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
No Google Adds here.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Some days I just wanna shout or scream……

….and others I can’t even be bothered to do that.
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Still getting the chest pains, and still waiting to hear from Oxford, about the ‘scan’. It’s been 3 weeks now, and I was told at the time, could be up to 4 weeks.
So I rang Milton Keynes hospital, to see if they had any information. A rather bored and indignant receptionist told me, ‘it’s all been sent to Oxford’.
I rang Oxford.
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A more pleasant and helpful woman checked, and after another call to another department, I was told, ‘yea, the stuff came yesterday.’
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Now I know they’re busy, but does it take 18 days to forward information?
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17 weeks on, and I still aint sorted.
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Well, despite chest pains, and feeling bloody tired all the time, I’ve still got out most days to take pictures. But even the ‘spark’ seems to have left at the moment. I’ll post just a few for now; random stuff.
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I’ll try and catch up with everyone, but I may take a break from here for a few days.
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And my old cat finally lost the fight for survival last week. I miss her, even though she used to bite me if I stroked her for too long.
I loved her attitude.

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A fighter to the end.

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Blossom
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Bluebell and Greater Stitchwort
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Flying ducks
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Weasel
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Robin
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Grebes, in loving mood.
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and time to reflect
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Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Some from earlier in the month

It wouldn’t be spring, without lambs.
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Took these a few days ago. They were very curious about the hairy man walking towards them.
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This one horned stag wasn’t taking any chances with curiosity though. One look sent him scarpering. That’s the kind of effect I usually have lol
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These two Coot chicks tried very hard to be ‘cute’. Did they succeed?
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“Yea……..my mummy loves me!”
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And Bluebells this time of year are so photogenic.
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And of course, Dandelion seed heads.
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And I’ll go out with some singers,
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A Reed Bunting, Reed Warbler, and Sedge Warbler.

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Enjoy the day.
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Sunday, 16 May 2010

A couple of firsts, some regulars, and a bit of 'cuteness'

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This was my first Dragonfly of the year, taken yesterday.
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A Hairy Dragonfly. Rather appropriate I thought, as I’ve had the nickname of ‘hairy’, for many years. Dunno why.
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Next two shots are more ‘firsts’ for me. Taken a couple of weeks ago.
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A male Garganey. Not the best of shots, but I was pleased to see one.
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Another first for this year, was a Hobby, doing a quick fly pass.
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Must try and get a better one soon.
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A few warblers next,
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From the top, they are Blackcap, Reed Warbler, and Garden Warbler.
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Finally, a touch of ‘cuteness’. A couple of young Long Tailed Tits.
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Enjoy the rest of the day.
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Friday, 14 May 2010

A Nightingale Sang in…………..

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No, not Berkeley Square, but Paxton Pits, St. Neots. I went there this morning, in the hope of seeing these birds again. I wasn’t disappointed.
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and to see and hear; how about a short video.
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Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
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Have a great weekend.

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Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Great Crested Grebes

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After the wordy previous post, I’ll keep them to a minimum this time.
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To set the scene first; two pairs of Great Crested Grebes.
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Beautiful, majestic birds. So elegant with their head dresses, so loving with their mating ritual.
BUT.
There’s always a ‘but’ though.
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And I thought Coots could fight.
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For some reason, one pair of these Grebes got in a scrap with another pair. I couldn’t see any nest sight anywhere, so what the fight was about I’ve no idea. The victors eventually chased off the other pair, only for them to regroup, and then come back for another go. Three times this went on, till eventually one pair ‘left’. I am astonished one or more didn’t die in the lengthy, vicious battle.
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Here’s just a few of the pictures I took, and a short video at the end.
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and the short video.
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Surprisingly they both lived to fight another day……….…or just learn to live with each other.
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Hope your day is a little less frantic.
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Monday, 10 May 2010

