As you may know, the park and wider landscape at Compton Verney, as well as being a designed landscape, features many different ecological habitats that are very attractive to wild flowers and creatures. Whilst we naturally manage the venue for its landscape garden qualities, we are also therefore, very much aware of its ecological importance, and we always aim to manage the landscape accordingly. I would even go as far as saying that most of our landscape management regime is based around its wild flora or fauna requirements, as opposed to managing the landscape purely for ornamental reasons. Understanding this, and that around half of the grounds volunteer team have roles devoted to wildlife or habitat recording or management, it wasn’t going to be long before we were ready to stage an event dedicated to The Wilder Side of Compton Verney! Indeed we watched with pride recently whilst our assembled team of naturalists and wildlife champions engaged visitors with the wonderful flora and fauna of Compton Verney and the local area. Throughout the day a range of displays and activities were assembled to share information on badgers, fungi, moths, trees and wild flowers, along with bees, hedgehogs, birds […]
Fungi, as fascinating and prolific as they are, are a world away from the ‘comfortable’ horticultural world I occupy. They are hugely valuable though, and their presence in a natural landscape or garden offers much more than a short term unusual feature or splash of colour. For example,
Top 30 Bird species to see at Compton Verney Interested in bird watching? If your answer is yes and you are in reach of south Warwickshire then Compton Verney could be worth a visit. Although an art gallery with all the modern conveniences, Compton Verney happens to be situated in 120 acres of designed landscape and is surrounded by many more acres of woodland and beautiful countryside; it is quite simply a magnet for a wide range of bird species! Connected woodland parcels, hedgerows and streams direct birds from surrounding farmland to the wildlife site that is Compton Verney, and with an ever-growing path network that is easy to navigate, not to mention our bird hide; opportunity to spot birds is better than ever! Over 100 bird species recorded. Bird species recorded on site topped the 100 mark last year, and all were sightings by our resident bird spotter Alwyn Knapton who visits each week, adding to our knowledge of resident and migratory birds that rely on Compton Verney. From the lists I’ve picked out 30 that are typically seen, and the areas where you’re most likely to see them. If you’re a keen bird watcher, I’d suggest bringing some binoculars and dressing up in greens to maximise your chances […]
Red-eyed Damselfly (Erythromma najas) – found here playing poo-sticks by the Adam Bridge. (Photo-RSM) Over the last few weeks I have been sent some wonderful images of Flying Visitors at Compton Verney, taken by two volunteers; Arthur Owens and Michael Robertson-Smith. Some of the species weren’t identified so I felt duty bound to obtain names for information sake, as not only does it add to your interest but it’s hugely informative, directing our attention towards the host plants and habitat each species enjoys. In this respect, (and given the lack of time to research) if I’m out on identification please let me know through the comments section and I’ll research/adjust as necessary. I must say that identification was helped through two very useful websites, and to this end I am hugely grateful to both the British Dragonfly Society and Butterfly Conservation – Both of these organisations are presently offering challenges for wildlife spotters (The Big Butterfly Count 2017 & The Dragonfly Challenge) so please do check out the links in each case.
