Wednesday, July 30, 2014

WBW 107 - Puffins

One of the best things from a birdwatching point of view about my recent trip to the UK was the chance to see birds that I had seen on a regular basis in the past, but were now not found in Australia. They may be common to UK birders, but they were special for me,

And an even better thing was to see birds that I had only seen on a few occasions in the UK again - and one of these birds was the Puffin - or to given it its proper common name, the Atlantic Puffin.

I watched these delightful little birds - and they are not as big as most people think - on The Farne Islands, off the coast of Northumbria in the NE of England.  If you have any interest in birds and find yourself in the UK in spring or summer, this is a place you really should visit.

The Farne Islands sit just a couple of miles off shore, and can be reached by boats that leave from Seahouses. And on these islands (along with many, many other birds) live about 40,000 pairs of Puffins!

Its a place to get excited about.

The Puffin (I really cant bring myself to add "Atlantic") is a little ball of a bird, about 30cm long, with a white face, and, in summer, a brightly coloured beak.  Going by the name of Fratercula arctica, it is an auk and has more than a passing resemblance to a penguin.  To round out the wonderfulness of these birds, they nest in burrows and fly with a startlingly fast wing beat.

The puffins of the Farne Islands (and elsewhere) are a migratory bird, breeding on the island and then heading out to sea for the winter.  It is assumed that these birds spend much of the winter in the middle of the Atlantic - but this is not really the place where much birdwatching goes on, so there is still a deal of uncertainty about this.

If there was ever a bird guarenteed to make you smile, I think it would be these.

Now its over to you once more - and this week I should be able to visit sites and reply to comments!

Click away!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Hampstead High Street 1; A Walk with Jet Lag

We arrived in London early in the morning, and despite the obvious attraction of going to bed, we tried to settle into out accommodation and generally stay awake.

We rented a small flat, over a shoe shop, on Hampstead High Street, just a short walk from Hampstead Heath.  There was a pub just over the road, and book shop just up it.  There was milk in the fridge and tea in the cupboard.  Who could ask for more!

Those of you who have followed my blogs may have noticed I have a tendency to look for things small and generally unnoticed - so on my first walk I photographed doors, street signs and found new way to show that I really was in Hampstead.

I'm not sure if these will appeal to many people - only time will tell.

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

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Green Man

This is the first in what may be a longish sequence of images from my recent month in the UK.  Wonderful weather - summers like when I was a kid - and lots of good things to see!

We spent a few days in Norfolk, a part of the UK I had never been to.  On one of the days we went to Norwich and spent some time in the Cathedral.

One of the things I wanted to see there was a roof boss carving in the cloisters. The cloisters were build between 1297 and 1430, with the Black Death causing considerable delays in its progress.

The roof boss carving shows a human face, surrounded by leaves, called "The Green Man".

Similar figures are not that uncommon in many churches in the UK (and other parts of Northern Europe), but there meaning and significance is debated.  A common line of thought suggests that the face - which is always flanked by leaves or branches - is an adaptation of a pre-christian religious symbol.  If these earlier religions were rooted in a close connection with nature, here we may have a woodland spirit, the essence of places small and green, peeking in on the rites and rituals of the religion that largely replaced it.   I have to say, its a thought that I find rather comforting.

You can find more macro images at Macro Monday 2 and I Heart Macro  SM.

Friday, July 25, 2014

A post at last!

Greetings - have some of you may have noticed I have not been replying to comments over the last month.  This was because I was in the UK for a month and put the blog on the back burner tallow for friends, family and such like - all the post were scheduled before I left, just to keep things ticking over!

So, normal service will resume, and I'll be back out and about in the world of blogs soon!