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.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

It's in hand

There's an old saying, 'it never rains, but it pours.'

It's older than me, so that puts it somewhere pre Neolithic.
At the moment it is pouring, so one reason why no trip round the local lake today.

After the last week of the best sunshine we've had the weather suddenly drops back to normal. The good weather, and other things, also explain my absence.

The trouble with good weather, is I go out and take pictures. Lots.
Yea, it's great being redundant, and semi retired....................and the savings dwindling.
But you can't take it with you can ya, so I enjoy it while I can.
But then, after all the picture taking, I have to sort them out; a job I don't like.
I like taking pictures.

There's a great quote from Imogen Cunningham that sums it up perfectly: 
'Which of my photographs is my favourite? The one I'm going to take tomorrow.'

So, last week, out every day, taking pictures and trying to catch up with the editing
And trying to catch up with updating the website. (Still doing that one; it's in hand)
And trying to catch up with other stuff in my life.
And, in the middle of the week, my boiler almost explodes.
It just kept boiling the water through the night. 
Good job I woke up when I did, or this could have been my last picture.

Common Blue damselfly

So, a job that needs some attention, and doing.
In hand.

More trips out, taking pictures, one with my good friend Trevor, where we found some beautiful butterflies; amongst them this stunning Purple Emperor,

feeding on some bird crap.

A good week, apart from the boiler, (in hand) ......................... and then another disaster.

Yesterday, while beginning my trek round the local, my zoom lens, that has withstood sand storms on the beach, numerous knocks and bumps, being dropped, (more than once), boiled in sunlight, and cooled in rain showers, finally decided to give up the ghost.

Replacement is in hand.

So, for now, the last picture I took with it.

Chalkhill Blue

Until I can get taking some more pictures 'tomorrow', here's a few from a few recent 'yesterday's' when the sun shone.

Corn Bunting.

Dark Green Fritillary, male

Dark Green Fritillary, female

Common Evening Primrose


 Roe Deer .............. I think

Still lots more to sort through. Some sort of normality will return soon.

It's in hand.

(and see you at Birdfair)

Thursday, 26 July 2012

The things birders say...................Part One.

Yea, part one.

Some of the things that spew from these mighty mouths deserve more than one post.
Now I've nothing against 'birders' in general; but there's a few that seem very full of their own self importance. They seem to have their heads firmly up their own backsides, and can't see the light that bathes the rest of us in.

I'm a member of a few online local bird groups, that report various sightings. I've even reported a few myself; usually the odd bird that might interest others from my local lake; including the Spotted Sandpiper from last year.

All good stuff; it would seem.

However, some of the contributors seem to revel in the ridiculous. A few even like to mention at most opportunities, that they are studying for this degree, and that degree, or even a PHD; anything to make them seem more intelligent, and therefore what they are rambling on about is somehow more important and knowledgeable than what anyone else is saying.
After all, they got an education.....innit.

I've sometimes referred to these birders in the past as 'grown up birders'. A misnomer if ever there was one.

Recently a certain someone, who shall be referred to as MA, (and contributes to a birdwatching magazine, and recently left a message blatantly advertising his new book..........tut tut), also did a post asking, ' Do you have a least favourite bird?'

(It also contained a link to his blog; now there's self doubt and desperation for ya.
His least favourite by the way, turned out to be a Linnet)

Anyway, the following are the comments/posts from the thread. Enjoy.....I did.

Another MA was up first with  ' I don't agree with your choice for bottom of the pile - I actually like that species. Mine has to be Dunnock.'

Our first MA couldn't resist replying with, ' No need to be sorry. Why not post your choice on my blog?'

Oh dear! More self publicity.

Aaaaaa, the replies began to come in thick and fast now.

Ms B replied............. hello You Two

What extraordinary choices! Linnets are beautiful birds, and I don't see nearly
enough of them. Dunnocks are inoffensive little creatures that grace any garden;
their chief advantage surely being that they begin singing so early (Dec - even
November) and herald spring!

Have you chaps never heard of herring gulls (and similar)?

Our MA thanked Ms B.
That was nice.

Our other MA chipped in with............' Yes. All gulls are fab, including the mighty Herring, whether flying around en masse at a tip, providing a wonderful spectacle in a roost in the last hours of daylight on a winter's afternoon or just loafing around on fields. They also provide the ultimate ID challenge ...'

(These are all straight copies from the posts; not my spelling or grammar I hasten to add)

V&DB were up next, with........' Yes, magpies for various reasons, not least for the din they cause when they are playing king of the castle in the trees at the bottom of our garden. I recently spent a four days on Mull where there aren't any...... it was bliss.'

Aaaaaa, nice. By now, I just had to comment.

Me............' I don't have a least favourite; I love 'em all.
Even the noisy, brash gull family, crow family and geese family.
What's to dislike? Much better than people.

Now we get a response from a 'grown up' that's studying; RKB

' Have to disagree there, Magpies are amazing. Not only gorgeous to look at, but
also set apart from most other birds by their intelligence - they are one of the
few birds that are 'self aware' in the same was as us, monkeys and dolphins. Put
a Blackbird or almost any other bird in front of a mirror and it attacks the
'rival', put a Magpie in front of a mirror and it knows it is itself. Even human
children can't do that for their first 18 months (look up 'the mirror test').

