Sunday, 29 August 2010

The Eyes Have It!

It is so nice to be back in blogland after my recent eye surgery and despite some complications I am happy to say things are now pretty well as they should be and I just have (I hope) one more hospital appointment in a couple of weeks time and then that should be the end of it. Thank you so much for all your good wishes, it is much appreciated.

I don't know what has happened to Summer lately but it seems to have disappeared here and we have had rain and cool temperatures for some days now. However, I have managed to get out with the camera a couple of times and on a sunny Sunday recently we visited the local herb centre where I knew I would be guaranteed to see some colourful butterflies.

Peacock Butterfly

Brimstone Butterfly

Meadow Brown Butterfly

Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly

' "Ho!" said a butterfly, "here am I,
Up in the air, who used to lie
Flat on the ground for the passers by
To treat with utter neglect!
None will suspect that I am the same
With a bright, new coat and a different name;
The piece of nothingness whence I came,
In me they'll never detect." '

(Miss H.F. Gould)

Gatekeeper Butterfly

Comma Butterfly

Small Copper Butterfly

Red Admiral Butterfly

'Child of the sun! pursue thy rapturous flight,
Mingling with her thou lov'st in fields of light;

And, where the flowers of Paradise unfold,

Quaff fragrant nectar from their cups of gold.'

(Samuel Rogers)

The following
photos were taken at one of my favourite places, yes, you've guessed it, Draycote :) The first three photos show a Canada Goose being very aggressive towards a Coot which had done nothing to antagonise it other than just being there!

I was close enough to see that the goose was not just threatening the Coot but actually pecking the poor thing!

It wasn't long before the Coot made a swift exit watched by a very self satisfied Canada Goose.

The next two photos were taken before I had my surgery and show Mallard mums showing off their little ones. I'm not sure what had caught their attention in the first photo but most of them seemed to be looking at something to their left.

Mallard Mum and Ducklings

This young Crow seemed happy to pose for a photo.


'The crow—the crow! the great black crow!
He loves the fat meadow—his taste is low;
He loves the fat worms, and he dines in a row
With fifty fine cousins all black as a sloe.'
(P.J. Bailey)

I know they are quite common birds but I rather like Moorhens with their colourful red bills.


This Grey Wagtail was posing nicely.

Grey Wagtail

There always seem to be good numbers of wagtails at Draycote, predominantly pied but also frequently grey and yellow. I am rather confused about the following one as there doesn't seem to be much yellow on it that I can see but I assume it is a young Grey Wagtail. I stand to be corrected.

Edit: Thanks very much to Keith, Greenie and Warren for identifying the bird below as a young

Pied Wagtail

'I go to nature to be soothed and healed,

and to have my senses put in order.'
(John Burroughs)

Something else which can be seen in large numbers there are Rabbits. I was interested to learn that without Rabbits much of our downland and cliff tops would be overgrown with brambles, gorse and hawthorn. They suppress the growth of shrubs by nibbling the growing shoots and the resulting turf encourages the growth of insects, attracting low growing plants such as trefoils and vetches beloved by butterflies. The very short grass itself attracts insects such as ants which in turn attract many species of birds.


Finally I will end as I started with this Frog which was just outside my back door and which stayed put while I hurriedly fetched my camera. I know some people aren't keen on them but I think they are beautiful.

Common Frog

Well that is all for now. I will be trying to catch up with all of your great blogs over the next few days. Enjoy the beauty of Nature, wherever you are.


  1. Dear Shy Songbird,

    It is so good to read a post from you! I have missed them so much. I am so happy to hear your surgery went well, and you are recovering.

    I love frogs--and toads. I think they are a sign of a healthy garden. I had one jump out of a flower pot last night as I was watering. He made me jump--and scream--I was afraid it was a snake. :-)

  2. I love the colourful butterflies! Enjoy reading your blog and hope you recover soon!

  3. I missed you and am so glad to have you back, especially with the successcful surgeries behind you!

  4. So glad all is well you captured some wonderful photos

  5. So good to see you back Jan, and glad everything has gone well.
    I love frogs too, especially the first. Looks like he has a smile for you.
    Interesting fact about the rabbits. Just shows there is a place for everything in nature, despite humans efforts to get rid of some creatures.

