Sunday, 5 July 2009

Walking by Water

It has been so very hot here lately and the humidity has been high and unpleasant, at night the temperature barely dropped at all and sleeping has been difficult. I do love the sun but cannot cope with too much heat and have to be careful as I have (and have always had ) respiratory problems, humidity is no friend of mine! As is so often the case in our country, I suspected it would all end in tears....lots of thunder and lightning to frighten Louis and torrential downpours.

Fortunately, although we did have rain on Thursday night and Friday morning, we were thankfully spared the thunder and lightning and now it is much fresher. The garden has suffered lately through snail activity and lack of rain! However the birds have been busy as usual, the juvenile Blue Tit (above) posed nicely.

Juvenile Greenfinch

Juvenile Goldfinch

The bees have been busy too.

'What is more gentle than a wind in summer?
What is more soothing than the pretty hummer
That stays one moment in an open flower,
And buzzes cheerily from bower to bower?'
(John Keats)

Sometimes, a butterfly visits...

'The butterfly counts not months but moments,
and has time enough'
(Rabindranath Tagore)

Red Admiral

Before it got so hot, I accompanied HLH (for anyone who doesn't know, His Loyal Highness, my husband!) and Louis (our dog) on a local walk recently. We walked through Rainy Corner (named by us because it has rained so often when we have taken this route, but not this time!) where high in a tree we heard this young Blue Tit announcing its presence in the big wide world.

As we walked I looked out for wild flowers...

...I have always loved the wild Forget-Me-Not, it is such a pretty colour. In Victorian England, the Forget-Me-Not flower was worn by women to ensure that their lovers would never forget them.

'When bees hum in the linden tree
and roses bloom in cottage plots.
Along the brookside banks we see
the blue wild forget-me-nots.'
(Patience Strong)

Ragged Robin

'In wet marshy meadows
A tattered piper strays-
Ragged, ragged Robin;
On thin reeds he plays'
(Cicely Mary Barker)


'The haughty thistle o'er all danger towers,
In every place the very wasp of flowers'
(John Clare)

We wandered along the canal tow-path, it was a beautiful, sunny, late afternoon.

I saw Damselflies, I think these are....

Banded Demoiselle

Banded Demoiselle

Birds were not in evidence at all, not even ducks or swans and there was no sign of that most elusive of birds the Kingfisher, every step I took I kept a careful eye out in the hope of at least seeing that magical flash of blue but it wasn't to be. These geese were on land belonging to a cottage which adjoins the canal

and these lovely Water Irises were growing by the waterside in great abundance.

'Each flower is a soul opening out to nature'
(Gerald De Nerval)

I didn't see many butterflies but I did see and photograph a very tired and shabby looking Painted Lady. Unlike so many other people this year I have only seen three or four of them and this is the only photograph I have been able to get.

As we turned off the tow-path and made our way along the side of the reservoir I saw this...


and I think this is a type of Vetch, but I'm not sure.

(Edit: Thanks very much to Greenie for confirming the flower above is indeed a Vetch, probably the Narrow-Leaved Everlasting-Pea or possibly the Tuberous Pea, had I been sensible enough to photograph the leaves I know he would have been able to give me an exact identification as he is one of the most knowledgeable Nature bloggers it has been my privilege to encounter.)

There was nothing to be seen on the reservoir itself except this Heron standing on one of the buoys in the familiar manner of the Heron.

As we started to make our way home I was fascinated by the way the sun was shining on this tree on the bank of the river on the opposite side of the reservoir.

Finally, if you haven't expired with boredom by now, for those who remember the juvenile Starling getting stuck in the feeder this proves they never learn! This feeder has the roof adjusted to allow only small birds to feed...

and no, it's not still in there!


  1. Hello -

    found you by way of JR and Sue. Looking forward to exploring your previous posts!


  2. Lovely post. My favorite line is from the Patience Strong poem, "When bees hum in the linden tree
    and roses bloom in cottage plots," (sweet, sweet summer) and I love your photo of the Forget-me-nots. I also love the Keats poem...beautiful photographs!

