiful post.

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    1. I am glad you liked it. Thanks for comment.

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  4. Lovely photos and the Abbey is very interesting. Have a great time on the Isle of Wight - its our favourite place so do hope you will be able to take some photos :)

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    1. Hi Glad you enjoyed this post and thank you for commenting.

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  5. This was a beautiful walk, I enjoyed it a lot!

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    1. Hi Lynn Yes I thought this post would interest you and glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for comments. Just wondering how long blogger will let me leave replies to them!!!!

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  6. Brilliant Pheasant image Margaret, very artistic.

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    1. HI Roy. Glad you liked the Pheasant shot. I nearly did not put it on as I though no one would see the Pheasants!! Is the fly name correct?

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  7. Thanks for the tour. I assume the graves were of monks who served there. Were any of the graves legible to read? Oh, and I almost missed the pheasants in the grass.

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    1. HI Marcia I didn't have time to go round the graves so I cannot answer that question today. Next time I am going that way I will look. Yes, I was in the car when I photographed them, well I really only saw the top of the males head but decided to shot anyway. Only when I saw
      w it on the screen, did I know the female was also there! Nearly didn't put it on today as I though no on would be able to see them clearly but quite a number really liked that shot so there is always a shot for everyone!

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  8. Wow all them sparrows! And also all of them Redshanks I'd be happy to see that little group of waders. I like the pheasant image too, have fun on the I.O.W

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    1. Hi DOuglas Many thanks for the comments. Nearly didn't put the Pheasants on today! glad you liked them and the Sparrows. Do you know if the fly name is correct?

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  9. interesting post Margaret; I enjoyed the yellow warbler bird and the tansy, beautiful

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    1. Hi Carole Many thanks for your comments. The Willow Warbler will soon be laving us until next spring. I am off on my hols now so probably will not be commenting but hope to do a bit of posting if time permits. Have a great weekend.

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  10. Great post, Margaret! I'm surprised that I enjoyed the history lesson even more than the wildlife tour - let that be high praise for your writing style and informative ways! It seems like a Monks life would've been simple but pure, especially with all that time spent in the veggie patch. I imagine winter would've been a time of suffering however! The Fir cones, branch and stump shots are all very beautiful also!

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  11. HI Chriatian What suprises me, over the past 5 months since I started blogging, is that many people like things that they may not have read before or even contemplated knowing aboutand that is lovely. Glad you enjoyed the abbey adn for yuor kind comments adn complimets. The Monk's life would have been hard, not for the faint hearted.

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  12. So interesting, Margaret. And very nicely photographed. I liked all the bird photos, but I marveled at the clarity of the pheasant shot in the tall grass. It's hard to get a good focus in situations like that. And the pictures and history of the abbey were very interesting.

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    1. Hi Linda Glad you liked this post and very many thanks for your comments. I cannot get over how so many people like that Pheasant shot!

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  13. Thanks for the visit to Grey Abbey Margaret - nice looking place to explore. You did well to get a photo of a Yellowhammer too. They are extremely shy around here.

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    1. Hi Phil Thanks for comments. Glad you liked Gey Abbey. Yes the Yellwohammer was not easy as I was in thee caar adn it kept moving forward!

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  14. i really like michael and vi's nature oasis.

    like the tansy blooms at the abbey, too.

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  15. Yes I think you would like it there and I am sure Michael and Vi will be pleased.

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  16. The abbey ruins look like something straight out of a book, the whole place is so beautiful and peaceful! The Tansy flowers, they look like the center of daisies or sunflowers. One of my favorites here is picture three, that adorable little willow warbler, all fluffed out and looking mad, with the amazing yellow feet. The pattern of the dead branches looks like lightening, don't you think so? How I would love to walk around here!!!!

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  17. Hi Ginny Glad you liked the posst today. I have to agree with you about the Willow Warbler, he odes look angry. I nver thought of the brranches as lightning but you are right, they do look like flashes. Have a great weekend.

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  18. Oh, I LOVE seeing the old abbey!

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    1. Hi Tina I am glad you enjoyed the Abbey. Thanks for comment

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  19. What a treat!!! I really enjoyed this post with all the birds. Incredible birdy day!!! But the shot I love the most were those fir cones! Very unusual and quite an oasis of all kinds of things. thanks for sharing! Happy weekend!

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    1. Hi Chris Isn't it wonderful when people like different things in a post.I loved the cones as well,I thought them quite unusual.

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  20. Beautiful birds and marvelous views of the church ruins!

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    1. HI Ken Glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for your comments.

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  21. Thank you for all your posts about your visit to your friends' home. Thank you, too, for the wonderful pictures and history about the abbey. It is still an imposing structure, even in ruins.

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    1. HI George I am so glad you enjoyed the post. YEs the Abbey is still a wonderful place surroundd by peaceful countryside

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  22. Hi Margaret, I loved seeing the birds especially the Pheasants and the Yellowhammer. BUT--that abbey and cemetery really caught my attention. I love old cemeteries. What a fascinating place!!!! Wish I were there.

    Hugs,
    Betsy

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    1. HI Betsy Many thankss for your kindcomments adn glad you enjoyed the post. Have a great weekend

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  23. One beautiful photo after another! Very nice!
    The detail on some parts (like the doorway) on Grey Abbey was amazing.

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    1. Hi Pat Many thanks for your comments of all the post you viewed yesterday. I appreciate them all. The abbey is magnificentent and I probably should have taken a few close up shots of parts of it. Maybe another day.

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  24. I enjoyed your post from beginning to end especially liked seeing the ruins!

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    1. HI Carletta Well Icould not ask for anything more. SO glad you ennjoyed the post.

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  25. Beautiful birds and flowers. I also like that ruins.

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    1. Hi Rajesh I am glad you enjoyed this post

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  26. The photos from the birds are lovely!
    Greetings from, RW & SK

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  27. Wow! Grey Abbey is stunning! You are very lucky to be able to visit such a beautiful and historic place. Thank you for sharing the photos and story behind them.

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