    Great selection of butterflies; and yes, your little bird is a Pied Wagtail.

    Reminds me; I must try and get back up to Draycote myself soon. :)

  6. welcome back SS, think it is a grey wag. looks bulkier and longer than a pied.

    like the frogs!

  7. Beauties. Every single one of them.

  8. Butterflies birds and natures things
    What glory to our eyes they bring
    To see them all warms hearts and minds
    Those few dark days left far behind

    The things you see and prose you write
    Bring joy to all a pure delight
    So welcome back and glad your better.
    Oh how we missed every word and letter.

    Welcome back Jan

  9. Welcome back ShySongbird - so glad to hear everything went well :)
    Looking forward to seeing more of your photos!

  10. Lovely to see you back with your lovely photos and poetry. Happy to hear that all went well and hope your next appointment does the trick. Your photos are exceptional ~ and since frogs are good luck, it was very fortuitous that he met you at the door :) Interesting about the rabbits, too :) Loved the butterflies and birds as well.

  11. Welcome back Songbird !!! What a great selection of Flutters to kick off with too!

    Look forward to reading agout your next exploits.

    Big Hug

  12. Morning Glories in Round Rock

    Dear Jenny, thank you for your very kind comments.
    I don't know how anyone can't love frogs and toads but I agree they can give you a bit of a shock when they leap from a pot while watering!

    Friend of HK

    Welcome! Thank you for visiting (and following) and for your very kind comments :)


    Thank you for your kind words Wilma :) I have missed being among you all and am glad to be back.

    Country Mouse Studio

    Thank you very much for your comment and for visiting again and following :)


    It's great to be back, Keith :)
    Yes, the frog did look like it was smiling at me and you can be sure I smiled back :)
    I completely agree with you regarding Nature and man, it is perfectly capable of looking after itself without interference from us!
    Don't go to Draycote this weekend, the army have a firing display on the adjacent fields so there will be much disruption to bird life. I'm sure you can guess what I think about that!!


    Thanks Pete, it's great to be back. I think you are right about the wagtail!


    Thank you very much, Costas :)


    Monty, how very kind you are
    And so much cleverer than I by far!

    That was the best I could manage I'm afraid :
    What a wonderful welcome! Thank you so much Monty :) how very kind of you to go to so much trouble and how clever you are, I could never do that!


    Thank you very much, Sharon. I look forward to visiting you soon :)


    Thank you for your very kind words, Glo :) I didn't know that frogs are considered to be good luck, I will remember that! Yes, I thought the rabbit facts were interesting, it just shows everything has its place in Nature.

    Warren Baker

    Thank you very much Warren :)
    It's great to be back and I look forward to visiting you later. Sending a big hug back.

  13. Welcome back and beautiful set of pictures. I love the first one, but the butterfly set is my favorite!

  14. It's good to have you back and on the mend. I've missed your posts. I love frogs too and really enjoy a good choir of them but especially while laying in bed late at night. There's something about the song they sing!

  15. So good to hear that your eye surgery went well, Songbird, and that you are now on the road to a complete recovery. That is good news indeed!

    Such an array of beautiful butterflies, most of which I don't see here except for the Red Admiral, which visited my garden in droves earlier this summer. I'd like some of your cool, rainy weather; we've had such a hot summer and no rain for a long time, but the butterflies have loved it. I only need to step out my front door to see several different species.

    I don't often see a frog here, but I do have lots of toads, whom I regard as my gardening friends. They're welcome to stay here and eat as many insects as they can find! And thank you for sharing something positive about rabbits--I never thought about their purpose in the environment this way. We're always grumbling about all the damage they do; it's good to hear something nice about them for a change.

    It's good to have you back!

