Monday, 26 April 2010

Revelling in Sight(s) and Springtime Sunshine!

How nice to be back in blogland again and I would like to thank everyone who left such kind comments on my last post and particularly for the good wishes concerning my recent eye surgery. I do hope that just this once, in the circumstances, you will forgive me for not having replied to each comment individually. I would also like to thank everyone who so kindly emailed me, I was very touched by your concern and I'm happy to say that all went well and that I now have very good sight again in my right eye. Of course it does rather emphasise how poor the sight in the left eye is and makes things seem rather 'out of kilter' but hopefully it won't be too long before the next operation.


I have to admit that I could/should have been here a week ago but the weather has been so nice that I have been playing truant and taking advantage of it, getting out and enjoying the beauty of Springtime, and how very beautiful it is this year!

'The World is very old;
But year by year
It groweth new again
When buds appear.'
(Cicely Mary Barker)

All the photos on this post are an amalgam, taken in the last few weeks, when I was able to enjoy several different walks but was not permitted to use the computer for any length of time.


After the long hard Winter which we have endured this year it is wonderful to see all the lovely Spring flowers which suddenly seemed to appear from nowhere and I have to start with my all time favourite wild flower.


'They speak of things above my verse,
Of thoughts no earthly language knows,
That loftiest Bard could ne'er rehearse,
Nor holiest prophet e'er disclose,
Which God Himself no other way,
Than by a Primrose could convey.'
(William Gay)


Of course Spring wouldn't be Spring without the delightful little Violets peeking out from below hedges and hiding in ditches.

Common Dog Violet

Another favourite is the beautiful silky

Pussy Willow


I visited several small, local lakes, enjoyed riverside walks and continued my love affair with Draycote Water. Unfortunately the last time we went to Draycote, just over a week, ago we were driven away by the swarms of black flies which came at us from all directions in huge black clouds. They looked remarkable but made our visit impossible, flying into mouths, eyes and ears. We had encountered them on a smaller scale last Autumn and found them unpleasant but this time they were exceedingly troublesome. I hope that particular experience was an exception and will visit again before long in the hope that the situation has improved.


This Moorhen was enjoying a peaceful swim in the sunshine during our visit to a nearby lake.


While this Coot was more energetic!


Another Springtime treat I always look forward to seeing when visiting watery locations is the lovely Kingcup or Marsh Marigold, seen here in bud.


'Kingcup, is it true
That Fairie Kings drink out of you,
Golden Kingcup full of dew?
"My cup is filled," the flower replies,
"For Kings and Queens and butterflies." '
(Maud Keary)

And here, in full flower.

Spring is, of course, a very busy time for the birds and we spotted this Swan nest building.

Mute Swan

This Canada Goose was perhaps only thinking about nesting.

Canada Goose

While this Greylag Goose was just enjoying posing in the glorious sunshine.

Greylag Goose

How lovely it is to see the butterflies again and one which I don't recall seeing much of last year but which seems to be everywhere at the moment is the beautifully coloured Orange Tip. The colourful orange tips on the wings of the male are a warning to predators that this butterfly is highly unpalatable!

Orange-tip Butterfly (Male)

'You are the most beautiful thing
I've ever seen
You shine just like sunlight rays
On a winter snow
I just had to tell you so'
(Lenny Kravitz)

This lovely Chaffinch was on a bush at Draycote, close to the feeders, awaiting his turn.

Chaffinch (Male)

While this Blue Tit was more interested in insects than seed.

Blue Tit

While visiting a small local lake I spotted these handsome Deer through a wire fence.

Red Deer

At the same lake in one of the surrounding trees I spotted this Goldcrest and what a very difficult bird it is to photograph, it just never stops moving in its search for insects! I managed one photo which showed the lovely yellow crest which gives it its name but unfortunately it is out of focus but as it is a bird I have never had the opportunity to photograph before I have included it anyway.


'A small bird's trilling note,
That seemed, like fairy's song,
On the evening air to float,
By the breezes borne along;
I look and look, and then
With eye delighted see
A Golden-crested Wren,
Singing from a neighbouring tree.'
(Richard Tonson Evanson)

This tiny bird, which is the UK's smallest, was previously called the Gold-crested Wren which explains why I was struck by its similarity to the Wren particularly in its rather grumpy facial expression. It is also the national bird of Luxembourg.