Welcome to the latest news from the grounds team at Compton Verney – Landscape & Garden Update – 05.04.17. Landscape and Garden Generally speaking, the weather through late winter into spring has been mild, encouraging a steady and more traditional flowering period for plants throughout the grounds. The good quality footpaths we’ve installed over the last few years make Compton Verney a great venue for some early season fresh air, and especially so for wheelchair users (Do check our Access in the park information.) All the paths follow historic and designed routes, meaning you’re never far from a group of flowers in the grass or within the woodland garden areas, and there’s always a significant landscape vista around the next corner – a true landscape garden indeed. spring flowers Over the years, drifts of spring bulbs have been established, and we’ve worked over the last few years to spread these through division and supplementary planting. The horticultural effort over many years is finally coming to fruition now, and for a property that is more often known for its sweeping parkland, lake and stately trees; we’re gradually gaining recognition as a garden property. From early season winter aconites, through snowdrops and hellebores, to daffodils and windflowers; spring offers a surprising variety of blossom […]
Between the South and West (Wild flower) Lawn is a grove of mature Lime Trees at Compton Verney. Planted in a horseshoe pattern, and between the trees a gravelled, serpentine path snakes through the grass. Standing stately as high as the mansion itself, the trees are largely pollarded specimens where the top branches have been pruned back, whilst way below Winter Aconites carpet the ground with their yellow blooms showing from Christmas through to early February. The trees themselves are beautiful, dating from the eighteenth and nineteenth century, and were planted we believe to frame views to and from the mansion house. Aside from their aesthetic value, they also offer a wealth of opportunity for wildlife, and offer a very important roost for Noctule Bats. The trees are certainly worth seeking out if you visit Compton Verney, and are unmistakable at any time of year due to their distinctive form – branches sweeping the ground, large protruding buttresses supporting each trunk, and dense clusters of twiggy growth around three metres above the ground. At any time of year they are beautiful to see, with refreshing lime green leaves in spring moving to butter yellow through autumn. The image above was captured in November 2016 looking south, with the middle pool […]
If butterflies and moths are your thing, or you simply appreciate a good photograph, then this web page titled ‘Winged Visitors to Compton Verney’ is for you. We’re very aware of the rich environment that surrounds us, yet whilst we celebrate its artistic merits, we also embrace its wild side and do all we can to nurture and encourage this. To this end, we endeavour to learn as much as we can about the different species that visit or reside both in the garden and surrounding areas. Awareness is one thing, but increasing our knowledge is another and so this year the grounds team were joined by a volunteer with an eye for butterflies and winged insects in particular. Arthur Owens visited on numerous occasions during the warmer months, and despite a mid season start still managed to record and photograph a good number of species. As little is now to be seen, Arthur assembled his list for us, and a potted version of those that were captured on camera are shown below. The wider list will hopefully expand in coming years and be useful in our management of the outside spaces. We hope that the listed species have been accurately identified, but if you have any comments or […]
One of our recent #CVgrounds volunteer recruits has been out and about photographing Butterflies at Compton Verney in July. With the Old Town Meadow, East Park, and the West Lawn maturing as wild flower meadows, not to mention a good amount of woodland and lake area; we’re rapidly becoming a drop-in centre for most local wildlife which includes some beautiful butterflies! If you’d like a stroll around to see for yourself there’s a link at the bottom of this post to visiting information, and I’d recommend in respect of butterflies visiting before the middle of August, by which time we’ll have cut the larger part of the meadow areas. Tip – a sunny day is by far better for butterfly spotting, with many species only venturing out when the sun shines! Below are a handful of stunning photographs snapped mostly by volunteer Arthur Owens that give a flavour of what can be seen during early July for example. From a grounds management perspective the images and accompanying field notes help to build a picture of butterfly and moth species that live or visit Compton Verney throughout the season, which in turn helps us select the best management options for the many areas available to us. ‘Capability’ Brown, when he completed the re-design of the Compton Verney landscape may or […]
It’s volunteer photograph time again, and this time yet again it’s some wonderful images of damselflies, which have all been photographed in three locations within the parkland at Compton Verney. We’re focusing afresh on butterflies, moths and damselflies and in a similar method to bird surveying, will be carrying out recording sessions with volunteers over the coming seasons.
Latest image from spotter Alwyn Knapton, a Nuthatch clicked in a woodland garden area at Compton Verney, taken on January 14th 2016. © Compton Verney 2016, by Alwyn Knapton 2016
Alwyn: My first visit of 2016 [to Compton Verney] on a rather overcast and damp day produced 36 species including the return of a Goosander.
Feedback from a bird survey at Compton Verney, early December 2015: The survey started at 8:30am on a rather windy day, but
A challenging year for the volunteer bee keeper at Compton Verney.
