Everything has it's beauty, but not everyone sees it. - Confucius
Sometimes the picture doesn't have to be perfect; it's the captured moment that counts. - me
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Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Mondays part two

Continuing Mondays outing, I left the pair of swans canoodling, and made my way back to the hide, for one last look, before going home.

The second of the Black Swans began to steam towards me, looking like he was telling me something,

and then turned to show me a side view

‘Yes, you are handsome.’ I mumbled, as I took a couple of shots before continuing.

Back at the hide, I took a seat, and gazed out across the lake. Not very much activity, save for a few Herons gliding into their nesting area over on the island, and making awkward landings in the tree tops. A Little Egret was still in evidence in the tree with them, and a couple of Common Tern sat on the mud spit, probably resting from the strong winds. The lone Barnacle Goose swam by in the distance, following a Greylag. These two, if the same ones, seemed to have hit it off in friendship terms. On the occasions I’ve seen the Barnacle, a Greylag has always been close by.

Just in front of the hide, a Crow was making a meal of what looked to be a large fish.

Pretty gruesome, but that’s nature at times. Even in death, the corpses have their uses.

Home in time to quickly change, then off to do some work, at a large garden I look after.

Three hours later, and just turned midday, I stopped off at Stockgrove Country Park on the way home. Woodland, heathland, and a lake, with a small island, which is home to a number of Mandarin Ducks.

It’s a popular place with joggers, and dog walkers; many of whom leave a bit of birdseed on the handrail of the small footbridge over the lake. Always good for getting close to Robins, Nuthatches and members of the Tit family; you can see where I’m going with this.

A quick walk to the lake, past the wooded area to my left, and a carpet of Bluebells were displaying their strong colour under the canopy of trees. The sun was piercing through the gaps above, like a stage spotlight singling out the main performer. The main performer here, was a fern, growing amongst a sea of blue.

The Bluebells looked stunning, and I spent a long time trying to capture their beauty. I tried close shots,

and longer shots.

But I didn’t feel I gave them the justice they deserved. I think I need a wide-angle lens, to put on my rapidly expanding list of things I desperately need.

Along with a bigger lens, a new car, an insect ID book, ……….you get the idea.

I was beginning to notice a distinct lack of birds around. Maybe they were all off feeding youngsters, resting from the wind, or just hiding. A Robin was singing from the bushes, but usually there are a lot of Blue and Great Tits following closely on the walk to the bridge, anticipating the food from the regular human visitors. I reached the bridge, a brand new affair since my last visit, and a lone Wood Pigeon was clearing up the remaining seed left.

The colours on his neck were sparkling in the sunlight, and he was making short work of what was left. Nothing else around, save for the singing Robin, and a couple of bee looking insects enjoying their time together.

Not sure what they are, but pretty sure what they were doing.

I sauntered along the path, feeling a bit dejected that the bird life seemed in short supply. Over on the island, a male Mallard was sat on his nest,

but no sign of any Mandarin Ducks. A Coot swam by, seemingly with the whole lake to himself. Maybe he wondered where everyone had gone? Not even another Coot to fight with.

The rhododendrons were flowering amongst the trees, looking beautiful as ever, and some were still in bud, almost ready for their display.

I turned the corner of the lake, and began walking the other side. Save for the ‘cawing’ of some Crows flying overhead, the silence seemed deafening. Even the Robin had stopped his singing.

More Bluebells were flowering this side of the lake, and growing amongst them, some Greater Stitchwort. I got down on the grass to get at their level, hoping I could get back up again

and a last attempt at a group of Bluebells together.

I did manage to get up, and made a slow walk back to the car. As I neared the car park, I heard the singing of a Blackcap.

Perhaps bird siesta was over?

Maybe, but I headed home anyway; I felt like a siesta myself.


  1. We seem to have had good Mondays this week Keith. I thoroughly enjoyed your walk with you and all your pictures. Why are bluebells so difficult though? You seem to have cracked it - especially with the bluebells and white flowers pic and glad you made it "upright" again :)

    Great pics as usual, and really like your finale of the blackcap songster - nice one!!!

