Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Wild Bird Wednesday 264 - Barn Swallow

Continuing with birds from Bempton Cliffs RSPB reserve, these are a family of Barn Swallows ( Hirundo rustica).  As a kid they would have just be 'Swallows' and for most people in the UK I assume that they still are.  

By the time I took these pictures the light was truely appalling - so I have to say I am rather pleased with these images.  In fact I basically gave up taking pictures and just watched as the mist made it feel like I was shooting through soup!  Which just goes to show, that really really should just keep shooting!

I was really missing my tripod for these pictures, as it was hard to keep the camera on frame and look for the incoming parent birds.  I got a lot of shots with partial parents!












As ever, you can join in with WBW by clicking on the blue button below the thumbnails.  SM



Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Birds Eye View

When we were in York we climbed the central tower of the Minster - 275 steps and 230 feet up in the air.

I liked these shots as they do not look like any other shots I have seen of York - its not that people have not taken them before, its just that images of 'classic locations' are dominated by 'classic shots'.

Anyway, here are the pictures.






You can find more shots from around the world at Our World Tuesday.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Wild Bird Wednesday 263 - Puffin

The Puffin - or more correctly for a world wide audience The Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica) must be one of the best known birds in the world.  With its bright breeding colours and comical looks it is rightly very popular.

These pictures were taken at Bempton Cliffs RSPB Reserve on the same very dull day as last week's WBW.  I got very good views of one bird - who is the star of this show - and lots of more distant views of a good number of others.  Just to prove that life in not all good looks and sand eels, I have included a Puffin getting an ear full from a neighbouring Razorbill.










 Somehow, after my time off, I find I am back at work!

To join in with WBW, click on the blue button below the thumbnails.

Monday, 7 August 2017

York - Street Level

After spending a few days in Oxford we headed North towards York.  We had not been able to visit York the last time I was in the Uk with my family, and I was looking forward to going there.  In the dim and distant past I was a student in York and had a great time - so it was a bit of a trip down memory lane.

These are some of the pictures I took - mainly at street level.

York Minster from the City Walls
Roof tiles on Station Road Bridge

Feral Pigeon - Yorkshire Museum

King George Letter Box - Chapel House Street

High Petergate York
York is a place that even has old letter boxes - what more could you ask for?

You can find more shots from around the world at Our World Tuesday.

Stained Glass

I have a bit of a fondness for stained glass windows - I just love the way that they use light.

These are some details from what I think is the west window - the window dates from the 1800s.






The weather was a bit dull and grey on the day - which is, in my opinion, the best light to photograph these windows as you get even lighting.

More UK images to follow soon.  SM

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Wild Bird Wednesday 262 - Jackdaw

After Oxford we headed north to Yorkshire.

I was looking forward to returning to the RSPB reserve at Bempton Cliffs.  Unfortunately, the Yorkshire weather did not really cooperate, and while we heard lots of birds, the views were curtailed by a rather heavy mist.  It may have even been fog.

This Jackdaw (Corvus monedula) was sitting on a post outside the visitors centre.  Although there will be more picture to follow, the grey light you can see in this picture never really improved.

The Jackdaw is a member of the crow family, but varies from the 'all black' plumage of a typical crow with its slate grey head.  Just like most (maybe even all) crows the Jackdaw is a rather intelligent bird.





Join in with WBW by clicking on the link below the thumbnails.  Cheers SM.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Oxford - larger stuff

Of course, you can't ignore the larger stuff when you are in a new town.

So, here are some of the larger things that caught my eye in Oxford.

Radcliffe Camera
Bodleian Library
The Bridge of Sighs
A couple "becalmed beneath the Bridge of Sighs"
The Four Candles with Nuffield College in the background
Inside Balliol College.
University Church of St. Mary the Virgin
You could almost hear the history dripping from the stonework of Oxford.  Remarkable place.

You can find more shots from around the world at Our World Tuesday.

Oxford - small stuff

When I visit somewhere new I often get distracted from the small stuff that I really like and end up just concentrating on the the big and famous.  Despite both it fame and proximity to where I was born, I had never visited Oxford until my most recent trip to the UK.  So I was determined to photograph some of the small stuff, the stuff that gives a place a real sense of character.


Inside the Oxford Covered Market 
Classic Oxford Transport


Wall detail Brasenose Lane
Crest on front entrance to the Bodleian Library

Crest on front entrance to the Bodleian Library

I'll post some of the 'bigger stuff' for Tuesday.  SM

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Wild Bird Wednesday 261 - Mallard

For what amounts to the first half of my life, the Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) was the basic and fundamental duck.  I fed them bread and cursed them as they stole the bait I intended for carp and tench.  They were 'the duck'.  All other ducks were measured and identified by their difference to the Mallard.

When I moved to Australia, all that changed.  Mallard were an introduced species, a plague duck, that was a treat to the native ducks like Pacific Black Duck, possibly the closest relation to Mallard in Australia.

So, when I was back in the UK it was nice to see some of these birds in their native state - although I remain unconvinced that there is not a touch of the 'farm yard' in some of these individuals.

The first set of picture were taken through the "duck door" of our bed and breakfast boat in Oxford, the second set were taken at Esthwaite Water in Cumbria.

Maybe these are not the most exotic birds in the world, but I think that if there were less common they would be almost everybody's favourite.







The following pictures are from Esthwaite Water.





With luck, normal service will resume this week - assuming that there have been no catastrophic problems at work!!

As ever, click the blue button below the thumbnails to join in with WBW.  SM