Interested in bird watching? If your answer is yes, and you are in the south Warwickshire area then Compton Verney could be worth a look. Although an art gallery with all the modern conveniences, it does happen to be situated in 120 acres of designed landscape – it is quite simply a bird magnet! Adjacent woodland and streams direct birds from surrounding farmland to our large lake, parkland and woodland garden areas, and with an ever-growing path network that is easy to navigate; opportunity to see birds is better than ever! Bird species recorded throughout the year totals 85 now, and for your information our bird watcher Alwyn has listed just a few highlights below that might tempt you to dress up in your greens and grab some binoculars.
Latest image sent through from our bird recorder Alwyn, with a note saying there are good numbers of Long Tailed Tits around the lake at the moment, moving around with Chiff-Chaff’s and other members of the tit family. Long Tailed Tit © Alwyn Knapton/Compton Verney 2015 Another spot this morning was a cormorant, who was down on the lake fishing along with our anglers! Of course, you can visit Compton Verney with your camera, most of the grounds are accessible quite easily, and we would love to see your results. You can share your tweeting bird images on twitter (pun intended!) using the hashtag #CVGrounds and we’ll share to the world! Visiting information available on the following link to the Compton Verney website: https://www.comptonverney.org.uk/plan_your_visit/default.aspx
A short and sweet update of birds recorded on camera at Compton Verney by volunteer Alwyn Knapton.
We have been extra busy bees at Compton Verney this last year, here’s our experience of improving a wild flower lawn/meadow.
Heron, great crested grebe, woodpecker & reed warbler @ComptonVerney – Who’d have thought?! #CVGrounds #30DaysWild
Have you signed up for the 30 Days Wild challenge from the Wildlife Trusts? If so then you might like to hear of an evening wildlife event at Compton Verney that would certainly qualify as a random act of wildness – Moths: Butterflies of the Night
I’ve signed up to the Wildlife Trusts #30DaysWild challenge – join in today!
A quick post today after receipt of some images from Alwyn, our resident bird spotter. As part of an outreach project we recently welcomed a group of youngsters to site who were immersed in Compton Verney life for a twenty-four hour period – amongst other things this included a camping experience and bird ringing exercise led by Dr Andrew Gosler, university research lecturer in ornithology and conservation at Oxford University.
We’ve had a few questions about the honey bees at Compton Verney lately, particularly about their condition post winter. Rod has kindly put a few words together as an update, although at this extra busy time of year I’m over a week late posting this to the blog… Please keep this in mind when reading! Spring Update – by Rod Oates
Spring always arrives in a garden with extra demands in terms of activity. The grounds at Compton Verney are no exception, although spring as you’ll quite rightly point out isn’t quite here yet… Activity in the grounds at Compton Verney traditionally slowed for the cooler January and February months, meaning the volunteer team took a well-earned rest, whilst the core staff team of two continued with essential maintenance; preparing for spring. This winter however, there was a willingness to continue with the full team right through the season, and we’ve certainly responded to this and have been very busy! A visual treat to keep us going back in January was the Winter Aconites, which cloaked the ground around the Lime trees on the West Lawn. These however have now given way to our lovely snowdrops that are massed on the bank of the Middle Pool. These will continue in flower for when we open on March 14th. [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wl8mjWBfnnI]
Capturing the wildlife of Compton Verney through a lens is quite challenging, as much of it is so good at blending into the background – being heard but not seen. As soon as we walk through the coppice for example, we can hear the birds making their alarm calls as they move away. It is like having a huge invisible aura that circles a person, an aura that repels birdlife!
