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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Friday, 26 September 2014


Years ago, when I was younger, they called it depression, and you saw a psychiatrist.
It was a waste of time, so in the end I stopped going.
I did a lot of 'creative' writing in those dark days.

These days it's known by a different name, and you see a therapist.
I don't bother these days; I 'ride it out'.

Nature is a great psychiatrist/therapist, but there are times when it's a major effort to try and 'connect' with it.
I get there eventually.
I hope I always can.

Here's some recent connections.

Hoverfly, Volucella zonaria

He was in the garden one sunny day, finding the ivy very interesting, and looking for all the world like some Hornet. He's harmless though.

A short video I took near the same day, of lots of Honey Bees doing the same thing.

So long as you leave them alone to get on with what they are doing, they're harmless too.

A recent nice surprise, was being contacted by the warden at RSPB Conwy, asking if they could use a couple of my pictures for an information board, to go on display in one of their hides.
Always happy to help any charity organisation that I support, (and I support a few), I said yes. Here's a copy of the finished product.

I can't wait to get back to Wales and see it in the 'flesh'.

But back home for now ..............

At the risk of plagiarism, here's the Robin in my garden.

Cock sure, and bold as brass. A juvenile, that is growing fast. Now reached adult stage, and constantly singing his liquid, flutey song, as he establishes his territory.

 Another, because I like him so much. He's found a small water snail, for a snack.


My small garden pond is a magnet for some of the birds that visit the garden.

House Sparrow, taking a drink.

Last one for now, is of something I've never witnessed before, and only just managed to catch it on camera.

One of two frogs, that climbed from the pond, sat on a stone garden ornament, and then climbed up and disappeared into a large Honeysuckle bush.

Enjoy your week/weekend.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Caldecotte Lake

A leisurely stroll around the local lake this morning, before I went shopping.
I'd normally post this on my other blog of the lake, but I'll do it here for a change; no video though.

A warm sunny morning, and plenty to see, made it a good visit today.

Great Tits, a couple of Robins, Dunnocks, Magpies and Crows around the car park area, and overhead, some Black-headed Gulls, Cormorants and Common Terns.
I crossed over the footbridge, and made my way towards the north lake first.
Under the road bridge, my regular group of Mallards came for their feed, and a Grey Wagtail was running along the waters edge.
Over on the grass, in front of the pub, a gang of Canada Geese, more Mallards, and even more Black-headed Gulls.

I carried on down the path, and in the trees some recently fledged Greenfinches, and Long Tailed Tits were busily searching for food.

Up towards the bandstand, and over by the island, a Grey Heron, knee deep in water, patiently waiting for a hapless fish to swim by.
As I crossed the footbridge, a pair of Kingfishers flew from the reeds, skimming past the Mallards and swans that were floating past.
The water is looking especially disgusting at this part of the lake, like an oily artists pallet of green and blue. How anything can live in this is beyond me; but it seems to.

Past the reeds, and a Migrant Hawker was ....... hawking I guess.

Thank goodness they hover long enough to get pictures.

Further round the lake, in the distance, was a Little Egret.
I slowly walked nearer, but he eventually decided it was time to leave.

Flying past me, and eventually heading towards where I'd come from.

Up towards the wall of the dam, and the Common Terns were noisily splashing down into the water, in their search for fish. The few that had managed to catch something, were being pursued by others, hoping to steal their prize.
Along the wall of the dam, a row of Black-headed Gulls just watched.

Along the path, a couple of bags of rubbish; mostly beer cans, were discarded in the bushes. I'll never understand why people can't take their rubbish home with them.

Fluttering past in the sunlight, and finally settling, was a Speckled Wood.

The arm that runs at the back of the pub, plays host to quite a large number of waterfowl in the autumn and winter months. Today, their numbers were steadily building. A few Tufted Duck have remained all year, and they are now being joined by a small group of Wigeon.

A few Gadwall have arrived over the last few days too.

