Friday, 21 November 2014

The Power of Nature.

September 17th 2014.  The day was beautiful and the sky full of migrating Swallows and House Martins.  This,very often, is a precursor to a storm. At lunch time, we watched huge white clouds rise, their tops levelled by the high atmospheric pressure.

The afternoon was hot and clear. In the early evening huge ominous Cumuli Nimbus pushed skyward.

 A storm brewing for sure.

One sinister looking cloud and within it flashes of lightening.

Ever closer.

As it towered towards us, the Swallows and House Martins seemed ill prepared, they flew on towards the storm.

Hard to photograph, but you can see them here.

Wind, rain, hail, thunder, lightening and rainbows.

In the strange after glow we looked for the Swallows and House Martins, hopefully they continued safely!

All is now passed, a calm descends, but we have been reminded of the power of nature
and our very small presence in the universe.

Juvenile Nightingale in the garden

It had been a few years, since we had such good views of a Nightingales in our garden, as with this adult bird, seen below taken some years ago.

This adult may be the parent bird, photographed a week before the juvenile.

A juvenile bird spent an afternoon at the bottom of the garden, energetically looking for food. 

We are unsure if it is a fledgling from a nearby nest or perhaps it is just resting and feeding on it's long journey to Africa.

A special moment, most sightings of Nightingales are like below, from a distance in the early spring, as they sing their beautiful song.

I hope our juvenile will return safely next Spring, and serenade our nights,
because, to hear a nightingale's song, trilling forth in the darkness, is one of the most beautiful sounds in the world.

Hoopoe, bird with Red Indian chief's head dress

We are lucky to have this lovely bird visit our garden during the breeding season, not that we have ever discovered a nest, as we have been privileged to in Spain. The following set of photograph's were captured late July, in our garden.

Looking like a Red Indian chief, the crown up, after landing.

Straight to the main chance, the search for food.

A grub is soon found.

How do you get that down the beak?

There it goes, down in one!

Being buzzed by a wasp, gives us time to watch a full defensive presentation.

Like a Flamenco dancer, the tail flashes and wings rise, displaying the black and white danger signs,
to the predator.

The crown raised, followed by swishing of it's wings right and left.


Danger past, (the wasp has flown away) and the crown starts to recede.

A truly distinctive summer visitor, who winters in Africa. If you have them in your area keep your garden grass or weeds (as above) cut short. This will help them in their search of food.
This quirky bird is a delight to observe and we hope that you too have the chance to see one.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Dorset countryside and a peek at Hampshire.

Leaving Wimborne behind and following the river Allen, on a winding footpath that heads north towards Witchampton, one soon forgets the bustle of normal Dorset life. It is Saturday, yet I see only five people on various forms of transport the entire day, I love it. My walk winds and climbs as far as the Crichels and back.

The meandering river Allen.


A little diversion from the footpath takes you to this wonderful old bridge, what a memorable sign, if only today!

A banded Demoiselle, enjoys the suns warmth.

One of the two Swans we heard arrive during the night. Purple-loosestrife grows along the bank of the little tributary.

Just outside of  Wimborne twenty plus flycatchers feed in the sunshine around a copse of trees.

In the sunny areas of woodland, Chiffchaffs are abundant as they slip south.

A young Chiffcaff takes time for a preen.

The farmers have taken the Winter Wheat and the fields are bare or stubble.

 Scarifying the fields.

The Northern Weatears are loving it , food for the journey. For they are Portland bound, then across to France, into Spain, Tarifa and across to Africa.

Above Witchampton a little farmer's set aside, is a feeding ground for 15 plus Whinchats also passing  through to Portland. Today I have seen so many passerines headed for the coast and that huge crossing to France!

I know that sound! how amazing to be just south of that old war time airfield at Tarrant Rushton, when two Lancaster bombers fly over with a Spitfire escort! Wow! pure nostalgia.

Whitethroats, who will also head for Portland and their journey back to Africa, quietly passing in the hedgerows.

A Roe buck watches from the woodland, as I pass in the countryside.

We stop for coffee at Barton-on-sea, with its beach huts and beyond  Friars Cliff and Mudeford.

Milford-on-sea, the Isle Wight nearly touchable in the back ground, Godwits feed before the tide.

Not the photo I expected at Milford-on-sea. Little Egret.

A summer holiday, crabbing net at the ready.

Under a brooding sky, people in silhouette.

A  Meadow Pipit watches us, the breeze ruffles it's feathers and we shiver. Time to head home.

Dorset visit what a delight

Dorset, a wonderful county and our former home, every year we return to see and share time with family. This year was a little different, as we normally visit during June or September, this trip, it's the last three weeks of August, as we had a family wedding. During our stay we had a a few days to ourselves and we decided to visit some of the highlight sites that one remembers from their youth.

The lighthouse at Portland Bill. Lots of tourists, but also lots of migrating birds now arriving and waiting for the weather,  to make their crossing to France on their migration.

Looking out across the sea to Portland,the causeway just visible between Ferrybridge and Portland. Jutting so far out into the sea, you can see why it is a favoured migration stop for the birds.

From Portland looking back across the Chesil Bank to Weymouth.

The Chesil Bank (Linda over the top), looking down from Portland one cannot imagine how high the bank is. Linda loves stones and shells, she could be lost for ever, sorting through this lot!

The weather today is not kind, the wind howls and it feels cold. We decide to have our picnic lunch  at Chesil beach, here even the Starlings are feeling the cold,  preferring to stay on the rocks that have a little warmth left on them from the earlier sun.

By the time we arrive at Lodemoor RSPB reserve, the weather is even greyer and this lapwing seems to reflect the feeling.

This family of Common Terns will be heading for Africa any day now.

High on the hill above Ringstead bay we look back towards Portland harbour.  

Ringstead bay catching a little sun, beyond Portland the causeway and Ferrybridge.

A must to visit, Lulworth cove, late in the day,  to miss the holiday hoards.

Two days later we decide on a return visit to Ringstead bay and walked to Durdle Door along the beach and smugglers path.

A long the way we see many Northern Wheatears, resting on the fence posts whilst watching for food,  before they cross the channel to France and on to Africa.

A Small tortoiseshell and Speckled wood butterflies rest on the footpath in the sunshine.

Coming up the smugglers footpath, the view ahead is beautiful.

Then like a spotlight, the sun illuminates the white cliffs, making them sparkle.

As we cross the hills in search of our car, the clouds seem to nearly make contact with the golden fields. What a great day out.