  3. It's hot and humid here too.Birds are disappearing:(Your last pic made me laugh!!!Enjoyed your post and nice images.

  4. Lovely post as always Jan and I particularly like your picture of the tree reflected in water - great stuff and very restful!

    Your ID is spot on - male and female Banded Demoiselles - what little beauties they are!

    (We had the thunder and lightening as well!!!!)

  5. Hi Jan, a super blog to view and to read, lovely, Phil

  6. Another lovely mix of poem, prose and photos, Jan. I see you managed to find a covered feeder but as you found out where there is a (Starling) will there is a way in.

    We have only had a few sharp showers here and thankfully no electrical storms as yet. Bobby doesn't take any notice of them but I am always glad to see them pass by.

    That looks a very pleasant walk along the tow path. I keep meaning to revisit the abandoned Louth Navigation Canal and see what is about this year. The section nearest the town is very nicely shaded.

  7. Hi Shysongbird,

    Great posting here, I loved that canal photo in particular. Great to see so many juveniles around where you are. That Blue Tit must have fledged very recently as it looks quite young.

    We have a few little Blue Tits in the garden too at the moment, but they are definitely old enough to look after themselves now.

    Great photos and thanks for sharing

  8. great walk in the tow~path.
    you were able to see lots of interesting things. i love the name hlh...a great one.
    we finally got some rain tonight on the glad for the garden...not so good for the fireworks.

  9. I just love the journey on your blogs Jan(hope you don't mind me calling you that)It is always evocative and calming reading your words and poems while looking at your beautiful photos.Like Louis my two dogs get so frightened by the thunderstorms.

  10. The weathers set to turn to its usual self this week. Interesting post again songbird. Keep up your enthusiasm for the wildthings.

  11. What a great post Jan!! I really enjoyed walking with you along the path. Your canal looks a lot like ours here and there's a nice path to walk but of course I can't. Love all your beautiful photos and verses to go along with them. It must take you some time to find just the right verse for all those. Our weather has been too cool but I'm sure it will be changing soon. I can't take the heat either and don't look forward to it. Take care. Hugs!

  12. Wonderful, just wonderful yet again Jan, thank you for sharing!!

  13. I thank you for your visit to my blog. Thanks too for the nice comment.

    Summers are nice. This one we are having must be a bit nicer than your summer. We usually have blistering sun, scorching heat and steaming humidity sometime in August but we had it about two weeks ago.

    Since then it has been very pleasant. Cool mornings and evenings. Just enough rain. And the sun is very pleasant. Almost as if it is on vacation too.

    I really did enjoy all of your photographs and I see some that are not over here. So you must be over there. LOL

  14. Beautiful photos, I love the Heron - my favourite bird - looks like a beautiful place to walk.

  15. I hear you about the nighttime heat. Why does it seem worse at bedtime? Thankfully, its cooled off here in the Midlands too. Though the air pollution seems worse now. Bah!

    Your photos are beautiful as always. I love that one of the thistle. I think their wonderful plants and don't understand why some people treat them like weeds.


  16. Cracking set of pictures ShySongbird. Still waiting for rain here, but it has cooled a bit.
    Those juveniles from the garden are beauties; especially that Blue Tit.
    Lovely shot of the Forget-me-Not. Really nice flowers. I saw a lot of water ones today while I was out.
    What a tatty looking Painted Lady; poor thing.
    Great post; and I had to laugh at that Starling. :)

  17. Another beautiful set of pictures and poetry shysongbird. Your posts have a way of making me want to get out and see the countryside!!!Absolutely lovely x

  18. So funny Jan...we know you would not leave him in there anyway....

    Love the bee sweet...

    The painted lady does look worn....sweet butterfly....they are often caught by birds but live to tell the tale....hence the ragged wings.....

    I have so many your birds in the garden at the moment. I do wish they would stay and let me get a photograph....don't you just love the juvenile blue tits, they really are so cute.

    It has been hot here today....we had a short sharp shower during the night.....we have not had enough rain......I would love a day or two of rain.......

    Lovely post as have a good week......

