Friday, April 27, 2012

A History Lesson and a Bit of a Lark!


I know, I know! I said my next post wouldn't be long but time flies by and one week just seems to roll into another, maybe I'm just not very good at this blogging game. Slapped wrist! Must try harder, write it out one hundred times...must try harder, must try harder...no, maybe not, that would be incredibly boring ;-) I had to do it once at school you know! 'I must not blow grass during my history lesson' one hundred times! 

I was sat by the open window on a hot, sunny day and would much rather have been out there enjoying Nature instead of sitting in a classroom  not listening to a dull and boring lesson about things so far in the past that they seemed completely unreal to my young and disinterested  ears. The long grasses inches away were just too tempting! I plucked one, put it between my thumbs, raised it to my lips and blew. The loud whistling noise rang out...my classmates laughed uproariously...the teacher didn't :-( ...I didn't expect it to work quite that well!

Enough of this waffle! Back to business and despite the inhospitable weather which has befallen most of us here in the UK I have managed to dodge some of the heavy showers and get out a few times with the camera. I also have some photos left from a few weeks ago including the next one.

This Great Spotted Woodpecker was a very long way away and I nearly missed it when I was scanning around with my binoculars. 

Great Spotted Woodpecker

I was so pleased to see these Snake's Head Fritillaries at a very small Nature reserve near me. Although a popular garden flower they are rare in the wild due to so many of the ancient meadows which provided their habitat being ploughed up and used for the production of food crops during World War II. The ones I saw were there last year too and as last year they were carefully protected from Rabbits etc. by a wire surround which as you can see made photographing them difficult. Hopefully in years to come they will gradually spread.

Snake's Head Fritillaries

'The snake’s head fritillary is one of the most exquisite jewels
 in the treasure house of British wild flowers.
Its linear grey-green leaves are followed in spring
 by nodding heads sometimes of pure white,
 or more frequently marked with a delicate
 chequerboard pattern in shades of purple.'
(The Royal Horticultural Society)

I only saw this bird briefly and in a rather dim spot so was pleased to find when I looked at the photos afterwards that it wasn't the Coal Tit I had thought but a Marsh Tit. I did wonder about a Willow Tit but there is no discernible white panel on the wings.

Marsh Tit

I mentioned in my last post that while at Draycote Water I photographed some Great Crested Grebes. They are always at Draycote in good numbers and at the end of the visit as the sun was starting to set I saw the following pair engaging in the beginnings of the 'weed dance'.

Great Crested Grebes


Unfortunately after the next photo, as often happens,  it fizzled out.


Also right at the end of the walk and in dim conditions I saw lots of pipits foraging on the grassy bank. I think this one is a Meadow Pipit although I know there were also Rock Pipits there that day.