Willen Lake

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It’s 6 a.m., and already the sun has freed itself from the grip of the horizon. Early morning daylight, and the sound of a Song Thrush fills the air. Before me stand the steps reaching skyward. 72 steps, each one taking me nearer my goal, and taking more breath away from me.
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I reach the top, and briefly rest, before carrying on. A choice; go forward, or turn right. I choose right. I need to search for a particular bird, but I know it will be in vain. I follow the short path, lined either side by trees. My eyes climb to the treetops, my ears follow; listening for that distinctive, high pitch sound. Magpies chatter noisily in the branches, a Chiffchaff drones his monotonous song, and Wood Pigeons flap through the branches. But no high pitch sound.
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The sound of Goldcrest.
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I used to watch these tiny birds last year, flitting through the treetops, and occasionally dropping lower, tempting me to take their pictures. It was our game, whenever I visited. But the game ended when winter arrived. Its icy fingers clawing through the trees every night, relentlessly seeking out tiny lives, to squeeze and crush.
Every night the temperature dropped, and so did the tiny birds. One by one, they dropped to the ground, to be covered in a fresh layer of snow and frost. Winter was long and cruel. Its grip was harsh. The Goldcrest all died.
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I reach the end of the path, and make my way down the grassy slopes, towards the lake. Crows sit tight, with one eye carefully watching as I pass. Greylag and Canada Geese continue pulling at the grass. They seem unconcerned for now. A Common Tern glides overhead, and still the Magpies chatter incessantly.
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The mist slowly curls upwards from the lake, taking one last drink from the water, before evaporating into the cold air. More Canada Geese walk from the lakeside, to join their friends already on the grassy slope. The weekend crowds of humans have long left, to return to their homes. The lake belongs to the birds once again, and they waste no time in reclaiming it.
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Fifteen minutes have passed, and I’m standing by the edge of the lake, listening to a cacophony of sound from Reed and Sedge Warblers. The high-pitched whistles, and scratchy voices carry over the reeds at the side of the lake. Geese are honking out on the water, and a Cetti’s Warbler shouts his song into the morning chorus.
A lone jogger pounds the footpath that circles the lake, and slowly disappears into the distance. I hear a dog bark, and look back to the slope, to see the flock of geese rising into the air as one, leaving the dog chasing emptiness.
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By 6:30 a.m., I stand at the hide. A simple affair; more like a roofed screen, with slits to view from, and wooden benches to sit on. Simple, but does the job. The birds can be watched, whilst remaining hidden. And across from the hide, the island. Herons nest here, and Little Egrets. Lapwing congregate on the spit of land that rises from the water, when the level drops, and are joined by waders; Redshank, Oystercatchers, Little Ringed Plover. But today only a few geese, and four Common Terns. Coots aimlessly swim in front of the hide, and a pair of Great Crested Grebes waggle their heads, lovingly at each other.
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I decide to carry on towards the south lake. The south lake is a busy lake at weekends. People flock there, to feed ducks, take part in the water activities, eat at the restaurant, and get fit at the fitness centre.
I only visit there midweek; and early.
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The Starlings are busily probing the grass for food. They must have many tiny mouths to feed. They move with a purpose across the neat, short mown grass; Blackbirds move amongst them, and skimming over the water, House Martins, guzzling down flies. They have a long, hard day ahead. After journeying from their wintering grounds, it’s now time to build nests, and raise families.
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More joggers pass by, with urgency in their stride. Chaffinches and House Sparrows are pecking at the ground in the children’s play area, Goldfinches ‘tinkling’ in the trees, and a Robin sings from the big Willow tree.
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It’s 7 a.m. I’ve reached the fitness centre. The Black Swan glides amongst the 20 or more Mute Swans.
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On the jetty that releases the boats at weekends, a Pied Wagtail runs, stops, and runs. Searching for breakfast. Two Common Sandpiper fly in, and stop briefly to rest. And from under the jetty, a male Call Duck slowly emerges.
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I first noticed him towards the end of last year, with his mate. I’ve seen him a couple of times since, but no mate. Maybe she didn’t survive winters grip; maybe she became lunch for a predator, but there seemed a sadness as he slowly paddled the water.
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I headed back towards the hide. 10 minutes, a sign proudly proclaims. I’ve never done it in less than twenty. Maybe I walk slowly, or maybe I stop to look more than most.
Willow Warblers sing from the trees, and more Sedge Warblers scratch their music from the bushes that line the lake edge.
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Sunday, 9 May 2010

A bit of sequence

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Something suddenly stopped this Oystercatcher in his tracks.
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Then it became clear.
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I don’t think he’ll go too near the nest again.
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Another confrontation.
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Coots. Always seem to be fighting about something.
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And what is this Magpie up too?
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He likes to dunk his bread.
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I’m off to dunk some biscuits; and sort out some proper pictures.
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