Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Wild Bird Wednesday 205 - Redshank

The wonderful damp fields of Orkney gave up another wader for me - the Redshank (Tringa tetanus)

Like the Curlew in the last WBW post this is a bird with a falling population - changes in faming methods on the wet grasslands where they breed are  the most likely cause of the decline in numbers of both of these birds.  This is not a situation I feel will have been helped by recent political results in the UK.

These pictures (taken at two different locations) show the bird in a classic 'in breeding territory' pose - standing on top of a high point looking out for trouble or possibly food.

If you click the blue button you should be able to link up with WBW - I say 'should' as there was a glitch for a while last week.  Hope all is well this time.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

More from Orkney

For all that I (occasionally) moan about being too busy - there are benefits to such activity.  These landscapes were taken in Orkney, which is as far north in the world as I have ever been.  And when they pop up I will be spending a few days on (almost) the most southerly point of Australia.

If busy means such richness, who am I to complain.

Both of these pictures were taken near the Ring of Brogan, on 'Mainland' Orkney.

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

Monday, 27 June 2016

The measure of all things

While I was in Glasgow I noticed these metal plates on the wall of the "City Chambers" at the east end of George Square.  Today, there are insanely complex ways of determining the exact length of a meter and such like.  While these metal measures are not really some form of international standard, I do like the way they point back to a simpler age.  Unfortunately, the measures of the longer distances are either no longer there, or they were hidden.

You can find more close-ups of our world at Macro-Monday2.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Grey and Green

Oh, why an I so busy!!

Here is a sort of landscape sky shot from Orkney - I feel that I am becoming interested in these kinds of 'empty' landscape shots, rather than the more busy - but maybe more familiar form.  Of course, that could all be nonsense.

I will have some time to spare in the next ten days, so lets see what happens photographically!

You can find more sky shots at Sky Watch Friday.  SM

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Wild Bird Wednesday 204 - Curlew

The Curlew (Numenius arquata) is the largest wader in Europe, and its call is one of the most distinctive.  Breeding on the upland moors and pastures of the UK, you know you are somewhere wild when you hear its call.  This was one of the birds I was most looking forward to seeing when I went to Orkney.

With a wingspan of about 90cm and females weighing in at about 1 kg they are an impressive bird.  I could have watched them for ages - and given the number of pictures I took, I may have done!

The wet flower rich pastures of South Ronaldsay (one of the many islands of Orkney) are a bit of a window back into the pre-chemical / pre-industrial era of farming.  Birds like the Curlew have suffered marked declines in recent years and it was great to be to watch some.  It was even better to see that some were breeding - even if the chick did stay a long way away.  As we were watching these birds the adults were doing some form of 'distraction display' - attempting to draw us away from the chick.  I have to say it was rather comical.

Now it's you turn - click the blue button and off you go.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Modern Art?

Outside the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow is a statue of the Duke of Wellington on a horse.  When I was there, the Duke was wearing a rather nice traffic cone as a hat!  I thought this was a rather good image - so I took some pictures.

I have since found out that the putting a cone on the Dukes head, and sometimes on the head of the horse as well is a bit of a Glasgow tradition, which seems to date back to the 1980s!  You can read about it here.

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

Monday, 20 June 2016

On the surface of things

These are some picture taken at the Ring of Brogan, which (surprise, surprise) is on Orkney.  The Ring comprises about 60 stones and is the third largest in the UK.  Rather disappointingly there was a lot of footpath work going on around the stones when I was there - Stone Age Circles and Modern Building Equipment may have made for some interesting 'contrast' pictures - but that idea did not occur to me at the time - I suppose I will have to go back!

I was fascinated by some of the shapes and patterns on the stones - some natural and some man-made.  The one I found most interesting was the 'bench mark'  (the first picture) which is used to mark a known height above sea level by the Ordnance Survey for map making.

I really like the idea that both the stone circle and the bench mark are constructs that help people understand their place in the world - even though they may be more the 4000 years apart in their making.

You can find more close-ups of our world at Macro-Monday2.

Friday, 17 June 2016

Sky Cows

This is the kind of thing you see on Orkney (in my limited experience) - healthy looking cows and a crystal clear blue sky!

You can find more sky shots at Sky Watch Friday.  SM

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Wild Bird Wednesday 203 - Barn Swallow

As you may have gathered I was in Scotland for the last two weeks, with a work load that did not really let me keep on top of blogging. All I can say is 'Thank God for the Schedule Function'.  Anyway, normal service will be restored as soon as possible!

Although winter in Australia had not really got its act together when I left, the same could not be said for Spring - or even Summer - in Scotland.  Days of bright sunshine and temperatures in the mid and high twenties.  There was a consensus among all of the taxi drivers I encountered that sunshine in Glasgow was deeply unusual, and that it would start to rain soon.  However, they were wrong!

The Barn Swallow - or just the Swallow as I knew it as a kid - is a true harbinger of Summer, so it seems fitting to feature this bird in my first WBW from Scotland.

The Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) is a common and widespread visitor to the UK, and these shots were taken on the Orkney Islands, which lie 30 miles north of the 'top end' of Scotland.

These birds differ from the Welcome Swallow (H. neoxena), which is the 'standard' swallow in Australia, in a number of ways, the most obvious being the presence of a dark band between the chestnut of the chest and the white of the underparts.

This Barn Swallow is perched on top of a gravestone outside a small church on the Island of South Ronaldsay, nr. Burwick.  I could get all philosophical about a bird that seems to symbolise 'rebirth' in a year atop a grave - but I'll leave you to sort that out!

And now it's over to you.  Click the blue button and off you go.  Cheers SM.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Glasgow Street Art

Greetings!  Just to let you know that I am still alive and that I survived the return journey home - now to deal with the jet lag again!

Thanks for the (as yet unanswered) comments - I will get to them very soon.

I found this mural / art / vandalism (take you pick) as I was trying to readjust my body clock to European.  This mural is just off John Street, in the Merchant City area of Glasgow.

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

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Wild Bird Wednesday 202 - Yellow-Billed Spoonbill

By this time I will be deep into my second week on the road - I don't really know if I will be dealing with important things like blog comments and emails, or whether I'll be dealing with things like work!

So, here is a really good value bird!  This is a Yellow-Billed Spoonbill (Platalea flavipes), one of two species of Spoonbill we get in Australia.  The scientific name actually means 'yellow footed spoonbill' which is as accurate as Yellow-Billed - although the legs of this species often dont look yellow because they can be coated in mud!

If you click on the images you can see a larger version, and in some of these you can see the items of food that the Spoonbill is flicking up into the air.  I think most as small fish, but thats a bit speculative!

So, now it's over to you - click the blue button and off you go!

Monday, 6 June 2016

Things are looking up (well I hope so!)

The 52Frames theme last eek was architecture - this is my response to that.

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

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Wild Bird Wednesday 201 - Black Noddy

While I am on the road in places far flung and exotic, I will keep the WBW ball rolling with a couple of simple posts.

This weeks post is of one of my favourite birds, from one of my favourite places.

These are Black Noddys, on Lord Howe Island.  These pictures were taken in January 2016 and I like to think that some of these birds may be the chicks I photographed in the November 2015.  You can see the chicks here.

And now it's over to you - click the blue button and off you go into the wonderful world of Wild Bird Wednesday.  SM