Two images received today from our wildlife recorder Alwyn, that I thought you might like to see. Alwyn visits often to record bird life around the grounds and landscape at Compton Verney. Occasionally one or two are caught on camera, and here are two snapped recently. The brightest is of course the Kingfisher, caught with lunch in his beak. The other is a Wren, paused on a shrub within the Ice House Coppice. Images © Alwyn Knapton 2014
Welcome to this ‘October’ article, the tenth in a series of posts which aim to review, through photographs, twelve months of activity in and around the diverse landscape of Compton Verney. It’s a historic landscape that has seen much change, from the shaping of the areas as new plants establish to the visual delight gained from one of a number of artistic interactions. There are huge changes in the atmosphere from the busiest of open days to quiet days when just bird song can be heard. Either way, visually the landscape changes minute by minute and it’s wonderful to be there to experience it – and on occasion capture an image or two! Links to other months will be added at the bottom of the page, but for now, I hope you enjoy ‘October – The landscape at Compton Verney’ :
Welcome to this ‘September’ article, the ninth in a series of posts which aim to review, through photographs, twelve months of activity in and around the diverse landscape of Compton Verney. It’s a historic landscape that has seen much change, from the shaping of the areas as new plants establish to the visual delight gained from one of a number of artistic interactions. There are huge changes in the atmosphere from the busiest of open days to quiet days when just bird song can be heard. Either way, visually the landscape changes minute by minute and it’s wonderful to be there to experience it – and on occasion capture an image or two! Links to other months will be added at the bottom of the page, but for now, I hope you enjoy ‘September – The landscape at Compton Verney’ :
Welcome to this ‘August’ article, the eighth in a series of posts which aim to review, through photographs, twelve months of activity in and around the diverse landscape of Compton Verney. It’s a historic landscape that has seen much change, from the shaping of the areas as new plants establish to the visual delight gained from one of a number of artistic interactions. There are huge changes in the atmosphere from the busiest of open days to quiet days when just bird song can be heard. Either way, visually the landscape changes minute by minute and it’s wonderful to be there to experience it – and on occasion capture an image or two! Links to other months will be added at the bottom of the page, but for now, I hope you enjoy ‘August – The landscape at Compton Verney’ :
Welcome to this ‘July’ article, the seventh in a series of posts which aim to review, through photographs, twelve months of activity in and around the diverse landscape of Compton Verney. It’s a historic landscape that has seen much change, from the shaping of the areas as new plants establish to the visual delight gained from one of a number of artistic interactions. There are huge changes in the atmosphere from the busiest of open days to quiet days when just bird song can be heard. Either way, visually the landscape changes minute by minute and it’s wonderful to be there to experience it – and on occasion capture an image or two! Links to other months will be added at the bottom of the page, but for now, I hope you enjoy ‘July – The landscape at Compton Verney’ :
Compton Verney offers many things to many people, be it the permanent collections or the present British Folk Art exhibition. There’s also the extremely wide range and offer of educational activities, talks and workshops and a great cafe and restaurant! The outside environment however (as you’d expect if you know Compton Verney) holds other aspects to explore.
It has been a while since the last grounds team update and for good reason – we’ve been too busy! All will be revealed below, but suffice to say that the weather has played a major part, as always, in dictating our work pattern.
After all: “A weed is just a wild flower in the wrong place”. To present a garden, and in my case a landscape garden in a certain way requires finding a balance, a balance between what we actively plant in terms of ornamentals, but more widely, considering a balance in terms of the ‘weeds’ we retain as wild flowers. Does this make sense?
Glad to spot one of our blog posts featured in the summer edition of Warwickshire Wildlife Trust’s – Wild Warwickshire magazine. Unsurprisingly, it is a quality magazine packed full of wildlife features, so it’s quite a thrill to see our efforts in wildlife promotion noticed, with a reprint in the magazine.
At Compton Verney yesterday I caught sight of a hazel shrub with a branch tip that wasn’t looking quite as it should – a little tattered and torn. On closer inspection the culprits were still at the scene, and what a sight they were.
I popped out for a quick walk around the west lawn at Compton Verney this morning to make a start on our butterfly recording for the big butterfly count. Aside from a wide-brimmed hat and catch net (are these still in use?) I simply wandered with my clipboard and camera – although catching good images would be easier with a zoom lens I think, for every time I got near enough – off they would flutter!