  16. That's a lovely blog, with the Frog, Butterflies, Birds and an Animal. Good feeling.

  17. Hi Jan, pleased that your surgery went well and that you are back amongst us. So good to see your sweet posts again.

    Would they like my rabbits to help crop the hawthorn, gorse etc? I would willingly get someone to catch them and take them there. lol

    I love frogs and toads but sadly have not seen so many this year. They are around but not in any great numbers.

    Great to see all the seems to have been a good year generally for them. Long may it continue.

  18. Welcome back ShySongbird to where you belong .
    Glad things went well for you , and that you managed some butterflies , before they all disappear .
    Re. your reflected Wagtail , my money would be on a juvenile Pied . I'm surprised Warren didn't ID it .

  19. Your Wagtail is a Young Pied Wagtail Songbird :-)

  20. WELCOME back..
    What excellent flutterby shots you shared today!!
    Draycote offered up some great bird shots too!!!

  21. Lovely shots. Have been trying my hand at photographing butterflies lately, so particularly liked your flutterby images. Nice blog.

  22. I was only wondering yesterday how things had gone for you Jan. Great that it looks to have turned out OK.

    A lovely set of flutters and our feathered friends. Great photo of the rabbit. I never get near enough for a decent shot.

  23. Chris

    Thank you very much Chris. The butterflies performed well for me that day :)


    Thank you very much, Linda. The frogs we have here don't make much noise and I really envy you being able to lay in bed listening to them serenade you :)


    Thank you so much for your very kind words, Rose :)
    I love the Red Admirals, they look so handsome to me, sadly I haven't seen very many this year.
    I haven't seen a toad for a long time but I do love them and when they and the frogs eat the slugs and snails that can only be good.
    The rabbit information really does show how Nature interacts with itself and is better off without human interference.

    Bob Bushell

    Thank you Bob, It's good to be able to get out and enjoy Nature again :)

  24. Hi, great to see you back and pleased the surgery has gone well. Some lovely photos, I love the Wagtails. Looking forward to seeing some more posts :-)

  25. Cheryl

    Thank you so much for your kind words, Cheryl :)
    I must admit I never see a rabbit now without thinking of you so thought I should find something positive to say about them :)
    It has been some years since I have seen a toad but I do seem to see frogs quite frequently which is lovely.
    I hope all is well with you and yours.


    Thank you very much, Greenie it is good to be here again :) Thank you for your kind words too.
    Judging by the weather at the moment we won't be seeing the butterflies for much longer :(
    Thank you very much for the juvenile Pied Wagtail ID :)

    Warren Baker

    Thanks very much for that, Warren :)


    Thank you very much, I do love butterflies, it's just a shame they are not here for long.
    Yes, Draycote is a great place to visit and attracts many species of birds which I wouldn't normally see without travelling much further.


    Welcome! and thank you very much for visiting and following and also for your kind comments.

    Midmarsh John

    Hello John, thank you very much for your kind words :)
    At Draycote it is most unusual not to see a rabbit and there are so many there that you often come across one when you turn a corner. They must do well there as they all seem quite big!

  26. Hi Jan! Nice to see you posting again! The photos are fantastic! So many butterflies! I love the ducks and the bunny and that frog too!! I'm happy that everything is getting back to normal for you now. Take care. Hugs.

  27. Fun variety of photos - love the butterflies. Also, your header photo is beautiful!! :-)

    I'm sorry I haven't visited for awhile. I've enjoyed a bit of a hiatus!

  28. Hi Jan,

    Great posting, and glad to see your back. Some excellent buterfly photos there. Apparently, butterflies generally did quite well this year, there were definitely a few more in our garden. Anyway, once again, great post, and I look forward to the next one! :)

  29. Pam

    Thank you very much, Pam :) It sure is good to be back!
    I like wagtails too, they always flit about with such energy!


    Thank you very much for your very kind words, Ginny :)
    That frog was a sweetheart, I knelt down right in front of it to get the first photo and it didn't seem to mind at all! Hugs and best wishes...

