Tag Archives: heron

In the Park

I went to the park on Sunday morning for a walk round the duck pond. I’m a man of simple tastes and thought I’d have a look in before buying coffee at McDonald’s and taking it back to the launderette. It didn’t quite work out like that as I became so engrossed that Julia rang me to find out where I was.

The young Heron in the header picture was loafing round too, so it wasn’t as if I was the only one loitering round the pond in an aimless manner.The main difference was that I was sitting on a bench and the heron was perching on an artificial island. The idea is that plants will colonise the mesh. It hasn’t quite worked out, but the Heron seemed to like it despite the lack of plants.

There were other birds around, and a selection of dogs and small children, but they weren’t as close as the geese. The pigeons were a bit closer, but they aren’t that interesting.

That was a few days ago. Today’s news is that I’ve chipped a front tooth. It’s been going for a while. I suppose it will get worse until it results in more time at the dentist.

We had a thunderstorm over the house last night, which woke us up and lowered the temperature for a while. It was so humid this morning on the way to work that I started sweating between the house and the car. I’m not very fit but even I don’t generally sweat after walking ten yards.

Tonight I’m shaving my head, as my current look – long thinning hair slicked down by sweat is a very unattractive look. Even Julia has mentioned it, and she’s not that fussy, as you can guess from the fact that she’s been looking at me regularly over the last 30 years.

The way my luck is running, I will probably end up cutting an ear off.

Phew, that was close…

I’ve been beavering away on the keyboard, watching TV and chatting to Julia (made possible by the absence of Number One Son doing a double shift) and I nearly forgot to post.

These are some photos from yesterday afternoon at Clumber park. I like the park, it’s just the service in the cafe I’m not keen on. I may have mentioned that.

The study of Japanese poetry must be rubbing off on me – crows in dead trees are pretty standard in haiku. So are herons.

I’m going to do my bit by making robins into a cliche too. They are great subjects, particularly as they come right up for a look at the camera.

 

I would have had more bird photos but a pair of pensioners drove up and started throwing bread into the lake – attracting all the birds and filling them up  with low-grade food.

Some Birds at Clumber Park

I wrote this last night, with the intention of posting it in the morning. That way, I thought, I’d come home to a selection of comments and I wouldn’t have to rush to write a post tonight.

As you’ve probably guessed from the opening paragraph, things didn’t work out.

I’m not exactly clear what I did, but the absence of post tends to suggest that I shut down without saving. Yes, it’s thirty years since I first laid hands on a computer and I now know less than I did in 1987.

So here it is again.

It’s a big lake, and there are plenty of birds about, but they aren’t the most interesting selection of birds. Swans, Canada Geese, Greylag Geese, Mallards, Tufted Duck…

As you can see from the photos there were Shovellers, Gadwall, Cormorants, Goosanders and Black=headed Gulls.

At Arnot Hill Park, or even at Rufford, the scale is more manageable, and you are generally closer to the birds. There’s a little more excitement at Arnot Hill, because you are never quite sure what is going to be there, and at Rufford there are plenty of woodland birds as well as the waterfowl.

To be fair to Clumber, I only ever scratch the surface – it’s so big. The main thing I go for is the end of the lake with the dead trees and Cormorants. In the 1980s and again at the start of this century, mine workings subsided near the end of the lake and the resulting low ground filled with water, drowning the trees.

When I first visited Clumber in the 90s there were more dead trees in the water and they were full of Cormorants. Now when I visit there are just a few trees and a handful of Cormorants, but there is still a possibility of interesting photos. Sadly there were no good Cormorant/tree photos to be had, but I did get a heron on a tree.

 

I also saw a family of Long-tailed Tits, a Goldcrest and a dozen squirrels, but couldn’t get decent photos of any of them. The only in-focus Long-tailed Tit was so badly framed all I pictured was feet and belly.

 

Raindrops and Carvings

Owing to the disorganised nature of my blogging I’m now going to write about Thursday, even though it’s Sunday night. In fact it will be Monday morning by the time I press the button.

It was raining on Thursday  and Julia was busy all day with various tasks. That’s what happens when you are a pillar of society, people keep asking you to do things.  Nobody needed me for anything, so, with no supervision from my better half, I had a whole day in which to loaf.

First call was to some friends with a jewellers shop.  After dragging Julia round Lincolnshire on Valentine’s Day I thought a visit to a specialist in vintage jewellery who gives discounts for cash could be a good idea, particularly as I’d bought the flowers a week early because they were cheaper.

(I may have been put on this earth to be Julia’s soulmate, but I’m not convinced that I was put here to line the pockets of florists at peak times for sales of red roses.)

After that it was off to do some shopping and then, despite the rain, I felt the need for ducks. As you can see from the photographs, the waterproof plumage of waterfowl works well in the rain.