  19. Wilma, Kelly and NatureStop: Thank you.


    Welcome and thank you so much for visiting and for your kind comment, I hope you visit again, you will be very welcome.


    Thank you very much, you are very kind. I'm glad you enjoy the poems, they seem to fit with Nature somehow, I love them and if others do too that makes them even more of a pleasure :)


    Thank you very much, the weather here is much fresher at the moment which is a relief! I hope your weather freshens soon too and that the birds reappear also!

  20. Pete, Tricia and Phil and Mandy: Thank you.


    Thanks very much :)


    Thank you very much, the damsels are lovely, amazing colours when you stop to look properly. That tree was really quite dramatic, it looked like it had been spotlit!
    I'm really glad we didn't have the thunder and lightning, Louis isn't the only one who doesn't like it ;)

    Phil and Mandy,

    Thank you very much for your very kind comments.

  21. loved the Banded Demoiselle photos and the two butterflies of which we also have here in the US.
    Oh and thanks for visiting my blog.

  22. Loved your post! The birds, blooms and the bugs...I've always liked Patience Strong. Thanks for adding Rabindranath Tagore's words about the butterfly. So beautiful! Pleasure going through your images.

  23. We've had rain but no thunder storms. Gorgeous, gorgeous photographs - as always.

  24. Midmarsh John, Joe and Marmee: Thank you.


    Thank you very much. Yes thanks to you giving me the name of the manufacturer I recently found the feeder locally, I had been looking whenever I went in a garden centre or pet shop. As you say, even that doesn't deter the Starlings!
    We really haven't had enough rain, the garden is very dry but I'm glad we escaped the thunder and lightning, Louis really hates it and I have to say I'm not at all keen myself ;)
    It is always a pleasant walk along the tow path especially when it is very warm, HLH's parents had their own boat so it always brings back pleasant memories for him.


    Thank you very much, the juveniles are so entertaining to watch. The garden seems to have been full of them lately and it is quite a job keeping all the feeders topped up. I remember when it was considered unnecessary to feed birds in the Summer but now the advice has changed and it seems to me I use more seed in the Summer than the Winter!


    Thank you very much,

    It is very pleasant to walk by the canal in the Summer, very peaceful and usually something to see, if only the boats.
    I'm glad you have had some rain at last although I'm guessing it might have been a little more welcome on any other day than the 4th! I know you didn't let it deter you from your celebrations though.

  25. swatson, Warren Baker and Ginnymo: Thank you.


    Thank you very much. Of course you are most welcome to call me Jan, I consider you a friend :) I'm so glad you enjoy the poems and quotes, it takes a while to put them together but I do enjoy it.
    Louis really does dislike thunder, he seems to go into himself and sits bolt upright just staring straight ahead, I hate to see him like it, fireworks have the same effect on him!


    Thank you. Your encouragement means a lot to me :)
    It is a lot cooler here although the garden is still very dry but we are promised a lot more rain this week, not so good for wildlife watching!


    Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed walking with me, it's always pleasant there in the dry weather but can get rather muddy underfoot at other times.
    Yes I do enjoy including the poetry and quotes but as you say it can be quite time consuming sorting it all out!
    As I type we are having a downpour and Louis is looking a little unsettled, I was going to say in case we have thunder, but at this very moment I have just heard a rumble!! Oh dear! and just as he was about to have his lunchtime walk :(

  26. Jayne, Abe Lincoln and Pam: Thank you.


    Thank you very much for your kind comments. It is a pleasure to share with you.


    Welcome and thank you for visiting and for your very kind comments.

    As you probably know the weather here in the UK can be very changeable and for the last couple of days it has been cooler and more pleasant but as I type it is raining heavily and the thunder is rumbling around, thankfully nothing too violent at the moment!
    I do hope you visit again, you will be most welcome :)


    Thank you very much. On a warm sunny day it is a very pleasant walk. Herons always look rather comical to me especially when they are balanced on a tree then I think they look really odd!!