As for least favourite - it's has to be Great Tit for me. They're the bane of my
life. If they're not mimicking the Marsh and Willow Tits I'm trying to find,
leading me on a wild goose (tit?) chase through blackthorn and brambles, they're
beating them up, nicking all of the bait seed, piling into my traps or nets, or
mobbing me while I'm trying to do something that needs concentration. They make
everything in my project take twice as long as it should. Birdfeeders and
nestboxes should be banned!

Aaaaaa, a proper, clever grown up. Even the original MA is moved to respond;

RKB- great comment thank you.

Naturally some people can't seem to post in the appropriate thread, so here are the ones that went a bit off, and made their own thread.............

E...............posted; Appologies if this is a re-post,

The LBJ -

Seriously , I'd nominate the Cormarant- for the damage it has done to the
heronry at one of my favourite sites Little Paxton Pits in Cambridgeshire.

(see, now I'm not correcting grammar or spelling. These are 'clever' people after all.)

Next we had DM............
Hi all,
Can't believe no-ones put Wood Pigeon, reasons, sometimes for a brief moment you
think great here comes a sparrowhawk only to realise the flight pattern is all
wrong (come we've all done it). They dominate my feeders and one bird keeps
leaving "messages" on my car bonnet. And they're proper thick, early morning
travelling to work or actually working there they are sat in the middle of the
road I slow down then at the very last possible moment they might fly away. I've
lost count the number that I've hit..sad but true. Also they can't build nests
they've had hundreds of years of evolution to perfect it yet they still fail to
build a safe secure looking nest in theory they shoud be extinct.
Can I add my ex girlfriend to the list or is that not PC

Aaaaaa, lovely.

Oh, Ms B chimed in with..................' Bit ungrateful. I thought they won The War.'

Bugger, and there's me thinking that was the Carrier Pigeon. You know, the descendant from the Rock Pigeon. Hmmmmm.

DM chips in with....................' But it's also the reason why they culled all the peregrines along the coast! I also thought it was a variety of pigeons akin to the stock dove/homing pigeon and not the wood pigeon, I could be wrong.


E chimes in with.......' Cant be the woodie p -they taste too good.'

and with that, we get back on the original thread

DW..................' Mine would have to Gulls too - although it does depend on where I am. To see them at the seaside is ok, it's in the skies over cities that they are incongruous'

CA now adds an interesting point....................' Might I add my voice, and submit the Mute Swan.
What? How can it be the swan? Epitome of beauty and grace, gliding across the
calm surface of the water like poetry in motion.
Yes, but you try talking to parents with kids about the wonders of the natural
world, in front of some ducks. Then a swan decides one of the cute ducklings
looked at it in a funny way, attacks and drowns the poor little thing. Cue
instant mental trauma for all those watching, and completely undoes all my work
of explaining how these are things we want to protect. And this happens time
after time. Swans might be nice to look at, but are vicious, paranoid and have
no sense of proportional response.

Rant over, as an aside kingfisher was showing down at the lake in Wicksteed
Park. Some nice dragonflies and damselflies too. Am no expert, but I picked up
emperor dragonfly. Highlight though was the young grass snake, making its way
across the paths to have a swim in the lake (much to the consternation of the
ducks and geese)

Hmmmmm, never seen a Mute Swan do that 'time after time'. Never seen it do that once even. I must get out more. They seem like right hooligans.

By now I was loving all this. Had to leave a comment.

' What a great thread this is; keep them coming.
The reasons given for the 'dislikes' are hilarious, and great material for a
future blog post.'

RKB pops up next, with..............' Swans might be nice to look at, but are vicious, paranoid and have no sense of proportional response.'

And aren't they probably a non-native, introduced by the Romans? You could
perhaps ask if FERA have any bullets left over from the Ruddy Duck cull!

Clever response.


Aaaaa, well done MrT

Ms B replied..........'
What's a super soaker please, T? I'm sorry you feel so strongly about wood
pigeons. The fact that they are "far too common" means they are successful,
adaptable and opportunistic - so maybe not so stupid?

Whatever a super soaker is, I feel that the bad design of the classic bird table
is the problem. I made my own. The roof needs to be far lower - blackbirds and
starlings are happy to duck to get in, and LBJ's don't have a problem. Pigeons
and magpies try but can only reach any food round the edges. Also, they should
always be sold with a plastic tray for washing. The RSPB sells a good tray - but
too big for the silly bird tables generally available.

Good stuff!!

DM to the rescue..............' It's a big and quite powerful water pistol, great for getting rid of cats from the garden. They're powerful enough that I just have to reach out the window and nail the cat from 10-15 metres away. Better than my dog

Glad that's cleared up then.

