Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Wild Bird Wednesday 266 - Oystercatcher

I like when things turn up in odd looking places.

I was out with a friend in a rowing boat on Esthwaite Water in the Lake District in the north-west of the UK looking for ospreys when I found these Oystercatchers (Haematopus ostralegus) sat on the roof of a boat shed.

I had been able to hear them for a while, but never thought of looking on a roof for a wader!  Finding these birds here in summer may suggest that they bred somewhere near as, over the last 50 years, more and more of these birds have moved inland, away from the coast, to breed. Given these pictures were taken in early June they may have had a nest somewhere near by.

I rather like the contrast between the birds and the architecture of the building.

To join in with WBW just click on the Blue Button below the thumbnails.  Cheers SM.

Monday, 28 August 2017

Cellarium - Fountains Abbey

Although I enjoyed seeing the Pheasants and Squirrels, the real reason to go to Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire was to see the remains of the Cistercian Abbey.  Founded in 1132, the abbey operated for 407 years, until 1539, when it was closed on the orders of Henry VIII during the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

I had seen lots of pictures of the remains of main building, so rather than show more of them, I will share some images from one of the areas that I liked the most.  The cellarium was the part of the Abbey where food and drink was stored.  I would love to know what it looked like when it was full of life and food.

The green cast in the pictures is not a mistake, it really did look like that!  Centuries of moss must have stained the stone - and it could also be green light from the lawns outside!

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

Sunday, 27 August 2017


Just to show that I have returned to the land of the living, here are some pictures of a squirrel from the UK.  This is the introduced Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) rather than the native Red, but I missed out on Nutkin on my travels.

The Grey Squirrel is not really very popular in the UK, as it has largely replaced the Red Squirrel over most of the country.  But, given I don't see any sort of squirrel on a regular basis I was still pleased to see this one - and so were my kids!

These pictures were taken at Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Wild Bird Wednesday 265 - Pheasant

During a visit to Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire I found this pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) relaxing in the sunshine.  Although not native to the UK, this bird is now common and is found over most of the country.

Of course the real issue for pheasants is not their immigration status, but the fact they they are shot for 'sport'.

I just loved the combination of colours in these pictures - and while there is no sign of the birds magnificent tail, this is a new species for me on WBW so I went with these pictures.

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

PS: still struggling with a very heavy cold - so replies may be late.  (sorry)

Monday, 21 August 2017

Inside the Minster

These are a few shots from inside York Minster.  I really like the ones looking up at the ceilings.  I take them by putting the camera flat on its back on the floor and then using the self timer to release the shutter.  You get a few odds looks, but it's a decent method.

Sorry about the lack of details here and comments elsewhere, I have been lain low by a head cold of epic proportions.  And on that note, I'm going to slump by the fire.  Normal service will be resumed asap.  SM

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

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