    Shady Gardener

    Hi Shady, thank you very much. No worries, I have been absent myself for a while and although it was enforced it is quite nice to take a break sometimes :)


    Thank you very much, Joe and it is great to see you back too, I have missed you while you were busy with studies, I hope they went well!
    I thought I saw more butterflies in the garden last year but then again there hasn't been so much to attract them in mine this time. I must try to remedy that next year :)

  30. Lovely to have you back in blogland and good al is well - we hope. You were missed.

  31. The Wessex Reiver

    Thanks very much Andrew, it's great to be back :)

  32. Hi Jan,

    For some reason my blog didn't bother telling me you'd posted - sorry for the late reply.

    I'm glad to hear your surgery has gone well and that you're now back again, wonderful photos :)

  33. hi jan,
    good to hear that you are on the mend,don't see many butterflies around our way but we do have a resident toad in our back garden, and it is a whopper, it lives under the decking, yet to get a photo of it, looking forward to many more posts from you.

  34. jan,

    glad to see that you are recovering quite well. love all the images of your wildlife. i have had a busy summer and looking forward to a slower fall.
    happy september.

  35. Fantastic photos! Love them all! I found your blog through Gwirrels Garden. Great blog! I'm definitely following!

  36. I'm happy to hear that things are going well with you. Nice to see you back. Wonderful photos as usual.

  37. Liz

    Hi Liz :)
    No need for apologies, thanks for your kind comments, It's good to be back.


    Thank you very much, Denis :) I haven't seen so many butterflies in my garden this year as I did last but there were lots at the herb centre that day which was lovely!
    I'm very envious of your resident toad, what a delight! I hope you manage a photo one day, it has been a long time since I saw one.


    Thank you very much marmee :) One way and another it does seem to have been a busy Summer and also rather a short one here! Happy September to you too.

  38. Kimberly

    Welcome! Thank you for your very kind comments and for following. I shall be over to visit you soon :)


    Hi, OC, thank you for the welcome back and the kind comments. I hope all is well with you and yours :)

  39. Glad to hear you are over the worst Jan. Lovely collection of photographs as usual.

  40. Hi Jan.
    Great to see you back and fighting fit.
    Your super butterflies will be good to look back on during the impending w*****r!
    Moorhens are great, much better tempered than Coots I always think. Although the one featured probably didn't deserve it's rough treatment.
    As for frogs, I like them, they're harmless and they don't run (hop) away too fast.

  41. Living In Williamsburg Virginia

    Welcome, Darryl and Ruth! Thank you for your kind comment and for following :)

    The Abbot

    Thank you very much for your kind words, Trevor :)

  42. Your photography is amazing and very ispirational.
    Sorry to hear about your eyes and glad to hear it all went well.
    What did you have done and what happened.
    I do have an eye problem , and not many know.
    Have a geat night

  43. It is great to see you back. I find your blog to be very insperational. Thankyou for your comments you make on I know have a new camera so hopefuly I will be as good as you. C.B

  44. Phil

    Hi Phil :) Thanks very much for the kind comments and for not quite mentioning the W word :)
    I agree, the Moorhens do seem better behaved than the Coots!

    Lisa RedWillow

    Thank you for your very kind words, Lisa :)
    The eye surgery was to correct problems caused by side effects of medication taken over a long period of time for respiratory problems.


    Thanks very much for your kind and complimentary words, C.B. I hope you have fun with the new camera, I look forward to seeing the results :)

  45. Hi again Jan, how nice to see you back in Blogland… loved both the this first and last photo too! Hope your eyes are improving and all is as it should be at this stage :-)

    Good to see you out with your camera. What a lovely collection of butterflies too… love the Brimstone :-)

    Lol… a little at the coot as most times I’ve seen them they have been playing the bossy role.

    Lol again… perhaps Mum Mallard was teaching them the green cross code ;-)

    I see your break into blogland has been short. Hope things are getting a little easier now :-)


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