Monday, 31 December 2012

Beside the Sea: Southwold

Do Turnstones eat carrot? Perhaps it wasn't carrot . . .

There were some wonderful waves ...

... and beautiful stretches of crystalline sand ...

... as we walked towards the lighthouse ...

... not forgetting the sea-washed stones ...

... or the (rhapsody in blue?) beach huts ...

... and the rainbow beach huts ...

... and the pastel shades.

What a delightful weathervane on the Sailors' Reading Room ...

... even if the Wagtail was more interested in digging for treasure down below.
Happy New Year!

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Seasonal Splash: Camels at Christmas

Lower photo: Bethlehem, Church of the Nativity  © David Gill
Happy Christmas!

Friday, 21 December 2012

Home Patch: What the Robin Saw ...

The Robin seemed to know that the Jay was totally preoccupied ...

... craning his head this way ...
... and that, in a very furtive manner.

He turned around once more, perhaps to ensure that the Grey Squirrel was nowhere to be seen ...

... before digging up the Squirrel's acorn ...

... and swallowing it.
You might like to read more on the subject of caching and theft on this BBC report here
And, of course, I can't be sure that this particular acorn had been buried by the squirrel!

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Home Patch: Photos through the Window

I'm not sure what kind of moth, but wonder if it is perhaps a variety of Winter Moth

This is the little Bluetit who has been enjoying our coconut fat-ball.

I love to watch this Song Thrush in the undergrowth.

I was delighted to see a pair of Greenfinches.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Nature Reserves: Minsmere Midwinter Medley

A case of 'now you see me' ...

... 'Now you don't!'  (or do you?)

Bullfinch on the berries ...

Is this the Goldcrest? ... a tiny hyperactive bird (my excuse for a poor shot!*)

Patterns of fungi ...
... and patterns of bark. I wonder what tree!
* The winter light in the tree was so dim that I have lightened this photo considerably ...

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Nature Reserves: Minsmere

Grey Squirrel ... with a twist in the tail!

A friendly rabbit

Swanlake ...

... all puffed out!

Not quite Treetops ... but close!

Delighting in (wild)life ...
We failed to see Waxwings today, but were thrilled to watch Bullfinches, hyperactive Goldcrests and a Green Woodpecker. Sadly the low light meant that most of my bird photos were disappointing (and the Goldcrests were too quick for the camera!). 

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Home Patch: Winter Wonderland

'Past three o'clock and a cold and frosty morning' . . .

. . . or even afternoon!

These are wintry views of my home patch ...

. . . complete with Blue tit.

I hope you enjoy my winter wonderland!

Nature Reserves: Minsmere (& Birdwatching Survey)

These are a few photos from a very chilly winter's day at Minsmere. The bird above is a Fieldfare, and I believe I have only seen this member of the Thrush family once before. I gather these birds eat worms and insects in addition to the Hawthorn berries that the one in the photo was enjoying. 

There was one small solitary Muntjac deer grazing among the pigeons.

The bird below (and again the twilight interfered with my photography!) is a Redwing. Like the Fieldfare above, Redwings are also members of the Thrush family. You can make out the distinctive cream stripe above the eye and its Robin-coloured flank. 

And finally ...

in my last post I posed the question, 'why do we watch birds?'
These were our answers ...

[a] professionally
[b] to tick off the species as you see them
[c] casually and for enjoyment
[d] to record trends in the avian population (which you submit to relevant bodies)
[e] because you enjoy photographing them
[f] because bird watching encourages exercise
[g] other

[a] - 1 reader
[b] - 3 readers
[c] - 4 readers
[d] - 1 reader
[e] - 4 of us (with one qualification!)
[f] - 1 reader (me!) included exercise

Kay added 'My watching birds really isn't on the list...they are fascinating, uplifting, always beautiful... ' I'm inclined to think this may constitute a [g] for this purpose! 