  27. Ali, holdingmoments and Karen: Thank you.


    Thank you very much. It does make it so difficult to sleep when the weather is humid, our bedroom faces south, so gets all the sun, which doesn't help! As you infer air pollution doesn't make matters any better either.
    I agree about thistles, it is surprising how many plants which are considered 'weeds' are really beautiful, maybe a little invasive in the garden though ;)


    Thank you very much. Your comment about the photos means a lot coming from someone as skilled as you!
    We have had some real downpours this morning and some rumbles of thunder :( good for the garden though.
    I think the colour of Forget-Me-Nots is particularly lovely, I've loved it since a child.
    I thought it was quite ironic that after waiting for so long to get a photo of a Painted Lady it turned out to be such a tired looking one, ah well better than nothing:)


    Thank you very much. I'm so pleased it makes you feel like that, I have always been happiest in the countryside and never keen on built up areas.

  28. What a wonderful post. Loved seeing your birds and walking with you along the canal. I'm so glad you took all those photos.

    I love the forget-me-nots too. I used to grow them among my hostas but it is very dry here most summers and they don't do well when it's very dry.

  29. The weatehr here in the Southern US is always sweltering this time of year although we had a small reprive and less humidity lately. Still HOT tho! We spent the 4th of July having a nice picnic by a favorite peaceful lake. Your photos are very inspiring and much fun to browse!

  30. Ji Jan.
    What a lovely selection of photo's.
    Yes your damselflies are Banded ones.

  31. You have made me late for bed again, I have been going over and over looking at all those beautiful pictures, you are one talented lady with your camera.
    I do love visiting your blog- love to you and Louis from me and Poppy xxxxxx

  32. Cheryl, Randy Emmitt and Kanak Hagjer: Thank you.


    Thank you very much. Summer is such a lovely and rewarding time, so much to see and enjoy!
    We have had some really heavy downpours today with rumblings of thunder but thankfully no noticeable lightning. Even so Louis has been very unsettled, lately just the sound of heavy rain on the window makes him fear thunder and lightning!!!


    Welcome and thank you for visiting and for your kind comments. I think the damselflies are so pretty when viewed closely. I do hope you visit again, you will be very welcome.


    Thank you very much, I appreciate your comments, my Mother was particularly fond of Patience Strong's work, I'm so glad you like it too! and how could I not include Rabrindranath Tagore's
    words, they are so inspiring!

  33. This is a fantastic series of lovely photos !! I really appreciate the beautiful location..Great..THanks for sharing..Do check my another blog also i.e.Unseen Rajasthan

  34. Re, Lara and Roses and Lilacs: Thank you.


    Thank you very much. The weather here has really changed now, we had a lot of heavy downpours yesterday and some rumbles of thunder, nothing too violent though, thank goodness!


    Welcome! Thank you very much for visiting and for your kind comment. I have clicked on your user name to try and visit your blog if you have one but it says your profile is not available publicly. I thought I would mention it just in case there is a mistake with your settings. However I completely understand that you may be a private commenter, Either way I do hope you visit again, you will be very welcome!


    Thank you very much. We had to visit another part of the canal yesterday to take someone to a canoeing lesson, I didn't have my camera with me and there were some nice birds around, I was so cross with myself for not taking it!
    I also have Forget-Me-Nots in my garden, but the wild ones are my favourite, it is such a pleasure to see them when out walking.

  35. Dixxe's Doodles, Ken Browne and Lou,


    Thank you very much. Our weather has returned to what most people think of as the 'typical' British Summer, some sunny spells interspersed with thundery downpours! I think your Summers would probably be too much for me but your July 4th celebration sounded absolutely idyllic :)


    Thank you very much. I was really pleased to get the damsel photos, they are such pretty creatures.


    Thank you very much. Sorry to keep you from your bed ;) but I'm so pleased you enjoyed the photos, I always look forward to your visits and of course to visiting you. How is your Grandad now? I do hope he is improving. Lots of love and XXXX from me and Louis to you and Poppy.

  36. Shysongbird ,
    Your pink flower I agree with you is a Vetch/Pea . With no leaves in view , and assuming the stems belong to the plant , how would Everlasting Pea fit the bill , with Tuberous Pea as a backup . Too many flowers for any of the pink Vetches to my mind .
    I know nothing about poetry , but you certainly are able to combine it very well with your wildlife shots .

