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.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Easter Sunday

I was up with the lark this morning. I had a plan; go to Ivinghoe Beacon, in the hope of getting the sunrise, and maybe a Wheatear or two.

Five thirty, I made my way from the car, in the almost deserted car park. Almost.
There were two other cars; one had a lady, who was about to walk her dog, and the other, a lady who had come for the 'Easter service' on the hill.

Easter service?

Well, the dog walking lady, told the religious lady, that the service wasn't on. I must admit I was a little pleased to hear that, (lots of people), although maybe a few prayers might have made the birds easier to spot.
Off she went, with dog in tow, and the religious lady, who I found out later is called Sue, asked if she could tag along with me for a while.
"Of course you can." I said; and we set off down the path, that leads up to the distant hill.

We chatted in hushed tones, and I pointed out the various birds we saw, and heard.
Chiffchaff, Pheasant, and as we neared the summit, a pair of Ravens.
It was becoming clear by now, that any hope of a sunrise was going to be thwarted by a mist that hung all around us. More like a fog, after a while.

We reached the summit, but the view was limited, and the sun non existent. A few birds were about though, and I managed to show my companion a Skylark, as it took to the air, singing its wonderful song, as it climbed higher and higher.

Where the Wheatear should be, there were only sheep, Crows, Rooks and Jackdaws. And picture taking was proving difficult.

 A Yellowhammer, that came fairly close, for a picture.

After about an hour, and still misty, Sue had to leave. She explained there was another service, at Dunstable Downs that she wanted to go to. Today is a big day, if you are religious.

We said our goodbyes, and before she left, she insisted on saying a prayer for me.

As I watched Sue disappear into the mist, I made my way back to the sheep slope, and where there should be Wheatear. After a lot of scanning with the binoculars, I finally found one. Miles away! No good for a picture, although I did try. Not even worth keeping for a record shot; so straight in the bin. But at least I saw one.

I walked back to the hill, and decided to try another spot further along.

 A Linnet. The best I could manage with the misty conditions, and high ISO.

I watched some Skylarks, Meadow Pipits, and a Kestrel that glided past; and the mist slowly began to clear. As I got lower down the slope of the hill, the sun made quick, brief bursts, to light up the landscape.

 A lone Bluebell, forcing its way through the bramble floor covering.

I reached another slope, that led to an area known as Incombe Hill. A steepish climb, but worth it. I could hear Whitethroat calling from every bush, and bramble covering. The sun was making good headway through the mist by now.
I wanted a picture!

I followed a calling Whitethroat for ages, and was in danger of becoming labelled a stalker, when suddenly, briefly, there he was.

 A beauty! He posed briefly, and then we played 'catch me' again. 

I caught him, again.

 I was very happy with these.

The sunlight was making such a difference. I reached an area of scrub, beyond a style, and a sign that warned of possible danger ahead.

 I love signs like this. We must take care, and ensure the safety of those that struggled with the gene pool. 



More wildflowers;


More birds singing amongst the brambles and bushes, and I chased a Garden Warbler for an age; only to get a very brief out of focus shot.
And then I found a lone Bluebell, growing through the grass.

I laid down on the damp grass, to get a few shots, as the sun began to make things easier. As I fired away, a butterfly landed on the flower.

 I thought at first, a Speckled Wood, but it didn't seem right for that.

 A Grizzled Skipper.

Quite a rarity, I've since found out; and usually seen on the wing, on hot spring days, late May or June.

A really good morning.

Hope your day was good too.


  1. thanks for taking us along (and for letting 'Sue' tag along as well!) :)

  2. Awesome! What a morning--I spent mine cleaning up a mess and then cutting the grass I did however see in the back yard an indido bunting but no photo. Yippie on that whitethroat--what a fantastic looking bird and the Yellow hammer is stunning too!
    Great find on the Grizzled Skipper--sure is a beauty!!

  3. Thanks texwisgirl. Sue was a good companion, and a fine woman. It was a good day all round.

    Sondra, I've just cut my grass lol
    The Grizzled Skipper was a first for me. A great surprise find.

