Monday, 10 August 2009

Summer Cocktail with a Dash of Fred and Ginger!

Continuing with photographs from some of our recent outings, I saw the above lovely Song Thrush on a garden wall when we visited a nearby small town.

In a local park there were lots of Magpies about, often hopping around on the ground looking for any scraps of food they could find.

'The magpie, lighting on the stock,
Stood chattering with incessant din:
And with her beak gave many a knock,
To rouse and warn the nymph within.'
(Jonathan Swift)

This extremely tatty looking Pied Wagtail was busily scurrying around in the grass.

'Little trotty wagtail he went in the rain,
And tittering, tottering sideways he neer got straight again,
He stooped to get a worm, and looked up to get a fly,
And then he flew away ere his feathers they were dry.'
(John Clare)

This Squirrel, which I think may be a young one due to its quite slight appearance, was just about to climb a tree.

'Come play with me;
Why should you run
Through the shaking tree
As though I'd a gun
To strike you dead?
When all I would do
Is to scratch your head
And let you go'
(W.B. Yeats)

Resting on the grass was this Rabbit who didn't seem too worried about having its photo taken.

I saw these Rose Hips in the hedgerow and was amazed by how large they are this year, they look more like tomatoes!

On a similar note, I have been very struck by how early the hedgerow fruits have ripened this year, to illustrate that, this photograph of Blackberries was taken on July 7th which must be the earliest I have ever seen them at this stage of ripeness in my area.

'My berries cluster black and thick
For rich and poor alike to pick.

I'll tear your dress, and cling, and tease,
And scratch your hands and arms and knees.

I'll stain your fingers and your face,
And then I'll laugh at your disgrace.

But when the bramble-jelly's made,
You'll find your trouble well repaid.'

(Cicely Mary Barker)

I have been really pleased to see more of the Painted Lady Butterflies lately which so many people seem to have seen in huge numbers, the first is in slightly more pristine condition than the second.

'Thou spark of life that wavest wings of gold,
Thou songless wanderer mid the songful birds,
With Nature’s secrets in thy tints unrolled
Through gorgeous cipher, past the reach of words,
Yet dear to every child
In glad pursuit beguiled,
Living his unspoiled days mid flowers and flocks and herds!'

(Thomas Wentworth Higginson)

I also saw

Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly

and this

Six Spot Burnet Moth

This pretty Robin posed nicely for me

I saw this Mallard on the side of the canal

and on a pond in a pub garden where we stopped for a glass of wine on the way home I saw more Mallards.

Finally with apologies to Irving Berlin I saw these Mallards

Dancing beak to beak!


  1. Isn't the Song Thrush just beautiful, great shot! We have lots of blackberries around us too delicious!

  2. You're really getting into finding the wildlife now - Birds, insects, berries, the lot! Keep it up you'll be an expert in no time.

  3. Lovely mix of photos, prose and verse Jan. Great photos. Just picking a couple - The photo of the Song Thrush is a real cracker and I love the skinny squirrel.

  4. Beautiful beautiful photographs shysongbird.The colours are brilliant especially the blackberries which look scrumptious and I just love the poem about them.another amazing post

  5. Lovely photos Jan, it's especially nice to see the Wagtail and Song Thrush [:

  6. Irving Berlin would chuckle;)

    I need to have a word with whoever is in charge of naming birds. Pied Wagtail does not convey much dignity;) I love tagging along with you on your walks. You see interesting birds everywhere.

    The first or second week in July is about when our blackberries ripened, which is surprising.

  7. Hi seems only yesterday we did our apple tree post and here we are, a post with an autumnal feel.

    I love the photograph of the song thrush. I do so love these birds.....there is just something about them.....

    So pleased you saw a painted lady....I have had many in the garden today.....I wonder if my early spring visitors layed their eggs here..........

    Great post as always and I do so enjoy reading the poetry in between.....

  8. What a wonderful collection of pictures. A bit of everything in this one. You take such quality pictures I really enjoy them. Linda

  9. Great selection of shots.
    Lovely pose from the two ducks in the last, and that Wagtail does look a bit scruffy lol

  10. Hi Jan,

    Lovely photos, again, who would be a bird this time of year going through the Summer/Autumn moult. Tatty or what. Cannot wait to get out and start picking them Blackberries, lovely first thing in the morning with some fresh plain yoghut.