A few recent images following a trip around the East Park at Compton Verney, an area of seventy acres or so, now re-establishing as a wild flower meadow under higher level stewardship agreement with DEFRA. These two fields are settling down beautifully with their light-touch management, which consisted initially of re-seeding with native wild flowers, and an ongoing annual regime of cutting, baling, and autumn grazing. At the peak of summer, pathways are
For many visitors to Compton Verney the lake, or ‘Upper Pool’ to be more accurate, provides either a familiar vista or a pleasant, some would say dramatic surprise. It is crossed by almost everyone via the ornamental Adam/Sphinx bridge on the way up to the mansion. For our anglers however
Passing through some woodland and in between showers this morning, I stopped suddenly at the sight of a large bird clinging to a chestnut tree. It hadn’t noticed me initially, so I moved in for a better look. It spread its wings a few times but seemed quite content perched there in the shade.
I’m thrilled to bring you news of a new project that could have far-reaching benefits for the grounds and environment at Compton Verney. Landscape and garden designer Dan Pearson is to work with Compton Verney in connection with an exhibition titled ‘The Arts & Crafts House: Then and Now‘ (27 June – 13 September 2015).
If you’re a regular visitor to Compton Verney, you’ll know something of the diversity the landscape holds. There’s establishing flower borders near the chapel, a long-established woodland garden known as the ice house coppice, acres of wild flower parkland and lawns aplenty. However, have you heard of the family activity trails to help you explore some of that landscape?
With so much to do in spring, text heavy blog posts can sometimes be few and far between. What a great opportunity therefore to share some simple images that show off some of the spring flora at Compton Verney. You might have to wander the grounds to see them all, but here’s proof of their presence, at least for the month of April when these images were taken – treasures indeed!
Did we mention how proud we are of the wildlife at Compton Verney? Naturally, with any size plot, there is always space to nurture and enjoy wildlife, but with our larger than average area we have lots more opportunity. We’ve well kept and tidy areas, along with wilder and less intensively managed spaces, woodlands and a large lake for example.
We’ve been out with Warwickshire Wildlife Trust representatives Ben Devine and Sarah Brooks this week around the grounds at Compton Verney, on a mission to
Some of you might remember the upsetting time at the end of last year when our bees suffered visits from thieves in the night. It was a small enough collection anyway, but unfortunately over the two visits our hives were reduced even further, leaving a much smaller colony to hopefully limp through the winter.
Spring is an amazingly busy time in the great outdoors – bulbs and herbaceous plants send up shoots, trees and shrubs burst into bud, and lawns raise their level as quick as we can mow. Compton Verney, being a long established landscape and garden features many such plants and spaces of special interest, I have therefore assembled a short video to show just a little of what you could expect to see during a spring visit. Enjoy a minute or so of our spring landscape and garden: [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yosIfLCTy70]
There is just a few metres across the west lawn at Compton Verney a stately grove of Lime trees, set a midst the lawn. In early January, when Compton Verney staff return to work following their Christmas break, we’re always drawn across to this grove to see a wonderful, expansive blanket of yellow flowers. Winter Aconites are the magnet, and they appear at Compton Verney from the earliest days of the new year through to February. It is a little beauty of a flower that keeps low to the ground, and
Common Oak – a Fact Sheet from Compton Verney.
Although our gates are closed to general visitors for a month or so, activity continues apace in and around the grounds. More of these goings-on in a forthcoming post, for now I hope to bring a shot of colour to the generally gloomy December days we are presently experiencing. I count myself amongst the luckiest of people, being able to work at such a special location; dripping with character, packed with variety and full of rich colour – especially so in autumn. Before the memory of autumn is completely replaced by the festive glow, I thought I’d bring together a selection of images taken whilst out and about at Compton Verney. A link at the foot of this post links to these, and more images in the form of a video. Enjoy!
In early November, an isolated area of the grounds at Compton Verney received a visit from thieves in the night intent on removing, unbelievably, our two bee hives. A link at the bottom of the page describes that nocturnal visit, but this post is to bring news of a second visit where thieves aimed to remove the one remaining bee hive.