So thank you to all who responded!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Beautiful Birds: Waxwings

I guess most of us who enjoy birding feel a thrill when we see a species for the first time. I don't methodically add 'Lifers' to a list, but it is always exciting to see new birds.

The Waxwing in the photos is my latest 'bird of the blog'. I had begun to feel it was only a matter of time until our first sighting, as we knew these birds were about on the trees with berries at Minsmere. We didn't reach the reserve until it was practically dusk, so my photos are only record shots. The thrill, however, was seeing these birds, and discovering that they were much larger than we had expected. The photo challenge now is to return earlier in the day, when the sun is out and the birds are about!

Meanwhile, Google Images has some stunning shots over here. The RSPB site has useful information, and can be found here.

I wonder (purely out of interest) whether those of you reading this watch birds ...

[a] professionally
[b] to tick off the species as you see them
[c] casually and for enjoyment
[d] to record trends in the avian population (which you submit to relevant bodies)
[e] because you enjoy photographing them
[f] because bird watching encourages exercise
[g] other

Do drop a line - or relevant letter e.g. [a] - in the Comments box if you feel so inclined. As I say, this is just for interest. Oh, and are there any Waxwings in your neck of the woods?

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Seasonal Splash: Snow Photo on Golau Cancer Centre Website

Sunlight, Swansea Marina

 I am delighted to have a 'chilly' winter photo of Mumbles on the home page of the Golau Cancer Foundation in Wales.

The photograph, which you will see if you click here, was taken two winters ago from my upstairs study in our Swansea home. We looked out over the tower of Singleton Hospital and on to the Mumbles (featured in the photo) and then out across the Severn Estuary to Exmoor.

So what is the The Golau Cancer Foundation? What does it do?

It is the new name for fundraising for the South West Wales Cancer Centre, which is a part of the South Wales Cancer Network and is the second largest non-surgical Cancer Centre in the country. It cares for people living in Bridgend up to Aberystwyth, and across all of West Wales, supporting a population of more than 800,000 people.
The Golau Cancer Foundation gives over 45,000 treatments to people every year, helping tens of thousands of people and their families through the fight against Cancer.

The Cancer Centre, based at Singleton Hospital in Swansea, has patients referred for treatment from across the network: Neath Port Talbot, Morriston, Prince Phillip, West Wales General, Withybush and Bronglas.  The work of the Centre includes:
  • Local chemotherapy units
  • Chemotherapy Day Unit (based at Singleton)
  • Radiotherapy
  • In patient treatments and specialised cancer care wards
 And incidentally, the Golau Christmas card range can be found here. I particularly like the 'Robin Red Breast' card!

Friday, 23 November 2012

Seasonal Splash: the Norfolk Broad at UEA

I seem to have been in Norwich quite a bit this last week! I spent my teeneage years here, so it has a special place in my heart. On Tuesday night I went on a twilight tour of the Cathedral Cloisters ...

.... and then on Wednesday I had the chance to wander around the lovely grounds at UEA, where there is a Broad. It was a rather bleak November afternoon, but I managed to spot drifts of autumn colouring.

The photo above shows another view of the UEA Broad, an artificial lake that had been marsh in a previous pre-university existence. I wonder how many British universities have their own wildlife trail. Norfolk is full of Broads

I approached the Broad from the iconic Sainsbury Centre, pictured below. 

These are the ziggurats, designed by Sir Denys Lasdun ... You can read about the original ziggurats here

The larch above was brown, perhaps due to the time of year. The seed heads below were looking pretty bare.

I believe it is National Tree Week. I looked closely at these Ash buds, hoping that they would escape the die-back disease ...

It was a shame that there were so few birds about, though having said that, I noticed a Magpie, a Jay, several Long-tailed tits, a Robin and this Black-headed Gull ...

I must go back in the Spring, and see how different the landscape looks.

These bright leaves were a glorious sight on a drab afternoon! 

I felt we needed Mr and Mrs Andrews (without the gun!) to complete the scene below ...