  11. ShySongbird ,
    Another really enjoyable , flowing post of pictures and poetry .
    Have just found your comments on mine after the 'Big Rayband Fly' outing .
    I'm sorry , I just tossed that in off the top of my head , because I literally didn't have a clue what species it was - didn't mean to confuse . I still can't believe you found it so quickly , where did you start with so many flies posted on the web ?
    But yes , in the end , you did have the last laugh , brilliant .

  12. Pam, Warren Baker and Midmarsh John: Thank you.


    Thank you very much, I do love Song Thrushes and was devastated when one was taken in my garden by a cat in the Spring.
    Yes I think there is going to be a bumper harvest of Blackberries this year.


    Thanks very much for your kind comment and continued encouragement. An expert one day? I wish! ;)

    Midmarsh John,

    Thank you very much John. I was pleased with the Song Thrush photo, it makes such a difference when the sun is out and the light falls right and of course when the subject poses nicely, not easy with the natural world ;)
    The squirrel was a bit skinny wasn't it, that's why I wondered if it was a young one.

  13. Oh, I love this last picture! I can almost see them dancing in the pond:) I'm so glad you included a picture of the magpie; I've often read about them, but I've never seen one--they're really quite striking. I always enjoy your photos and poetry; the poem about the blackberries made me chuckle.

  14. ...a lovely post. I like your mallards dancing beak to beak!! Our thrushes tend to stay hidden in the woods, so it's all the more fun for me to see your Song Thrush singing out in the open on a stone wall. (Love the Yeats squirrel poem!)

  15. Wonderful photos. The rabbit is adorable.

  16. swatson, Liz and Roses and Lilacs: Thank you.


    Thank you so much for your very generous comments. The Blackberries do look yummy and there seem to be plenty about this year. I'm glad you liked the poem, I have liked Cicely Mary Barker's poetry since I had a small book of her poems given to me as a child, I believe I still have it somewhere!


    Thank you very much for your kind comment. It was an especially scruffy Wagtail so I suspect it had been busy for some time rearing its young, I believe they are quite fearless when their young are threatened and fiercely defensive so perhaps it had had a tough time.


    Thank you very much for your kind comments.I just couldn't resist the Irving Berlin allusion ;)
    Some of the birds names are funny and not at all flattering, goodness knows who decided on them!
    Our hedgerow fruit really does seem to have ripened early this time, I just hope it doesn't mean Winter is going to be early!

  17. Cheryl, RainGardener and holdingmoments: Thank you.


    Thank you so much for the lovely comments. I can't believe how quickly this year is going and it does indeed seem like only yesterday that we did our joint posting, I'm not sure how many apples we will have this time, so many have fallen, the June drop seems to have carried on throughout July and further!
    I too have a thing for Song Thrushes, such elegant birds.
    At last, like so many others, I can say the Painted Ladies are everywhere, so pretty.
    I'm glad you enjoy the poetry, it takes a while to sort out but I like to do it.


    Thank you very much Linda, you are very kind, I'm glad you enjoyed the post, I do like to try and put a bit of variety in.


    Thanks very much, I was pleased when the ducks posed like that and it just cried out for a silly caption :)
    Yes poor old Wagtail, a busy time bringing up babies I suspect.

  18. Such lovely photo's Shy Songbird. I especially loved the shot of the Rose Hips--stunning.

  19. John, Greenie and Rose: Thank you.


    Thank you for your kind comments. Yes it will be nice to see the birds looking pristine again after their moult, it is strange how some look much scruffier than others, perhaps they have worked harder!
    Mmm! Fresh Blackberries with plain yoghurt sounds delicious, I will have to try that :)


    Thank you very much for your comments. You certainly had me fooled at first with your 'ID' ;) So you can imagine how chuffed I was to be able to ID it correctly.
    I can't remember exactly how I found it but I think I started by looking through my Collins insect book which is illustrated with photos and after finding what I thought was the likely one I put it into google images and bingo! There it was!


    Thank you so much for your kind comments, I just couldn't resist the 'beak to beak' caption :)
    Yes the Magpie is a striking looking bird and although they look black and white they have a lovely blue/green sheen when they are seen at close quarters. We do see them in the garden sometimes but not everyone welcomes them as in the breeding season they will take other birds eggs and nestlings!