So, with the season drawing to a close we’ve had a chat to our resident volunteer beekeeper, Rod Oates, for a review of the season. Beekeeping was introduced to Compton Verney at the end of April this year with the purchase of a nucleus – essentially a small colony of bees consisting of five frames on which there was a queen, some brood and worker bees. This nucleus was placed in a wooden hive situated to the west of the grounds.
We recently ventured out and across the East Park at Compton Verney, on a long-awaited mission to place our new barn owl boxes into position. We’ve opted for two boxes at present, the location chosen carefully to offer protection from the worst of the winter weather, along with ease of access for barn owls. Additionally, the location is far enough away from main woodland areas to avoid occupation by squirrels, and from roads to avoid owl collision with vehicles – we hope.
An update to show a new way for us to engage with wildlife on-site at Compton Verney – a bird hide. Not the traditional one I hasten to add, but a pop-up camouflage hide! Our purchase was supported and made possible by NFU, who also funded
Spotted on a Sunny August afternoon in the grounds at Compton Verney, munching their way through a weedy goat willow: Lesser willow sawfly larvae, or Nematus pavidus we believe.
I bumped into beekeeper Rod on Wednesday who had an update on our newly installed bee hives at Compton Verney, particularly the latest colony to be added into the second hive. In short, the new queen hasn’t fared particularly well, having become weaker over the last few days, and a new queen bee has become necessary to boost an otherwise failing colony. In light of this, Rod had a good chat with our friends over at ‘Honey Bee Suppliers’, who immediately responded by offering to send out a new queen bee, who is pictured below having just arrived in her postal transport case! It’s hard to believe that bees travel by post, but as one tweeter mentioned it is Royal Mail after all! It’s hard to see in this image, but she has a little dot of red paint on her back, none harming I hasten to add, so that she may be easily identified and checked when finally introduced into the hive. Let us hope that she settles in quickly and heads up the colony in style! Hive one I have to say is doing extremely well, and we’re looking forward to harvesting some honey shortly. I’m sure you won’t be surprised to hear that the […]
Compton Verney’s bees have certainly been enjoying the hot sunny whether we’ve been having. Our ladies have been hard at work foraging – collecting pollen to feed the brood and nectar to convert into honey. On Thursday our volunteer beekeepers – Rod Oates and Tanya Weaver – went over to see how our two hives are doing. The first hive has been in place a few months now and the colony is thriving. Our second has only been in place a week but that small colony seem to be settling into their new home nicely. The first colony really amazed Rod and Tanya. The bees have filled two supers full of honey and are well into filling a third. These supers will be removed soon and the honey extracted. This is exciting news as we are not far away from harvesting our very own Compton Verney honey! There could be as many as 50 jars from just this one colony and there could be more to come. Rod holding up a frame of honey from one of the supers in the first hive. The second colony is far smaller. It is a nucleus of bees (which basically means a queen bee […]
We’ve seen these fluttering around the buildings and grounds at Compton Verney for the last few days, but they’ve always moved away before a clear identification could be managed. Today however
Spotted by a number of us above our east park fields this week, and captured by the camera of Alwyn Knapton was this amazing Red Kite. For more information on Red Kite click here or more information on bird species at Compton Verney – click here
The link below is to a video showing the felling of a mature beech tree in the grounds of Compton Verney. The tree previously had the crown branches removed to reduce weight on the stem, which was had been seriously weakened by the fungus Ganoderma adspersum. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vi6XGr2p6lw&w=420&h=315] The stump will be cleaned up and left in-situ to act as a visual reminder to the spot where this significant tree once stood – believed to be approaching 200 years old. A new beech tree has been planted on the edge of woodland nearby, amongst many other trees.
Wildlife spot today, 12th July 2013 in the Ice House Coppice at Compton Verney – a superb image of a Ruby-tailed wasp. Snapped by local wildlife photographer Ed Phillips on specialist macro equipment, he is especially pleased with the result as they are often difficult to photograph due to their active lifestyle! Take a look at another image from Ed, this time a Six Spot Burnet Moth and do drop by the Compton Verney Grounds Blog again as we hope to add more images as time goes by.