This small lake surrounded by lovely old trees seems to be a haven for wildlife and is always alive with birdsong. While standing, looking and just enjoying the sights and sounds, this beautiful Blackcap appeared in a tree just a short distance away from us. Completely oblivious to our presence, it was a wonderful 'at one with Nature' moment.

Blackcap (Male)

'For beauty being the best of all we know
Sums up the unsearchable and secret aims
Of nature, and on joys whose earthly names
Were never told can form and sense bestow'
(Robert Bridges)


Finally, in the same location, it was lovely to see this Grey Wagtail which is on the amber list of endangered species and can be badly affected by harsh Winters.

Grey Wagtail

Well that is all for now. I shall endeavour to visit all your great blogs over the next few days and hope to post more regularly now, although it is still difficult with good sight in only one eye. However, I will do my best and thank you again for all your good wishes and concern.


  1. Well come back! Lovely to read your post and lovely pictures. You were lucky to get a good picture of the Blackcap, they are not easy birds to get a decent picture.

  2. Welcome back!
    Very good to read it all went well :)

  3. Wonderful to see you back!
    Your pictures and the poems and quotes that accompany them are fantastic!
    Pleased to see you have been out making the most of the sunshine with your camera, and I'm glad the op went well!
    Best wishes

  4. Back with a cracking, packed post Jan.
    (it showed up ok ;) )

    The signs of spring are everywhere, and so glad you've been out enjoying it all; apart from the flies at Draycote. :(
    So many great pictures; the deer especially. And the Blackcap.....I wish they'd pose like that for me lol

    Take care.

  5. I'm glad to see you back and learn your eye is better. I missed seeing your birds and following on your wonderful walks.
    Glad you didn't miss photographing this beautiful spring weather.

  6. Great photographs..
    Everyone enjoying the sunshine..
    Have a great day.

  7. Yeah! I'm glad you're back and doing well. I've missed your poetry choices. I was just reading a book about Cicely Mary Barker so was happy to the quote you included! The book I have is full of her fairy paintings. I love her little fairies. The Orange-tip Butterfly is quite striking. What a difference closed wings make! Welcome back!

  8. Lovely to have you back again Jan...Such beautiful photographs you have returned with...if I may single one out it is the Orange Tip butterfly simply because I saw my first ever today. I hope things continue to improve for you.

  9. Welcome back and congrats on the good eye report!! Your photos are stunning and the camera work is excellent--that action on the coot is super!! THE deer photo is really a great shot!! The flowers are really popping up everywhere here too...Enjoy the rest of spring!!

  10. I'm glad you're again posting and having good progress after your operation.

    Spring has sprung! :-)

  11. good to have you back in BLOGLAND jan, enjoyed your excellent post.


  12. Hi Jan Welcome back and good to see that all went well. Your photo's and prose show exactly how you feel "Great". So good to have you back.

  13. Glad to hear the op went well and good to have you back posting again, i've missed your lovely posts!
    Some lovely photos, I don't know about you but i've seen more Chaffinch this year than I ever have before?

  14. Great to see you back again Jan. A beautiful selection of plants, birds and insects. As for the flies, I had a similar experience recently when I visited Covenham Reservoir - thousands of mosquitoes.

  15. Hello songbird! Great to se you posting again. Keep 'em comming!

  16. Welcome back! Glad to hear all went well with the surgery. This is a great time of year, the whole summer in front of us!
    Happy blogging.

  17. ShySongbird ,
    Your unique mixture of pictures and verse has been missed .
    Good to have you back .

  18. Welcome back!! And what a return you do.... Spring has been blooming around you! Good...
    I love the geese pictures as well as the mute swan picking up branches to do its nest...

  19. I've been thinking of you, Jan, and wondering how you were doing. So glad to hear that your surgery was a success! And what perfect timing--just in time for all the wonders of spring. I've missed your posts with the lovely poetry and the beautiful birds. I think Cheryl may have posted a photo of the orange-tipped butterfly recently, but that was the first time I'd seen one of these.

