Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England


Buds, Birds and Blue Sky.

Darling buds of March seems a little premature and the frosty mornings have served as a little reminder that it is still early in the season. But we shall make the most of what we have. It’s beautiful.

Buds and blue sky-1

Spud has been getting hot and bothered, yesterday whilst Tom and I were sat by the pond, he took a cooling dip, and swam right through the gloopy remnant’s of the ‘frog spawn jelly’ before clambering out.  And what do dogs do when they get out of water? They shake. Bleuughhhhh SPUD! You revolting dog!


Unfit for Avian Consumption?


The birds are working really had to find food at the moment, they are very visible in their efforts, not only must they be burning the calories fast in such cold weather, but they only have a few hours of daylight to find enough to sustain them, I imagine this must make being at the top of the food chain like the sparrow hawk an easier deal though. It is the RSPB garden bird watch this weekend, so if you don’t want to tick boxes on your tax return, get out in the garden and watch the birds instead and look upon it as your civic duty to help crash the HM Revenue and Customs website as you try to submit your  online self assessment at the 11th hour next weekend.

I spotted a  hungry blackbird seeking out the very last hawthorn berry from this tree:

The last berry

so why directly across the road is there another hawthorn dripping in fruit* and not a bird in sight?

Do not eat

It seems not all haws taste the same

*I’d have like to bring you a photo of glossy red berries, but it had to be an arty backlit photo job, unless I was going to climb over a barbwire fence.



Just a puff of wind and I’m sure this snoozing duck will fall over

one leg and one eye

The open water around and about was still frozen, so the local ducks were hanging out in a field.

Double duck

Are you a ‘elder duck’ if you have a grey beak? is a yellow beak a sign of youth and virility?  They weren’t too phased by me observations, they just toddled off across the field when they had enough, taking the snoozing duck with them.

sleepy duck and friends

The hills in the distance were still snow covered

Snow and ice 

and as likely as not it was busy up there.

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Not on the Agenda

I was in a meeting the other day, in a first  floor office when I spied, out of the corner of my eye, an owl, it was roosting under the eves of the neighbouring building. I was very excited, my colleagues less so.

Night flyer, sleeping

It’s a tawny owl I think, according the the RSPB website it’s the size of a pigeon, well its a bloody big pigeon, to give some scale to the shot the pipe it’s perched on is a standard size overflow pipe, I’d have said it was more the size of a small chicken. (a friend tells me that ‘owls are like duvets, all fluffy and puffed up’ So maybe that’s the answer, this is all fluff and no substance: now I have a mental image of the RSPB lining birds up for an identity parade, feathers off, golden eagle to the left of line, goldcrest to the right.

Down below the snoozing owl the street was busy, workmen were using a pneumatic drill a few yards away, it seemed unperturbed ruffling it’s feathers occasionally and having a look around every now and then. It was a bit of a distraction, for me  at any rate, but then I’m easily distracted from any agenda. Obligingly the owl was sitting out the day in his/her somewhat exposed roost site so I was able to sneak back later to take these photos,

Night flyer, sleeping 2 

They’re not the best, but I had to be a little discrete, leaning out of the first floor window brandishing a long lens would not have done me any favours with security, as it is I’ve already got a bit of a reputation.