Gardening types with an eye for trees, or more accurately those who know when they see something that isn’t right, might spot something a little peculiar on route from our car park to the mansion/gallery of Compton Verney. For, situated near the beautiful ornamental sphinx/Adam bridge is a mature Walnut tree with a difference. Many of the leaves this year are deformed with a condition commonly known as Walnut Blister Mite. As the image shows, the blisters form randomly across the foliage, the underside of which feature fine white or lightly coloured hairs. Not too problematic on further investigation it seems, for the fruiting quality/quantity is said to be unaffected, but the blisters will change colour later to be more noticeable. Tiny mites called Eriophyes erineus, or Phytotus tristriatus is the cause of the blister, which sucks sap from the underside of the leaf causing the reaction we can all see. Control or intervention isn’t necessary. If you want to take a closer look, the foliage overhangs the footpath on approach to the bridge.
Wildlife spot on Monday 8th July, a Common Toad. Spotted, along with around five others making their way clumsily across the west lawn at Compton Verney, moving from the longer wildflower grass area. Common toad – Bufo bufo. Other wildlife posts of interest: Bird species at Compton Verney Six Spot Burnet Moth
What a fantastic sunny weekend to host a Grounds Weekend. We had pretty much wall to wall sunshine – great news for both humans and bees. Fellow volunteer beekeeper Rod Oates was manning our bee display, which was set out near our hives, on Saturday June 29th and I came over on Sunday to
Wildlife spot today in the East Park meadow area, both stunning images taken today and kindly supplied by local wildlife photographer Ed Phillips. Six Spot Burnet Moth Zygaena filipendulae
A few images snapped whilst out and about in the grounds on the first day of our Grounds Weekend at Compton Verney. 29th June 2013 Grounds Weekend visiting information – Click Here Further event information on Grounds Blog – Click Here
Have you caught the whispers about a grounds event that is happening at Compton Verney this weekend? Arranged by our learning team, the event does I’m glad to say put our amazing landscape and garden firmly in the spotlight, with a specific focus on flying wildlife – or birds and bees to bee precise (last bee pun… maybee…you have been warned!)
Thanks to the volunteer bird enthusiast Alwyn Knapton, a member of the British Trust for Ornithology, I’m glad to bring you our most up-to-date list of bird species to be seen in the landscape and gardens of Compton Verney.
Earlier this week I popped across to Moreton Morrell College, part of the successful Warwickshire College group to meet with staff and students on a special occasion. The event, also being enjoyed by many proud parents was the college annual awards ceremony.
Just under two months ago I wrote about our newly installed bee hives at Compton Verney. I’m glad to say the bees have not only settled in well but are positively thriving! Regular updates from Rod our volunteer beekeeper have kept me aware of progress, and the whole process is captivating I have to say. On a number of occasions I’ve
A small selection of flower images of plants to be found in the first half of June 2013 around the Landscape and Gardens of Compton Verney. Horse Chestnut in the ice house coppice area: Persian Lilac in the ice house coppice:
The past two weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind to be fair, the team having been reduced by 50% due to some well deserved annual leave. Negatively, much has needed to be put on hold during this time as the demands of the season call for grass cutting; and lots of! On the positive side however, I’ve been forced into spending much more time out in the grounds so as not to fall behind with mowing, time that I’ve cherished.