    Enjoyed the visit and seeing all the different birds once again.

  20. Liz

    Thank you very much, it's great to be back :)
    I agree, if a hard Winter is the price we have to pay for a Spring like we have been experiencing so far then bring it on!

    Linda Yarrow

    Thank you very much Linda :)
    Yes it was quite a magical moment as he seemed oblivious to our presence. There seem to be a lot around at the moment too.


    How nice to hear from you, thank you very much :)


    Thank you for your kind words Dan :)
    It has been wonderful to get out in this glorious weather and enjoy Nature again.


    Thanks Keith, glad you found it OK and I managed to adjust the time in the end :)
    Those flies were horrendous and can apparently be troublesome for some weeks there :(
    From what I have seen of your stunning photos they always seem to pose beautifully for you! I do hope the angiogram goes well, I will be thinking of you.

    Roses and Lilacs

    Thank you Marnie, it is lovely to be back :)
    I'm glad you have finally got rid of all that snow and are enjoying some Spring weather too.


    Thank you Costas, we have certainly had some lovely sunshine recently, hopefully we will have a good Summer too :)


    Thank you very much :)
    That sounds an interesting book. I have a boxed set of her flower fairy books and they are really delightful. I actually bought it for one of the little ones in the family and then couldn't bear to part with it, wasn't I naughty? :)

    The Abbot

    Thank you for your kind words Trevor :)
    The Orange Tip is beautiful and there seem to be so many around this time, I don't recall seeing one at all last year.

    Dixxe's Doodles

    Thank you Dixxe, you are very kind :)
    The Coots do make me laugh, they always seem to be in such a hurry and their huge feet look so funny too.
    After the hard Winter it is great to have such lovely weather and we're not even in May yet!

    Shady Gardener

    Thank you very much :)
    I hope you are enjoying the Springtime too.


    Thank you Denis, it is lovely to be back at last :)


    Thank you very much Monty. Yes it really does feel good to be back :)


    Thank you very much Pam :)
    I hadn't thought until you mentioned it but yes, I think you are right, we have seen lots of Chaffinches on our walks recently. The bad Winter obviously didn't affect them too much.

    Midmarsh John

    Thank you very much :)
    Yes, those flies were awful! They covered everything in sight and really made it impossible to stay more than a few minutes.

    Warren Baker

    Thank you Warren, I shall certainly try to :)


    Thank you Phil :) I agree! The best time of year and I hope you enjoy every moment of it.


    Thank you very much :) It was never my intention to include verse, it just sort of evolved. I have thought of stopping it as it can be time consuming finding the right pieces but somehow I suppose it wouldn't be me without it now!


    Thank you very much Chris :)
    Yes, Spring is wonderful here this year! I loved seeing all the different Geese on your post too. The swan was very busy but rather untidy :)


    Thank you for your very kind words Rose :) We seem to have Orange Tip butterflies in abundance this year, they are such pretty, busy little creatures.
    I do hope Springtime is being kind to you too, it is such a magical time.

  21. jan,
    isn't spring wonderful...your version of it is spectacular.
    i am happy to hear your eye surgery went well. i know you will be glad when the other is finished too.
    you always include so many wonderful things in your it is a feast for the eyes.
    so glad you are doing well and able to post again.
    happy april.

  22. Welcome back Songbird and I'm so glad to hear the good report on your surgery and sight.
    You are so very fortunate to have such a wonderful variety of feathered friends to take pictures of close by where you live. I need to check into places where I could possibly go for great shots.

  23. Good to see you back Jan and pleased to hear the 1st op went well...confirmed by this superb post sharing all your spring delights. The Blackcap shot is a real cracker. FAB.

  24. Hi Jan....I popped over the other day and for some reason I could not post a comment.

    Nice to see you back amongst us. Glad to hear that your op was a success. I do hope you will not have to wait too long for surgery on the other eye.

    A lovely springtime post. So many beautiful birds....lovely captures.
    I have had so many orange tip butterflies in the has been a good year for them.

    I also had a reed bunting in the garden (showed on one of my safari's). Such an exciting moment for me, as it was a first time visit......

    Happy spring.....