  37. What a lovely walk..I love Forget Me Nots
    and just can never get them to grow.

    smiles, Deena

  38. Unseen Rajasthan,

    Thank you very much for your very kind comments.

  39. Greenie,

    Thank you so much for identifying the flower, it is much appreciated. If I had taken a picture which included the leaves I know you would have found it much easier, silly me!

    Thank you also for your very kind comment about the poetry, I wouldn't say I know anything about it myself but I do enjoy including it.

  40. hee hee..i am thinking about the juvie stuck in the feeder!
    great post and poems..
    i love your macro shots..i clicked on them and saw awesome detail.

  41. Thank you once again for a fun post. I love seeing your butterflies but the Damselfly is my favorite! It looks like a Jewel favorite of all bugs...
    A lovely walk. Thank you.
    I also can no longer be out in the heat. Do stay cool.

  42. Deena,

    Thank you very much, they do grow in my garden but I much prefer the wild ones. I'm so glad you enjoyed the walk.

  43. dAwN,

    Thank you very much for your kind comments. The Starlings certainly have a knack of getting themselves into some 'sticky' ;) situations! I think they will do just about anything to get even a tiny piece of food!

  44. What a lovely tour! I enjoy all the poetry accompanying the photos; Keats is one of my favorites--he certainly captured moments in nature so well.

    Beautiful damselflies! We, too, have had very few butterflies this summer; I am wondering where they all are.

  45. Rose,

    Thank you very much. I'm so pleased you joined me on my walk! Yes you are right about Keats. Nature and poetry just go so well together don't they.
    We have had quite a lot of rain the last few days so there still haven't been many butterflies around. The buddleia is in full flower now though so I hope that will attract more.

  46. Hi
    I was blog hopping and I found your blog. I love the pictures! You did a great job posting them.
    Take Care,

  47. Cherrie,

    Welcome! Thank you very much for visiting and for your very kind comment. I must admit I enjoy a little blog-hopping myself ;) It is sometimes difficult to remember how you got there! Great fun though, and I'm glad you somehow found me, you will be welcome any time you fancy 'hopping' my way again.

  48. Wonderful photos. I hope you get some cooler night weather soon.

  49. oldcrow61,

    Thank you very much. Our weather has returned to what we in the UK are more used to, meaning changeable! We have had lots of heavy downpours in the last few days and some sunshine, it is much cooler now and thankfully easier to sleep.

  50. Yep Jan... I agree with all of the above. I have also read this before but hadn't realised I left no comment... my apologies :-) My... your comments listings are increasing... a victim of your own success I see ;-)

    An inspiring posting... fav pic... the tree with its reflection (hands down) I love trees!

    Hope the rain has eased off with you now and you see a few more juvs out into the world on your walks with HLH and Louis. Enjoy the rest of your weekend... hope I get this in before your next posting is published... I bet you've been working on it :-D

  51. Shirl,

    Thank you very much. No worries, I often get in a muddle with commenting, sometimes thinking I have left a comment and finding I haven't or sometimes commenting, previewing it and then forgetting to hit publish!

    Yes I too love old trees and that one was so beautifully sunlit and reflected in the water.

    We are still having very heavy downpours, so not much walking and it is set to get worse at the weekend they say :( You certainly did get in before my next posting, it is likely to be quite late again this time, real life gets in the way sometimes! I hope you are having a good week and some decent weather :)

  52. Fantastic snaps of amazing variety.

  53. such pretty photographs... I've enjoy the walk...


  54. Rajesh and Cielo: Thank you very much.


    Thank you for your kind comment.


    Welcome and thank you very much for visiting. I'm so glad you enjoyed the walk. Please come again, you will be most welcome :)

  55. Lovely sellection of birds and butterflies.

  56. ...if you're interested, I have an award for you. :-)

  57. I hope the heat has lessened for certainly hasn't for us. Your finches are very handsome, indeed! Love the bee, but I think my favorite must be the damselflies. So delicate and colorful. You have wonderful pics --I can't ever seem to manage the patience to get good shots of them. Thank you for taking us on your walk, I always enjoy our visits. Your silly little Starling made me laugh. They are like squirrels getting into precarious situations in total oblivion.

