Welcome to my birdwatching blog. This blog will contain stories about my bird watching trips, interesting bird news and other tales that may or may not be bird related. I want to make it useful to the avid birder as well as those who may only have a passing interest in bird watching. I enjoy photographing bird life, common and rare through a spotting scope, not that they always sit still long enough for me. Being on the outskirts of North East London, my reports will not only cover my local patch of Redbridge/Waltham Forest, but also dip into deepest Essex, Suffolk, Kent and Norfolk.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Bard watching in Stratford

Today is the last day of the Christmas holidays and just a few hours before my thoughts must ferry back to all thing work-like.

Nic decided a cultural trip to Stratford upon Avon would be a nice way to finish it. So, with clear skies and clear roads, we motored our way around the M25 and off up the M40 or the Raptor Road as I like to call it. I love this motorway. I. it’s fast 2. it’s very fast and 3. it‘s full of Red Kites and Buzzards. I have forgotten how many times I have nearly crashed because I get hypnotised by the grace and beauty of these reintroduced birds of prey. One of these days, I will make a special trip to Christmas Common and try to photograph them.

But alas, poor Braunie, today wasn’t to be a birding day but a Barding day. I’m not a massive fan of Bill – don’t really understand what he‘s saying and the Plain English lot would have a field day with him I suspect. However, history can be cool and the curators and presenters were interesting and terribly professional. For instance, his dad John made leather gloves for a living but the business went bust in a credit crunch, hence the reason for Bill deciding to leave Stratford and hitching a lift with some actor types who inspired the boy and the rest is history.

This is William Shakespeare’s birthplace in the centre of Stratford. It was quite expensive at £50 for four tickets but as my kids aren’t kids anymore, I couldn’t squeeze a family concession out of the job’s worth on the ticket desk. These tickets did give us entry into other sites including Nash’s House and Anne Hathaway’s cottage.

Nash’s House left. This was owned by Bill’s Granddaughter, Elizabeth, who remained childless and ultimately ended his bloodline. On the right, is Anne Hathaway’s cottage which is about a mile out of Stratford at Shottery. Nice but not a lot of use if you are over 5 feet in height.

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