An icy day in early March saw our first delivery of fish to the lake known as middle pool, at Compton Verney. Six good-sized Carp were introduced breathing new life into the lake; the first introduction of new stock for many years. Andrew Ellis, a fisheries consultant arrived nice and early with the precious cargo and wasted no time introducing them to us before seeing them off safely into the lake. They were keen to go off and explore, and I guess that is most likely the last time I shall see them! In addition to the new introductions was the first application of calcium carbonate to the middle pool in an attempt to raise the pH (the pool was measured as being slightly acidic last year.) Andrew is a firm believer of the benefits of calcium carbonate treatment and has used this method on many occasions elsewhere to great effect. The application is of course a trial at Compton Verney and could need repeating over many seasons before we see any visible results. However, I’m assured that even this first treatment will cause action in the depths of the lake by triggering the break down of detritus. Although the lake is large, it is slow-moving, and we can only hope that the through-flow doesn’t negate the effect of […]
A momentary pause beside the visitor lodge at Compton Verney left us wide-eyed at this beautifully formed, if common moth. A Poplar Hawk-moth by name, or Laothoe populi. It was spotted on May 20th as it rested, blending in with the wooden doorframe. Its appearance at Compton Verney shouldn’t be a complete surprise, as with a little further investigation, it appears our nearby stand of Poplar trees, just beyond our car park is the main host plant for the species! Wikipedia Link Poplar Hawk-moth UKMoths Link – Poplar Hawk-moth
Out in the grounds at Compton Verney tomorrow, we’re playing host to a group of volunteers on behalf of Give & Gain Day 2013. This is an international day of employee volunteering which for the 2012 day saw over 19,000 volunteers from 391 companies take part, for the benefit of over 339 community groups. It is the UK’s biggest day of Employee volunteering.
I’m glad to announce the arrival of honey bees to the grounds at Compton Verney! It has taken a while to get to this stage, but we’re all thrilled to be doing our little bit in support of the ailing bee population, and whilst we’re starting with just two hives, we’re hopeful that we can expand, adding more hives in due course. Naturally, the news of bees on site brings gasps of admiration from some, and horror from others; especially those wary of being stung. I can say however that care and attention has been given to selection of a good site that offers protection of people and bees – we shall of course be watching the bees very carefully to see how they settle down. Today the colony was collected from a bee farm by Rod and Val Oates, two of our volunteer beekeepers and transported to site in a sealed container. Once checked the colony and its queen were transferred to their new home; in a distant corner of the west lawn. The bees are due more attention over the coming days to ensure the settle into their new home, but initial signs were good as they flew out to explore […]
Don’t panic – it is tiny, I promise! The cool temperatures pushing right through April has slowed the appearance of wildlife, insects in particular. Fortunately, things are now improving and Ed Phillips, a local wildlife photographer wasted no time in visiting our grounds to search through the undergrowth for anything of interest, with his specialist macro zoom camera. Many of Ed’s photographs are insects so tiny, that it’s often a case of snap first and identify later. Luckily, on this occasion, Ed has managed a confirmation for the image below, which we believe to be a philodromid crab spider. It is approximately 5 to 6mm across, and is seen resting on a daffodil flower bulb amongst undergrowth at Compton Verney. Flora & Fauna at Compton Verney Ed Phillips Wildlife
Just a short post this morning to mention a succesful Bat Night at Compton Verney. The event was organised by the in-house Learning Team and was fully booked for an engaging early evening presentation, followed by a grounds walk to locate bats. The evening was led by Sean Neill who represents both Warwickshire Bat Group and the Bat Conservation Trust. Sean talked and displayed images of the many bats to be found throughout the world, including the surprisingly large ‘Flying Fox’, and the gasp inducing ‘Vampire Bat’, both of which enjoy much warmer climes than our own. Much attention was given to the eighteen species of bat to be found in the UK, and particularly to those types most likely to be found on site. The most prominent species at Compton Verney are Pipistrelle’s and Daubentons, but we’ve also recorded Noctule, Long Eared and Lesser Horseshoe bats on occasion – it’s a little known fact that whilst gallery and learning centre spaces are kept clean and tidy, loft spaces above are preserved as roost sites for bats. Provision was made during the restoration of the buildings, including the addition of specially constructed bat entrances to the loft spaces, which were also sealed off from general access. During our bat night, as the hot chocolate and information was consumed, the light outside faded, at which point we zipped up […]