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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Sunday, 28 June 2009

Saturday at Caldecote.

With a weekend off I was looking forward to going somewhere, after a busier than normal week at work. But come the day, in all honesty, I felt so tired, (must be my age), I didn’t fancy the prospect of a bit of travelling. The weather didn’t look that good either; a lot of cloud. Very warm though, the kind of heat people call ‘muggy.’

I decided to go up the road instead, to the local. I stuffed my pockets with the tools of the trade; spare batteries, notebook, fags and lighter, and popped my little compact camera in a pocket too, just in case. No point in taking the macro lens with all this cloud around, I thought, so I just took the other beast with me, Canon and zoom.
As I made my way round the lake, the Reed Warblers were singing away from the cover, and I noticed masses of Meadowsweet growing alongside, looking like a white carpet.

Closer inspection reveals its delicate beauty.

Moving on, more birds were joining in with a chorus of sounds. A Song Thrush was dueting with a Blackbird; both high in separate trees, as young Blue Tits raced noisily through the branches. I slowed down, to watch and listen to the Swifts as they screamed overhead. And down by my feet, some Self Heal was carpeting the floor.

Up ahead, by the bridge was where the Mallard family, with the white chick, usually hang out. Usually. Today they were off in the distance, out of my range for a decent shot, but at least they all looked fine, swimming around; the white one very noticeable. At the bridge is the spot where the Coots took over the nest from The Great Crested Grebes, and they were still sitting tight. It seems the Grebes have moved further on in the reeds, and they seemed quite content with their new residence. A few young stripy chicks were patiently waiting for dad to come up with some food, like a pair of humbugs, gently floating in the water.
As I crossed the bridge, another Grebe, sitting tight on her nest.

All this nesting activity seemed a little late in the day to me, but they can have one to two broods a year, so lets hope they’re all successful.

As I turned the curve of the lake, over on the far side, a large number of Canada Geese were making their way to the water.

As they slowly filed their way to the water, and began to swim away, they reminded me of the herds of Wildebeast I’d seen on programmes before, as they congregate, and make their way across rivers, on their marathon journeys. The only thing missing was waiting crocodiles.

Flight practice time.
A Common Tern was cruising up and down by the edge, and occasionally diving down to the water to catch a fish.

Yea, I need more practice! I did like this next one though, as he turned for a steep dive.

This Crow proved easier;

he wasn’t budging one bit, and quite happy to watch me, as I slowly walked past.

At this point I had a choice. Take the path around the next part of the lake, or take the long grass by the edge. I took the low road, and wandered through the waist high grass. It was getting hotter; a weak sun was filtering its warmth through the cloud.
A few Damselflies were taking to the air as I brushed my way through the mini jungle, but one hadn’t quite made it earlier. A Common Blue had become trapped in a spider’s web, and was being prepared for the larder.

I watched the gruesome events unravel, as the spider began draining the life fluids from his hapless victim, and occasionally spinning him vigorously, as he dangled from a tiny thread on the web.
A bright flash to my side broke my morbid concentration, and as I turned to see what it was, not one, but two Butterflies. A species I’d never seen before. Marbled White.

I took loads of pictures, excitement I guess, but I also wanted to make sure I had at least one decent shot. Here’s a couple.

The choice of the long grass had proved worth it.

I carried on to the top of the lake, and on the wall of the overflow section, a Coot had made a nest, with two young sitting inside.

A mish mash of sticks, reeds and moss, perched on top of the wall. They seemed content enough though.

Mum and Dad had made a pretty good job with what was available. Maybe not a penthouse by our standards, but certainly close to all amenities.

Turning down the side of the lake towards the southern end, a large group of Greylag Geese; young and adults, were ‘taking five’ in the heat.

I sat down for a while, and took five with them, snatching a few shots.

Reluctantly I left them to it. I still had half a lake to go yet.
Getting close to the pub, (oh how tempting that looked), another large group of Canada Geese were making their way to the cooling water.
Quite a large group in fact. Joining the group already in the water, I guess this is what a ‘gaggle’ of geese looks like.

I didn’t count them, there were more out of the shot, but at least a hundred; or more. I think half of Canada’s geese were here. Quite a sight to see.

And watching them too, a Grey Heron.

Probably wondering where they were all coming from. He stood watching them as they all filed past,

no doubt thinking, ‘that’s the fishing spoilt for a while.’

Up at the pub, another ‘gaggle’, smaller, but still a good number.