  4. I think you owe Sue, the praying lady, a vote of gratitude. After she prayed, the sun came out; and you got some really great shots. The Whitethroat and the butterfly on the bluebell were especially nice.

  5. Linda, maybe it was divine intervention, or maybe just the sun following a misty morning; I don't know. Either way, the day turned out good. :)

  6. Fantastic Images my friend. It sure was a great morning for you. Wish I was with you.

  7. Superb Whitethroat captures Keith, and what can I say about finding that Grizzled Skipper,(it could almost make you turn to religon). lol.

    Incombe Hole and The Beacon are certainly great birding places, always lots going on.

    Excellent post Keith.

  8. A very interesting day Keith and you took some great images.
    The Yellowhammer is a lovely bird to see and hear.

  9. An excellent day with some fabulous captures .. Whitethroat, Yellowhammer and that elusive Grizzled Skipper et all.
    Hopefully Sue's prayers will bring a Wheatear close to you very soon.

  10. Great series ,but really love the butterfly!! Boom & Gary of the Vermioln River, Canada.

  11. Thanks Horst. When the sun came out, it was perfect :)

    Thanks Trevor. My first visit there this year; always a great place to go.
    I think the gods were with me today ;)

    Andrew, a lovely day. There are plenty of Yellowhammers there; a return visit is a must.

    Cheers Frank. It's a great place to spend a few hours. Ring Ouzels and Wood Warblers around today, but unfortunately escaped me.

  12. Hi Keith, I missed commenting on your previous post and have just caught up with it. Landscapes, birds, Nature in general, you are an excellent photographer Keith full stop ;)
    What a lovely place it is! I have never been but have always wanted to. The scenery really is magnificent.

    You do have some interesting encounters, I haven't forgotten the Chinese lady in the blue? hat at Draycote.

    The Whitethroat photos are just beautiful!! Also well done on the Grizzled Skipper, I have seen them on other blogs occasionally but never seen one myself.

    Your comment on the sign made me smile :)

  13. Thanks Gary. The butterfly was an unexpected, but welcome encounter.

    Jan, thank you. I do my best ;)
    Lake District is a fantastic place, and when the sun shines, it is even better.
    I do seem to be a people magnet at times lol
    The butterfly was a first for me; all in all a good day.

  14. Looks as if you walked awhile with the Gods. I am sure the Skipper made your day. A first is a first whatever the species. The Whitethroat is a cracker...a bird I do not see very often.

  15. You Had a cracker. The weather is weird. Far too warm.

  16. Great to see you had a good day Keith with some good images and finds, all well deserved.

  17. Hey Keith, that Grizzled Skipper was one fantastic find.
    Your Whitethroat shots are really good as well, they are not easy to see for any length of time, never mind trying to photograph.

  18. Trevor, it was a heavenly day lol

    Thanks Adrian. Today looks set to be another hot day.
    Local lake first, then back to work :(

    Thanks Bob. It all came together in the end.

    Cheers Roy. I was surprised how small the Grizzled Skipper is. I almost overlooked it.

  19. so great pic, the birds, I love them and that butterfly, it s so beauty ! big hugh Kathrin

  20. Keith, I know what you mean about the Skipper. I could have seen it sometime in the past and totally overlooked it thinking it was a small Moth.
    Your post will make me look a lot closer in future.

  21. Thank you Kathrin. Enjoy the rest of your day :)

    I'm thinking the same Roy; have I missed them before. Pure chance that I stopped to look at it.

  22. Hi Keith looks like you had a good day some great pics once again had a good walk myself finally got close to some herons speak soon m8 .

  23. I've come to the conclusion that you could take pictures of mud fences and make them beautiful!

  24. Cheers Zeph. It's always worth the climb up the steep hill ;)

    Rustedgranny, thank you. Very kind of you :)

  25. So nice of you to take the religous lady w/ you for your birding walk. That yellowhammer is a friendly looking cute bird!

  26. Thanks Shelley. Yea, it was good to have a bit of company for a change. :)

  27. As always, a smashing series of images. I just adore the grizzled hammer on the bluebell, now talk about irony all the way around! Lovely.