  2. Thanks Tricia. I always find Bluebells difficult for some reason, not sure why though.
    Took a bit of doing getting back up again lol

  3. I too find them difficult - wonder why? Perhaps it's because they have such tiny bells to focus on.

  4. Very nice Blackcap Keith.

  5. The light on the rhododendron flower is awesome All the shots are GREAT!..
    I Recall when I was a kid I used to sit cross legged -- Indian style-- and get up in that position! Boy those were the Dayz!

  6. Tricia, I think you're right. It's knowing what to have in focus, and what to deliberatley leave out of focus with these.

    Thanks Roy; beautiful singers too.

    Dixxie, thank you. So many things my mind thinks I can do these days, but the ol' body say, 'No way!' :)

  7. I just love your world! Loved how that black swan was showing off - he shone brightly in your photos! I find the crows very interesting to watch - they are always up to something!

  8. I really like your photographs and the black swan in fantastic. What a shot that one is. My bluebells are brilliant right now but it is raining on them at the moment.

  9. I just found your blog throught the comments on Abe's Birds blog. I like what I see! I'll be stopping by more often:)
    I like all the shots of birds combined with nature shots, sounds like you love hiking and shooting, as do I.

  10. Beautiful photos again Keith, as I scrolled down the Rhododendron seemed to open its flower in front of me, in fact I did it several times (oh dear! Is that sad or what? :~D) and it really does!

    The Blackcap photo is lovely too and the Black Swan, well they all are, just lovely!

  11. Thanks for sharing your wonderful walk-about.

  12. Great set of photos with an interesting read, Keith. Of the bluebell photos I prefer the 2nd - but then I always did like close shots of things.
    Pleased you managed to get shots of both black swans. Love that 2nd one in this session.
    Hope you had a decent siesta.

  13. Cracking shot of the sunlit fern, HM. Wonderful atmosphere.

  14. Shellmo, thank you. Crows are such great characters I think. A lot of people don’t give them a second look, but they’re very bold, and intelligent birds.

    Thanks Abe. The Black Swan is certainly a beauty. Glad you enjoy the pictures.

    Just Roaming…….thanks for stopping by; you’re always welcome. Yea, I love to get out whenever I can to soak up natures offerings. I only shoot with the camera though ;)

    ShySongbird……..thank you. I’ll try the scrolling later when I’ve had a drop of red lol

    Andrea…..thanks, you’re welcome. Glad you enjoyed the walk. :)

    Thanks John. The siesta was definitely needed. I’d really like to get the two swans side by side one day, after all the detective work lol
    I think the second Bluebell shot is my favourite too; I just can’t seem to get it right with a group of them.

    Rob……thanks. The fern just cried out for a picture.

  15. Wow! Big post with tons of gorgeous photos. The bluebells are stunning and the photos of them mixed with the stitchwort especially caught me eye--the second photo in particular. Very pretty.

  16. Thanks Kelly. I need to get out at the weekend for some more. Geting withdrawal symptoms here :) The Stitchwort looked such a dainty little flower growing amongst the Bluebells.

  17. We love your post and you got some lovely shots specially the Black swan showing off:)We will be following your blog.

  18. A lovely post - every image was delightful.

  19. NatureStop, thank you for your comment, and glad to have you following.

    The Birdlady, thank you. Glad you enjoyed the pictures.

  20. The side view of the Black Swan is beautiful, it looks so elegant...
    I also like the opening bud of the rododendron. I have a similar one planted in front of our house but its buds are not that much open. It seems to me that the place is not very good for the plant, I am going to replant it.
    And finally, we made a trip on Saturday and saw those nice white flowers you identified as Greater Stitchwort... my son took a nice photo of them.
    So, although birds were not that active as you would have wished, your outing was interesting to join in... :-)

  21. Thank you Petra. Despite the birds being in short supply, it was still good to be out.
    Good luck with replanting the rhododendron; there's quite a few in flower round here now. Beautiful flowers.