Greylag Geese this time; and not be outdone, the swans were gathering.

Was there something going on I didn’t know about? Whatever it was, it’s good to know that there are such healthy numbers just up the road from me.
Lucky me’, I thought.
A small group made a pleasing picture.
The tranquilly was short lived though. Just along from the peace, war was breaking out between four Coots. And what a war. Much splashing and thrashing about in the water.

and as suddenly as it started, it stopped, and peace and tranquillity ruled the waves again.

And tranquillity lay up ahead. Butterfly country.

I’ll do that for another time; way too much already. Just beyond the Butterfly territory is the home of the ‘horror tree’ from a previous post.

And I finally found out who is responsible.


  1. Another brilliant illustrated read, Keith. There sure are a lot of Canada Geese there.
    Great shots of the Marbled White. Don't think I have ever seen one. Also loved the shots of the heron and the baby geese.

  2. Great shot of the carrion crow - and all them canada geese!

  3. Well - another fascinating "walk on the wildside" Keith. Some great shots there but that twisting Tern is just the bee's knees!! and the marbled whites too. Beautiful markings.

    You really do manage to see some wonderful goings on - all those geese - I don't think I've seen so many except from when I was in Norfolk!

    So what this with the cliffhanger then.... oooh!

  4. Thanks John. There seemed to be groups of Geese around every corner that morning. No idea where they all came from. We get a lot usually anyway, but there seemed to be loads more for some reason.
    The Marbled White is a real beauty. I think we're in for plenty of Butterflies this year.

    Cheers Jim. Those Geese looked like extras for Hitchcocks 'Birds' :)

    Thanks Tricia; it was certainly a good morning with some 'firsts' and surprises.
    Cliffhanger? lol Terrible aint I! :)

  5. What a great post Keith, how come you see so much when you go out and I so little!

    I'm thinking maybe the Canada Geese had their very own 'Glastonbury' going on ;)

    I found the damsel and spider fascinating but exceedingly gory!! The first shot of the Heron was masterly, and aren't the Coots some crotchety old things!

  6. Thanks ShySongbird. I went out this morning for a little while. and didn't see very much at all. Luck I guess lol
    It was quite a gathering of geese that morning. Don't think I've seen so many there at once. The Coots always seem to be fighting over something don't they. :)

  7. ...it's so enjoyable reading your text and looking at the photos. For being tired, you captured a good deal. In summer, my plans often seem to dilute themselves...long drives become short drives, short drives change to the back yard. I guess the heat slows us down and helps us relax. Yesterday I didn't leave the house, and it was nice. Back to the photos--loved the grebe sitting on the nest and your herons are very stylish.

  8. WOW You found an entire gaggle of all sorts! Great Photos...i love the tern in action and the fight shots you can almost hear the water splashing!! The Insect shots I enjoyed also...Actaully I LOVED all the photos you had up today!!! Great trip you had.

  9. Thanks for your comment Kelly. Yea, I'm afraid too much of this hot weather really knocks me out. I'd be no good in a hot country lol

    Dixxe thank you. It was a really enjoyable morning; and a few more of it to come later, when I get myself into gear. lol

  10. Thanks again for a wonderful distraction. What a great flock of fowl and there are always a few coots to stir up things no matter where we're at. Can't wait to see the rest.

  11. Great set of images Keith. The Tern was great and the Marbled White is just brilliant, another butterfly I have seen. {:(

  12. Thanks Andrea, glad you enjoyed it. Second part tomorrow; I think ;)

    Cheers Roy. The Marbled White is a beauty. Certainly lives up to its name. I think it's going to be a good year for Butterflies.

  13. What a walk that was.Guess you forgot your tiredness while capturing all these great images.By the way did you tell the Grey Heron to pose for you on one leg?Then he definitely listened to you.:)That's a terrific shot!The tern diving down is nice.The butterfly very pretty.What a number of geese! were they noisy?
    Great post and waiting for the next.

  14. Thank you NatureStop. If only I could ask the birds to pose for me. lol
    The Geese were surprisingly silent for such a large number, but when disturbed and they all take to the water, the noise can be deafening.

    Second part is up now :)

  15. Wow Keith, I live in Canada , and that's a lot of ' our ' Geese you have there lol.
    That Marbled White butterfly is stunning. You're finding some excellent stuff on your travels mate.
    An excellent read as always.

  16. Thanks Nick. I reckon they were over here on holiday ;)