Thursday 27th December 2018, 10.55am (day 2,681)
On how many otherwise boring and photograph-free days has a heron down on the river saved the blog post. Today was one of those days. Handsome beasts, always…. and damn, are they patient.
A beautiful, sunny day today, a welcome change from the grey crud we have otherwise had for some weeks (it feels like that anyway). To distract from the prevalent Christmas theme, here’s a curlew walking on the sands at high tide. I like this shot not only for the bird itself but the strange bubbles all around it, probably caused by some kind of marine life only infrequently covered by water; most of the time this bit of the world will be sand.
This is a little blurred but I took it from the train, so forgive me. Not a moving one — I spotted this pheasant while we waited on the outskirts of Todmorden, for no particular reason other than a certain level of immobility is typical for Northern Rail at the present time. This pheasant was out by the lineside, trying to look inconspicuous; but not doing a very good job. Back to gamebird school for you, young fellow.
In 2,667 days I make this the first pheasant to appear on the blog.
This picture needs some explanation. For the second time in a few weeks I visited the Etihad stadium, home of Manchester City, for a football match (there were reasons). While watching City do what they usually do, that is, barely break sweat but win easily, it was easy to be distracted in the first half by the activities of what appeared to be a hawk, or kestrel, that had taken up residence in the roof and kept flying between two of the stands. At one point it clearly dropped something that it was holding in its claws yet still managed to swoop down and catch the prey before it hit the ground (and or landed on someone in row F). I just about managed to capture it here in flight, even if it is not very definable. It may not be all that good a photo but it is still more interesting than the night’s football.
Postscript: As my Facebook friend Margaret pointed out after I posted this, the bird may well have been on professional duty; birds of prey are a good way of keeping the pigeon and other pest population down in a stadium like this.
9am and I’m at the station on the way to work. Whatever this robin’s plans were for the day, he seemed happy enough about it, his song being the soundtrack to the wait for the 09:06. A shame he wasn’t perched in the sunshine but never mind.
For the second time on this holiday a seagull demands I do its close-ups. Could I (or it) have asked for better light? We are now on Alderney, a 15-minute flight north of Guernsey on a tiny plane on which we were three of only five passengers. Like Sark, but unlike on Guernsey, the sun shone and there is a palpable feeling of otherness, separateness, on this little isle which the bigger one didn’t really have. Two more days away to come.
We went to LIhou today, a tiny islet that can be reached by a causeway at low tide that has one house, one old ruin, and lots of seabirds. I was taking this one’s portrait when it decided to launch itself from the rock, fortunately I still pressed the shutter, just in case. It only went about ten feet to the right, before landing on another stone, so I think just wanted me to get the action shot.
I had another picture all lined up today, one of the continued construction Apocalypse in Manchester. But then in the allotment this evening this robin fluttered over, posed itself attractively and virtually demanded that I did its close-ups and become the second robin in a fortnight to feature on here. He’s certainly a plumper specimen than the ragged one in Morecambe. But how frustrated it might be if it could see the results. That crucial feather out of place…. like the open fly on the wedding photo? Well, maybe not quite so dramatic.
At the lin-laws’. This rather ragged robin, on its third brood of chicks of the year apparently, has decided that the interior of the kitchen, at least, is potential foraging territory and can be tempted into the house with titbits (I did get a picture of it inside, but the lighting was no good on that one). As I’ve said before, robins will do just fine by us in the long run even if other species don’t.
A random bird shot yes, but point 1) — you really don’t see many jays, generally and point 2) you certainly don’t see many of them within 15 yards of Oxford Road, the A34, in the absolute midst of the UoM campus. Perhaps now and again we do something right.
And point 3). How did jays end up with quite such specific colouring? Who said, evolution-wise — OK, what you guys really need, to successfully reproduce, is that blue-and-white ‘policeman’s helmet’ style band? I’m sure evolution was the agent — really, I’m a Darwinist — but what drove it?