  58. Hi Jan,

    Lovely posts, great photo's and Poems. On such a lousy Summer's day, it cheered me up.


  59. Hi Jan,

    Thanks for your comment on my blog, I haven't seen you around for a while and hope you're ok!

  60. Wonderful story and photos. I love the addition of snippets of poetry with your photos.

    The poor painted lady must must have lead a difficult life, she has a lot of wear and tear. We just don't have the usual numbers of butterflies this summer. Too wet and cold. Lots of thunder storms but none doing damage in our area--so far.

    I must google damselfly and find the difference between them and the dragonfly.

    Always enjoy seeing your birds and comparing them to our birds of similar name.

  61. Those juvenile bird pics are great - and so helpful! Our garden does not attract such a wide variety of birds so it was good to see them without their full adult plumage, especially the finches. And the damselflies - have you any idea how much I would love to have seen them? Such gorgeous shots. All the painted ladies (and that wasn't many) that I had seen until recently had looked shabby and torn like your one - poor things, they have flown over mountains and oceans. But I did see some lovely new ones recently gorging on nectar. What a lovely blog you have here, I'm so glad I stumbled upon it!

  62. Some beautiful and fantastic shots !! Thanks for sharing the beauty with world...Great..Unseen Rajasthan

  63. This is such an amazing post, so thoroughly enjoyable. There is not only such a variety of photos but they are all gorgeous, and you took us on a wonderful walk guiding us all the way with your delightful commentary and choice of poetry. Outstanding!

  64. JRandSue, Kelly, Morning Glories in Round Rock and John: Thank you.


    Thank you for your very kind comment.


    Thank you so much, that is so kind of you and much appreciated.

    Dear MG,

    It is lovely to have you back in 'blog land' after your holiday, I do hope you enjoyed it, especially catching up with your relatives.
    Thank you so much for your lovely comments, the weather has indeed cooled here, in fact the sun and heat is starting to feel like a distant memory, just lately we have had rain, rain and more rain!
    Yes you are right it is not easy to photograph damselflies but I think that is true of most Nature photography, certainly anything that moves ;) it can be very frustrating sometimes. I hope your weather cools soon, have a great weekend.


    Welcome, thank you for visiting and thank you very much for your very kind comments. We seem to have had an awful lot of 'lousy' Summer days in the UK lately don't we? So it's nice to escape into blog land where the weather is always good ;) Please do visit again, you will be very welcome any time.

  65. Liz, Roses and Lilacs and Bird: Thank you.


    How kind of you to enquire, thank you, yes I am fine but have slipped behind with posting due to lots of(boring) house and garden jobs to catch up with and also having some time off and days out. I shall rectify this very soon and thank you again for your concern.


    Thank you for the lovely comments. As you possibly know we have had an invasion of the Painted Lady butterflies this year although unlike a lot of other people I haven't seen the numbers which some are reporting. For the last few weeks our weather has been very changeable with an awful lot of rain and high winds so not really ideal conditions for butterflies.
    I'm so glad you haven't experienced any damage due to the thunder storms and hope it remains that way.


    Welcome and thank you so much for visiting and for your very generous comments. We have had a large amount of juvenile birds in the garden and they have been eating us out of house and home, I have been constantly filling the feeders! You are right, it really is amazing to think that the Painted Ladies have flown so far to reach us, butterflies seem such delicate creatures and it is incredible that they make that long and precarious journey.
    I'm so glad you found your way here and I do hope you visit again, you will be very welcome.

  66. Unseen Rajasthan and Denise: Thank you.

    Unseen Rajasthan,

    Thank you very much for your kind comments, I'm glad you enjoyed my post.


    Thank you so much for your very kind and generous comments, you have me blushing now :) I'm so glad you enjoyed sharing my walk with me, I enjoyed sharing it with you.


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