  25. Welcome Back !! Trust me every now and then i kept on checking your blog and see today i got to see a new and beautiful post !! The shots are simply amazing and fantastic !All birds are fantastic !!Thanks for sharing !

  26. Jan,

    Your back, wonderful to see you, so pleased all went well. We have missed your blogs.
    Talking of wich, it is a fantastic post, lots of great photos. It has been great to feel the warmth of the sun after the long cold winter.

  27. marmee

    Thank you so much for your kind words Marmee :)
    It feels so good to be back and at the best time of year with all of Summer to look forward to, I'm sure it is wonderful on your farm with all your lovely animals. Have a very happy Springtime.


    Thank you very much :)
    Yes we do have some lovely places close by and Spring is such a lovely time to get out and enjoy all the sights and sounds.

    The Early Birder

    Thank you Frank, it's good to be back :)
    I was very pleased to be able to get so close to the Blackcap, it was a special moment.


    Thank you very much :)
    I'm sorry you had problems commenting, I have had the same problem all week for about an hour each evening, either getting onto a blog in the first place or onto its comment box. I think perhaps Blogger or Google have been doing some maintenance, I just wish they would warn us beforehand so that we don't worry that there is something wrong at our end!
    It certainly does seem to be a good year for the Orange Tip, there are lots about. How wonderful to have a Reed Warbler in the garden, I have only ever seen them near the local reservoir and even then not often, you are lucky! Happy Spring to you too.

    Unseen Rajasthan

    Thank you very much Bharat, it is great to be back and you are very generous with your comments :)
    I will be catching up with you very soon.


    Thank you very much John, I have missed you all too :)
    I agree, it feels so good to have warm sunshine again after so long but having said that it is raining here at the moment :(

  28. Cheryl

    So sorry, I meant a Reed Bunting, a slip of the brain there!!

  29. An absolutely stunning set of photos Shysongbird xxx Well done for managing to capture the Goldcrest on film!!! I saw one outside where i work, last summer, such an adorable little bird!! YOur photos are amazing, thanks for sharing xxxx

  30. Karen

    Thank you for your very generous comments :)

    It was so difficult trying to photograph the Goldcrest, it was constantly on the move in its search for insects and grubs. I took lots of photos of it and these were the best of a bad bunch!

  31. What a wonderful way to return with such gorgeous photos and poetry :) So happy to know that all went well and you are enjoying a beautiful spring and sharing it with us!

  32. Nice to hear that your eye is ok. Beautiful photos you have taken again, you have nice places to visit. Though the flies didn't seem comfortable!
    Goldcrests live also here in Finland and some of them stay here all winter. In very cold winters they might all die :(. I´ve read that this bird can drop its body temperature about 10 celsius degrees if the weather gets cold, but still the difference between its body and the outside can be 50 -70 degrees! And it only has feathers in between!

    Thank you for visiting my blog, I haven't been very active with my blog recently, sometimes you have time for it and sometimes other things prefer. Have a nice spring, it's not a long way to summer ^^.

  33. Your post and photos are wonderful. As a matter of fact your whole blog is full of amazing captures.
    Eyesight is one of those thing we take for granted until we have trouble seeing... So glad to hear everything went well with your recent eye surgery.
    be well, be happy :)

  34. Glo

    Thank you very much for your kind words Glo, Spring is such a wonderful time of year isn't it?


    Thank you so much for your lovely comments and for visiting again :) Yes those flies were a real nuisance!
    The Goldcrest is a delightful little bird and I too have read about them dropping their body temperature in cold weather, Nature really is marvellous.
    It has turned quite cold and dull here again after some weeks of warmth and lovely sunshine but hopefully it will improve again soon.
    Enjoy your Spring too :)


    Welcome! Thank you for visiting and for your very kind comments :)
    Yes, I agree, we don't really even think about our eyesight until it fails. It is wonderful to have it restored and will be even better when the other eye is operated on. I do hope you visit again, you will be very welcome :)


Please feel free to leave a friendly comment and thank you for taking the time to visit, it's much appreciated and I try to answer each one although it may sometimes take me a few days to do so.

PLEASE NOTE: Any comments which include unrelated links will be deleted!