A smart looking duck

On the old boat that is tethered in the middle, and serves as a convenient nesting spot for the Common Terns, was this morning taken over by a group of Cormorants, now that the Terns have finished.

It frequently plays host to all manner of birds, that stop off and chill, watching the world pass by.

Round past the pub, and the reflection in the algae infested water made for an interesting picture.

Under the road bridge, and on down the south lake.

A couple of Crows were waiting in the trees, for me to finish my apple, so they could enjoy the core.

A couple of butterflies, Red Admiral, flew past searching for some wild flowers to settle on. Sadly, most have been cut down now, but a few still remain along the edge of the lake.
One or two Common Damselflies were resting there, and as I slowly walked through the grass and dying flowers, grasshoppers were leaping in front of me.
Over in the bushes a Chiffchaff was calling, and a Whitethroat broke cover, and flew towards some trees.
In the reeds, some Reed Buntings were foraging.
A Jay flew overhead, and higher up, circling, were half a dozen Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

One of the pieces of fitness equipment that has recently been installed around this part of the lake, is due for some repair.

I can't help thinking the money spent on these bits of metal, would have been better spent on other things. Things that could have benefited more people that use the lake, and not just a few of the fitness fanatics.

I wandered off to feed my friendly Robin, down by the bird hide, and then headed towards the rowing club.
On one of the jetties, a gang of Black-headed Gulls and friends, were chilling in the sunshine.

I was soon passing the houses, where a small group of Swallows were skimming the water, and occasionally scooping up insects. Soon be heading off on their long journey.

Over in the distance, Cormorant island had a Little Egret preening in the trees.

The small white blob near the middle.

Scanning the water around the island I found some more Wigeon, Gadwall, a small group of Shoveler, and a couple of Little Grebe.

As I neared the car park, something bounded across the grass, near the path ahead.

A rather elegant looking white faced Rat.

Further in the distance, not quite so elegant ........

I hope he's got some sunscreen.

An interesting walk, with plenty to see.
A total of 39 species of birds. Not bad for a place dismissed by most MK birders as somewhere that doesn't have nothing.
Unless it's found for them, and then they flock here.


Full list of today's sightings

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Greater Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Gadwall [sp] (Anas strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Common Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
British Herring Gull (Larus argentatus argenteus)
Common Tern [sp] (Sterna hirundo)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Common Kingfisher [sp] (Alcedo atthis)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Grey Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla cinerea)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
British Dunnock (Prunella modularis occidentalis)
British Robin (Erithacus rubecula melophilus)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Common Whitethroat [sp] (Sylvia communis)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
British Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus rosaceus)
British Great Tit (Parus major newtoni)
British Jay (Garrulus glandarius rufitergum)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Rook [sp] (Corvus frugilegus)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)

Total species  39

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Ivinghoe Beacon 7th September 2014

As I got out the car at the car park, dawn was just drawing back the curtains of night.
In the distance, the field opposite was full of gulls; mostly Lesser Black-backed. A big flock of Jackdaws had noisily taken to the air, and off to my right, a Tawny Owl was sending out his last messages of the night.

In the distance a group of deer, Fallow, possibly, were making the most of nights blanket, before disappearing into the bushes.

I watched them for a while, and then made my way into the field opposite.

Great Tits and Blue Tits were stirring, and a Nuthatch began his calling, as he worked his way through a dead tree stump.
Behind me a Sparrowhawk flew by, and a few moments later a couple of Red Kite cruised above the distant tree tops.
A Green Woodpecker yaffled in the distance.

Some birds were beginning to stir in the bushes ahead.
I stopped, waited, and there was Spotted Flycatcher, flitting through the bushes. A good spot for them apparently.
Moving on I could hear a 'hueet' call. Stronger than a warbler.
A sound I'm familiar with from my times in Wales .......... a Common Redstart.
He broke from the cover briefly, enough time to clinch the ID, before he melted back into the bushes.

It was shaping up to be a good morning.

A couple of Dunnocks were in the bushes, as I made my way through the field, and down towards the sheep pen.
No sheep in the field this morning, but this area is a good spot for Whinchat.