  20. Kelly, oldcrow61 and Morning Glories in Round Rock: Thank You.


    Thank you so much. I have a particular love of the Song Thrush and was very upset back in the Spring, after being serenaded daily by one in the garden, to find a cat had taken it. I tried to convince myself the feathers I found were from something else but sadly from that day I never heard 'my' Thrush again.
    I'm glad you liked the squirrel poem, I do too.


    Thank you very much. The rabbit was quite content to have its photo taken in the evening sun :)

    Morning Glories,

    Thank you very much indeed. I really don't think I have seen Rose Hips that size before, something about our rather strange Summer this year must have suited them!

  21. Some really beautiful shots !! I loved the different kind of creatures ..Nice post..Unseen Rajasthan

  22. I love your photos! What beautiful images of birds, blooms and butterflies. And the verse too. All so apt! I can imagine how lovely your area must be that a walk can lead to all these treasures!

  23. Hi Jan,
    Not too sure if I’m ready to go back to work now after relaxing while reading your post. I love seeing the rose hips and blackberries. Not long now and the gorgeous smell of log fires will be here, I love the smell while out on a walk with Poppy.
    Beautiful pictures as always and I loved the poem!

    I was very at home yesterday with the monkeys! ;0)

    Enjoy what is left of the week…love Lou & Poppy xxx

  24. wonderful time out with the wildlife around you. so glad you could catch so many sightings of the lovely creatures in your area. i love the song thrush on the old wall surrounding by the different plants. just lovely.

  25. Beautiful photos Jan. I love your verses that go along with them. You sure saw a lot of different critters.If I felt better I'd go for a drive in the country and see different things. I get bored with all the same critters around here..LOL I wish I could eat Blackberries this year but I gave up all the seed things for now till I find out what's bothering me. But I love them! I used to go picking them when I was young. I wonder how many we actually brought back home after we ate so many..Ha! Take care.

  26. Yes... the blackberries are early down here in Cornwall. Great poetry and photography.

  27. Unseen Rajasthan, Kanak Hagjer and Lou: Thank you.

    Unseen Rajasthan,

    Thank you for your very kind comments, I'm glad you enjoyed the post :)


    Thank you so much for your lovely comments, they are much appreciated. Yes, I am lucky to live in a lovely part of the country with lots of beautiful walks and scenery nearby, if the weather was a little kinder it would be perfect ;)


    Thank you so much for your kind comments. I hope you are not working too hard and that the stings are more comfortable now :)
    Autumn is coming too fast for me it used to be my favourite season but I prefer Spring now with the hope of a good Summer to look forward to.
    I thought about you at the monkey house and hoped the weather was better there than it was here that day, I look forward to hearing about it. Have a great weekend. Lots of love and XXXX to you and Poppy.

  28. marmee, Ginnymo and The Abbot: Thank you.


    Thank you for your kind comments. We have tried to take advantage of the good days weather-wise just lately and have enjoyed some very nice outings. We have some lovely scenery near us so don't have to go far. The lovely Song Thrush really caught my attention.
    Have a wonderful weekend.


    Thank you for the lovely comments. It is nice to get out and about when possible although I'm not sure I ever see the variety of wildlife that you do ;)
    We ate some Blackberries from the hedgerow today and they were sweet and delicious but a sad reminder of the rapid passing of the year.
    I hope you will feel much better soon and will be able to enjoy a blackberry or two yourself :)

    The Abbot,

    Welcome and thank you so much for visiting and for your kind comments.
    I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks the hedgerow fruits are particularly early this year, Summer (such as it is) is passing so quickly.
    I do hope you visit again, you will be very welcome.

  29. simply beautifully captured shots....lovely!

  30. flyingstars,

    Thank you for your very kind comments, they are much appreciated.

  31. just a wonderful post shysongbird :) full of beauty and the love for it all that we all of us share :)

  32. Wonderful photos!!!! Love the poems and loved the "Beak to Beak" finale. I think Irvin Berlin would have enjoyed it.

  33. MattHB,

    Thank you so much for your kind comments. It is wonderful to be able to share a deep love and passion for Nature with other like minded people.

  34. Denise,

    Thank you so much, you are very kind. I do hope Irving Berlin would have smiled, I believe he had a good sense of humour so perhaps he would have. :)


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