Then DM killed the thread with this..............' Well with some down time at work I asked a few work mates (we know how to have fun lol).Two that stuck out were 1) My transport co-ordinator was in the aduience of a Rod Hull show as a kid and got mauled by his puppet Emu. 2) One colleague said Tawny Owl as in her village it would start calling at 2 in the morning in January.....of course I had to ask where she lived....

And that's entertainment!!

See you at Birdfair.

And I don't know what happened to the formatting in this post. Seems it's got a mind of its own.

Saturday, 21 July 2012


Here's a few from today.

Had a great walk round my local lake this morning, and the following are all from this mornings visit. Some different one's over on the other blog; except for this one.
So cute I had to put him on here too.

Mute Swan cygnet.

Here he is again

and with his mum

It wasn't all cygnets this morning though.

Grey Heron

A couple of Collared Doves. (see the blue sky!)

Female Tufted Duck

and finally

Great Crested Grebe

I hope the sun shines where you are.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Wild Bird Wednesday

With the demise of World Bird Wednesday, (Springman has taken a rest from it), Stewart M, of Paying Ready Attention - Photo Gallery  has stepped in and started a new one ......... Wild Bird Wednesday.

Here's a few from me.


A proud Mallard mum, showing off her babies

and last one for now

Wren, off to feed her babies

Pop over to Wild Bird Wednesday, to see some more birds from around the world.

Enjoy your day

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Couple of videos

Another day of rain, and no chance of getting out with the camera today, things to do here, so for the weekend, a couple of short films.

First one up is a Pied Flycatcher.

and the second, a Bank Vole.

Enjoy your weekend

Monday, 9 July 2012

Birds in the sun

After watching the Sabine's Gull, I took a wander round the reservoirs to see what else I could find.

Three Red Crested Pochards were on the far side of the water; two females, and one male.

Here's the female.

(apologies if you've seen her before on my other blog, but she is lovely.)

and three of the male.

There was a large group of Long Tailed Tits flying through the trees too. Dozens; mostly juveniles. There must have been at least two or three families all together. Lovely little birds.

and last one, a very young Blackcap, hiding amongst the bushes.

Enjoy your day

Friday, 6 July 2012

Sabine's in the sun

Yesterday I had a tick, or a twitch.

We've had a Sabine's Gull the last few days, blown of course, presumably on its way to its wintering grounds in Africa. It finished up at one of the reservoirs at Tring, called Startops; an occasional visiting place for me.

A lot of local birders, and twitchers have been there the last few days, and quite a few posts on the local bird groups about it "wowing the crowds".
There's also been some debate as to where previous sightings in years past should be logged now, if the county borders have changed.
I couldn't resist chipping in with, 'many years ago we were joined to Europe. That doesn't make us French now.'
Naturally the 'grown ups' chose to ignore my part of the debate. No sense of humour some of them.

Anyway, yesterday started cloudy as usual, but I decided to take a ride there anyway, hoping the circus had left town by now.

I got there about 6 a.m., and soon found the 'bird', off in the distance, sitting on some straw bales, used to clean the water of algae.

 Just me, him, the other birds, and a couple of fishermen on the far bank.

He sat there for some time, snatching the occasional insect that dared fly past him.
And then the rain started!
Oh well, just another summers day then.

I walked up and down the bank looking for other avian subjects. The Common Terns were putting on a fine aerial display, but the Sabine's was content to have a lie in this morning, and just snack on the passing insects for breakfast.

I was eventually joined by another gentleman with a 'fancy' video camera. We both stood watching the distant gull.

The rain was getting heavier now, so I walked back to my car, to get my coat. A bit pointless really, since once you're wet, you're wet.
By the time I'd made the shortish journey, got my coat, and returned, the rain had begun to stop. 

The gull had moved closer too.

He began making short journeys from bale to bale, and then the sun came out.

Now, if he would just fly around a bit, that would be perfect.

A couple more people began to turn up with their scopes and cameras by now, and we were soon looking like the makings of a 'twitch'.

The bird stretched his wings.

Takeoff was imminent.

 He settled.

Then he finally took off, and treated us to a fine flight display.

A magnificent looking bird, and one I'll probably never ever see again.

A real 'star' at 'Startops'.

And today? 


Enjoy your upcoming weekend

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

A few recent birds

First one is from my local lake. He seems to have a strange look in his eye.

Grey Heron

Next few are from a visit to Wicken Fen, with Trevor, a few days ago.

Little Grebe


Moorhen taking a bath

Some very young Swallow chicks. The nest was in a bird hide, and the pair of adults didn't seem at all bothered by people in the hide. A nesting pair are here every year.

and finally

Male House Sparrow feeding a youngster.

Enjoy your day

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Single Sunday

First of all I want to say a big thank you to all the people who have left  comments, e-mails and text messages after I lost my best buddy; Jim. The blogging community really is like one big family. Thank you.

Today's picture is from Wales; from my last visit there with Jim. Although he hated the journey, once he was there he soon settled down. He loved being with his friends, Bud and Poppy, the wide open spaces, and the freedom to roam and do what a dog should do; sniff out all the new smells, and leave his mark for others to find.

When I took the picture, I had a title come to mind straight away.

King of the hill

Enjoy your Sunday.