Out in the stubble field some gulls and Crows foraging amongst the spiky tufts, and a distant Hare hunkered down between the rows of harvested crops.

Moving along the edge of the fence, stopping occasionally to scan the field, and finally rewarded with the sight of a Whinchat. Worth the walk.

I turned, and made my way up towards the base of the hill. A lot of scrub to search through.

More tits and Dunnocks, a flock of Goldfinches swirling around, and occasionally settling in the trees, and a Kestrel hovering above the grass, searching for his breakfast.

At the base of the hill I scanned through the bushes. Last week when I was here, I found a Redstart. Not today though. I did find a Whitethroat though, in one of the Elder bushes.

Another view of a Kestrel as I made my way along the path,

and a few Meadow Pipits rising up from the grass as I slowly walked along.

A couple of dog walkers were off in the distance; time must be marching on by now.

A small group of Swallows flew overhead, maybe heading towards Tring reservoirs, to feed up before their long journey to Africa.
At the top of the hill, a quick look round, and then I made my way back down, towards the car park.

Long Tailed Tits were calling as they worked their way through the bushes, and in the distance near the sheep pen, a couple of bodies with spotting scopes on their backs.
Time for me to go.

A last look in the field opposite the car park before I left, and the distinctive shape of  a Jay flew by.

In the daylight I could now see the notices around the car park.

Some days the quality of the birds is greater than the quality of the pictures.

Have a good one

Friday, 5 September 2014

Frampton Marsh

Had a grand day out yesterday to the RSPB reserve at Frampton Marsh, with Trevor.

An early start, and off we set in my recently cured sick car. A foggy start, but thankfully it eventually cleared, and we were blessed with sunshine later. And some great birds too. This is a reserve that never disappoints.

The pictures ain't up to much though; I was struggling a bit for some reason.

Always plenty to see, and some quality birds usually thrown in the mix too.
The Glossy Ibis was still present, but we didn't manage to see it this visit.
A Temminck's Stint was there, but my wader ID skills are less than perfect, (crap actually), so I may or may not have seen it. A lot of Ruff were there though.

One of about the reported 70 that were there.

Quite a few Curlew Sandpipers  around as well, along with the Dunlin,

reportedly, 12 and approx 80, respectively. 

and lots of Yellow Wagtails.

about 30 was the reported number

A few Pintail too. Not in their finest summer plumage, but nonetheless looking splendid.

Not the best of pictures.

 Numbers? Apparently 4 reported, but I saw at least half a dozen.

This time last year, I managed to see a Wryneck along the path beside the river Witham, heading down towards the sea. This year, full of hope, we decided to make the long trek, and see what was about.
Sun shining, and a few butterflies around to keep us company, we eventually arrived at the end of the road/track.
The tide was beginning to come in, and with it, plenty of Oystercatchers settling on the mud. No sign of any Wryneck this year though, but another couple, that had made the trek, pointed out to us 15 to 20 Common Eider, bobbing about in the sea. 
Far out to sea. 
Too far for pictures, but visible through our scopes.

Over on the other side of the river, is another reserve, Freiston Shore. A shame there isn't a bridge across to it, because it's another fine reserve run by the RSPB. Would save the long journey around by road, and through Boston.

On the way back, a brief sighting of a Spotted Flycatcher posing on the end of a branch, before disappearing into the bushes, and then, further along, a slightly more co-operative Pied Flycatcher.

Only slightly more co-operative though.

Back on the reserve proper, we walked along a windy bank towards the road back to the car park.
This is where the Glossy Ibis had been seen earlier in the day, but as previously mentioned, not by us today.
We did mange to see the four Spoonbill though, albeit a tad distant.

And before making our way back to the car, a pair of Migrant Hawkers dropped down amongst the bushes.

 Far too busy to be bothered by our cameras.   

An excellent visit to this reserve, as always; and we even managed to meet some friendly people too.

Enjoy the rest of your week, and upcoming weekend.