Category Archives: Flora/Fauna

Kestrel, New Year’s Eve

Friday 31st December 2021, 2.10pm (day 3,781)

Kestrel, 31/12/21

Out on a walk on the hillside above our house, and my father-in-law Dave acted as the ‘spotter’ for this one, pointing out the kestrel that was hovering above the grassland, hunting for mice or sparrows. Obviously wanting its profile done, it then landed and obligingly waited on this lamp-post for a minute, so I could get the shot (that’s the old, ruined Heptonstall church behind).

A Happy New Year to you all. I mention no politics here; I will merely say that had the shot of another bird-of-prey, the hawk on 5th March, been just that little bit better in focus, that would have been my favourite shot of 2021. However, instead I will give it to the minutes-old lamb captured on April 11th.

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Guerrilla Christmas tree

Saturday 25th December 2021, 12.55pm (day 3,775)

Wild Xmas tree, 25/12/21

Out on the path through the woods above the Hebden Water, someone has been dressing the trees, guerrilla-style. Happy Christmas to them, and, indeed, to you. I hope you enjoyed the day in whatever way you saw most fit. But that is, of course, true of every day.

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Waiting by the weir

Thursday 16th December 2021, 11.30am (day 3,766)

Heron, 16/12/21

The weir is where the herons work, in town. Maybe I return to this subject quite a lot — this particular heron might have been on the blog several times by now — but it’s sometimes a relief to see one, as on days like today (spent 95% inside, marking), there isn’t very much else to see. May they continue to fish happily away.

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Above Bassenthwaite Lake

Monday 13th December 2021, 11.40am (day 3,763)

Sheep portrait, Bass Lake, 13/12/21

As the country spirals back down into a stupid, paranoid and self-deluding feeling of ‘safety’, I’ve given up trying to talk to anyone about this so will just carry on doing my thing, including all activities which are health-giving and beneficial. The Lake District seems a fine setting for just that sort of thing. This is the National Park’s 150th appearance on this blog; an average of over once a month, which emphasises its value. ‘Work from home’? Bollocks to it. That will kill us all, faster than anything else.

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Jonathan — world’s oldest living land animal

Sunday 28th November 2021, 3.10pm (day 3,748)

Jonathan is a giant tortoise, originally from the Seychelles but resident at Plantation House in St Helena since the 1880s. It is not known exactly how old he is but there is good documentation that he is at least 189 years old, and possibly older. This makes him the oldest land animal on the whole planet, at least among those for which there is evidence.

I was thinking at first, it’s a shame that he doesn’t know he’s a record breaker. But — you know — he looks like such a cool dude, that I think he probably does.

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Canary

Sunday 21st November 2021, 1.30pm (day 3,741)

Canary, 21/11/21

Specifcally, a yellow canary (Crithagra flaviventris) — a name which seems a little tautological, but that’s the particular species which resides here on St Helena. They have done very well since being introduced, as there’s thousands of them, all over the island as far as I an tell. And very attractive birds they are too. I like this shot — it was trying to hide away in the undergrowth, but I shot it (metaphorically) all the same.

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Baby flora

Sunday 14th November 2021, 1.55pm (day 3,734)

St Helena flora, 14/11/21

A new place means a new ecosystem, and new flora. I have absolutely no idea what these babies (they are about the height of my hand) will grow into — cacti perhaps, but that’s just a guess. I don’t have a garden here as such; these are growing at the top of the rocky bank at the back of my house, that currently marks one of the limits of my world. But they’re something cute to look at, all the same.

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Little f***ers

Friday 12th November 2021, 11.45am (day 3,732)

Ant army, 12/11/21

Four (or, if you count like the St Helena Government, three) days into quarantine and I already have enemies — namely these little ants that seem able to get into sealed boxes and packets of food, march across my ceiling (as here) in regimented lines, turn up anywhere and everywhere. They’re irritating rather than harmful but I am still on a war of extermination. It gives me something to do, anyway,

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The mynah birds check me out

Wednesday 10th November 2021, 2.40pm (day 3,730)

I’m in quarantine, meaning I know that for another week, I can photograph only what is within, or seen from, the house I occupy. It’s a very nice house, with a superb view, but still, I have pretty much already worked out what shots might be worth trying, and will just have to pick my way through them, in a kind of drip-feed way. For a start, I am not putting up the view just yet, because today was cloudy, and there’s no sense blowing that one until the light is at its best.

Therefore, we’ll start today with some of the local fauna. My talents as a naturalist are not great but I’m 99% sure these are mynah birds — if they’re not, they’re doing a damn good impression of them. The one on the right fluffs himself up dramatically, as they check out the new human on the block.

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The flock works out

Wednesday 27th October 2021, 11.30am (day 3,716)

Many pigeons, 27/10/21

The community of pigeons that live in Hebden Bridge town centre sometimes act as one, particularly when it comes to their group callisthenics. They take off en masse, circle round for a while, then all land again. This flock was so large that here you see both the ones nearby, and those in the distance, already further round the circuit. Military exercises spring to mind — the ducks must be worried.

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