Despite many notices about not feeding the pigeons people keep doing it. They also keep throwing handfuls of food into the pond and around its margins. I don’t mind the pigeons (though I do wish people would read the notices) but I do mind the idea of attracting rats and fouling the water with decayed foodstuffs. At least nobody feeds bread, though I’m not sure what genius decided to dump a box of breakfast cereal .

Last time I visited they had cut down a tree on the island. Today I was amazed to see that it had been carved into a variety of figures, including a duck, a fox, a hedgehog and a heron. They are all good, though the Heron is particularly appropriate as it stands just yards from the place where we often see the real Heron.

It’s also appropriate as Arnold is derived from the old name Ernehale (Place of the Heron). Sometimes this is rendered as Place of the Eagle. but I’ve only ever seen Erne used as an archaic term for Heron.

If you follow the link you will also see a reference to the Hawksley and Davison mill that used the duck pond as its millpond.

Christmas Cakes

Today I made a special trip to the farm to wrap the Christmas cakes once they had cooled thoroughly. It proved to be worth it, as I saw the heron again and took some better shots.

I then took more bird photos of varying quality, answered emails, wasted my life looking things up on the internet and entertained two visitors. Even if you add in the housework, Cash and Carry trip and tonight’s cooking it still doesn’t seem much work for a day.

I keep saying I will prepare in advance and write a list of jobs, but I never do. This must change.

Meanwhile, here are some photos. One is of the cakes and the other of a heron in flight. It’s tricky taking a flying bird with no viewfinder.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Flying heron

Birds at Screveton

So, from birds at Rufford to Birds at Screveton. It may lack variety but once you have a good formula for a a title why change?

It started off with pied wagtails at the top of the lane, followed by a heron on the small meadow. Unlike last week I did manage to get a photo of it stalking the field margin. though they aren’t the best of shots.

I saw a Yellowhammer when we arrived at the centre but it flew off in a flash of yellow and wasn’t seen again.Most notable birds of the day were a House Sparrow and a female Reed Bunting. Apart from that we had Blue Tits, Great Tits, a Long Tailed Tit, Goldfinches, Greenfinches, Pheasants, Red Legged Partridges, Chaffinches, Dunnocks, a Robin, Blackbirds, a pair of Buzzards, a Herring Gull and a small flock of Jackdaws.

The frustration of the day was that I just couldn’t get any decent photos. Dog walkers, members of the group asking “What are you watching?”, sudden noises from inside the building, shooting next door, camera batteries that ran flat – you name it, they all conspired against a successful day of photography.

The short day and long shadows didn’t help either.

 

 

 

 

 

Nature Notes

I say nature notes, but it’s mainly birds and butterflies. I’m trying to learn more about plants and insects but I don’t learn things as quickly as I used to.

We had two Swallows fly by last Thursday and another one yesterday. Working on the basis that one Swallow doesn’t make a summer it looks like we are well on the way. We also saw two House Martins at the weekend.

We have seen more Brimstones in the last week than we saw in the whole of last year. Well, to be accurate, I suppose it is more accurate to say we have had more Brimstone sightings – it could well just be one very active butterfly. The only time I spotted one land…yes, you guessed it…no camera.

The struggle with Jackdaws continues. They have started on the one at the back of the centre now, though it is quite obvious so this isn’t a surprise. The one concealed in the hedge has attracted some good birds, but the Jackdaws have spotted that one too. They don’t bother with it too much, so it might be OK. On the main feeder I’ve replaced the fat balls with peanuts so fat ball consumption is down and the smaller birds are able to eat without disturbance. I’m considering ordering some squirrel-proof fat ball feeders as the next step.

It’s quite strange at the moment. We have a pair of Greenfinches coming to one feeder, and a pair of House Sparrows on another. They used to be so common I wouldn’t have bothered mentioning them, but they have both suffered massive declines since those days and it’s good to think we have a few around.

Meanwhile, we have regular Buzzards over the farm and plenty of Red Kites nearby, as I may have mentioned. In the days of my youth (as I say more and more often these days) I can remember when we had to travel to Wales, Cornwall or the Lake District to see Buzzards, and when there were only 20 pairs of Red Kites in the UK (all in Wales).

The strangest sighting of the week has been a Heron that circled overhead for about ten minutes like a massive bird of prey. I managed to get a few distant shots but as it came closer and gave me a good view my batteries failed and the camera locked. I was not impressed. It perched in a tree for a while (hidden by foliage) before starting to circle and making a raucous cry. I don’t know what it was all about, as we don’t have any significant water about. Later that day it came back for a couple more circuits. It may be some sort of breeding behaviour but who can tell?

Birds can be very strange.