Meadow Pipit

 ~~~

The Chaffinch is a bird I see often, both in my garden and on my walks. This one was seen during a local walk.

Chaffinch

I thought these pretty little Celandines, seen just two days ago, made a lovely splash of colour on a rather dull and showery day.

Lesser Celandine

'There is a Flower, the Lesser Celandine,
That shrinks, like many more, from cold and rain;
And, at the first moment that the sun may shine,
Bright as the sun itself, 'tis out again!'
(William Wordsworth)

As I said earlier, I have some photos left over from just before my previous post which is why there is not much new growth on the hedge where I saw the House Sparrows at the beginning of my post and in the following photo.
 
House Sparrows

Unlike the Tree Sparrow which I showed in an earlier post the House Sparrow is still a fairly common bird in the UK although it's numbers have declined dramatically in recent years. I do see them in my garden but nowhere near as regularly as I used to.


I love Chiffchaffs. The moment you hear the first one of the year you know that Spring has finally arrived. There seem to be lots on my patch this year :-) The poet, John Clare called it by its local dialect name, the Pettichap.

Chiffchaff

'Stop! here's the bird—that woodman at the gap
Frightened him from the hedge:—'tis olive-green.
Well! I declare it is the Pettichap!
Not bigger than the wren, and seldom seen.'
(John Clare)

I wish I had reacted more quickly and got the camera to my eye a few moments sooner when this Fox crossed my path carrying supper home. I had assumed it was one of the many Rabbits which inhabit that location but I'm pretty sure it was a Grey Squirrel. I was slightly disconcerted when I looked at the photo on the computer and saw the eyes of its prey!

Fox (with prey)

While following a public footpath through the middle of a field of newly growing corn there were Skylarks singing everywhere and every few steps one would fly from the crops just inches from me. Somehow, I managed to capture a brief glimpse...hence 'a bit of a lark' ;-)

Skylark

'The earth was green, the sky was blue:
I saw and heard one sunny morn,
A skylark hang between the two,
A singing speck above the corn;
...

 The cornfield stretched a tender green
To right and left beside my walks;
I knew he had a nest unseen
Somewhere among the million stalks... '
(Christina Georgina Rossetti)

Well, I think I may be starting to outstay my welcome so to brighten up another wet, English day I'll leave you with these beautiful Daffodils found growing in the middle of nowhere a few weeks ago.

Daffodils

Now, will I post any sooner next time, have I learnt my (history) lesson?...only time will tell :-) Until then...enjoy the beauty of Nature, wherever you are.

66 comments:

  1. Lovely photos, Jan. The House Sparrow ones are my favourite.

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  2. my goodness, you did load us up here, didn't you?! i love the sparrows. your chaffinches are some of the finest looking birds, ever. the grebes' weed dance is mesmerizing!

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  3. What a lot of lovely pictures Jan, I'd be hard pressed to choose a favourite out of them.

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  4. You'd never outstay your welcome! Fantastic pictures and a trip back to school. It made me laugh actually, because the first time I got into trouble at school was on a trip to a nature reserve for using the binoculars they'd given us before we had been given permission to take them out of their case. The creature I was looking at was a Great Crested Grebe - well they're so pretty aren't they? I'd never seen a bird like that before!
    I didn't know you could 'whistle' with grasses.
    Dan
    -x-

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  5. You're getting pretty good with that camera Songbird :-)

    Ive only ever got one photo of a Skylark, not a bird I can get close to anymore ( especially as they no longer breed on my patch)

    Enjoyed your history story, reminded me of my school days.....always in trouble :-)

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  6. That's it. I'm going to blow some grass this weekend! I never thought i'd hear myself say that. Sounds a bit dodgy if you hadn't read your post.
    Got to agree with you about the weeks flying past, they just seem to get faster.
    Very nice post as usual Jan, apart from that poor Grey Squirrel:-(

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  7. Hi Jan,

    I used to do that with blades of grass....in fact, I still do it for Poppi and Riley, they get so frustrated when they cannot do it.

    I love Chiffchaff, and am so pleased to have them in the garden this year.

    The fox image is amazing......and whilst I do not like to see animals with their victim, it is nature and a part of life.
    We get very few foxes here now....that is why we have so many rabbits around.

    Skylark....beautiful, I love them with all my heart. For me, to see that speck in the sky, singing his sweet heart out, and then watch as he tumbles to the ground. Enchanting.

    Lovely post Jan....tku for making my Friday evening.

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  8. I can blow grass but I hardly call a whistle more like a demented squeak. Nice blog Jan, always a pleasure to read.

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  9. Kolejny wspaniały post. Są piękne ptaki, kwiaty i opisy. Wiem, że lis musi jeść, ale szkoda mi wiewiórki
    :-(. Pozdrawiam cieplutko.
    Another great post. They are beautiful birds, flowers, and descriptions. I know that November has to eat, but too bad for squirrels
    :-(. Yours warm.

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  10. Wonderful photos--loved the grebes, even if their dance fizzled out!

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  11. awww poor squirrel, he is doomed. I feel that way myself lately, like the fox is trying to do me it...
    LOVELY photos of your birds. LOL at the grass blowing!!

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  12. I have enjoyed my tea with you this evening. Thank you.
    The Head Fritillaries are gorgeous.
    I always love seeing your birds. I too am crazy for the Skylarks...
    The weed dance made me laugh!
    Thank you for telling me about Hicote Manor in the Cotswolds. Nice to know the history.
    I shall see if my husband can make the grass sing....
    Always a delight to come to your journal.
    Sherry

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  13. I'm glad you posted:) You have so many interesting shots on this write/photo journey today. I really enjoyed your Great Crested Grebes, the Woodpecker and the Fox shots. Some really beautiful captures. I don't often get a chance to see Grebes or the Fox so it's nice to see them here:) I'm sorry about the Sparrow situation....I wish I could send some your way. Our garden is turning into a bird hangout here! Don't stress about the blogging....you post as you post:) Great shots and a great write. Have a good weekend. Chris PS. Send us some of your rain...we'd like it over here:)

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  14. ShySongbird ,
    Again this year you make me very envious of your Fritillaries , I only see the cultivated variety .
    Shame the weed dance ended early , but given the exertion , I don't think it ever lasts long . Looks like there will be plenty of Sloes from your hedgerow shot . Another enjoyable wander . Thanks for your caterpillar suggestion on mine .

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  15. When I see (read) you post , I look forward of going to the countryside! well done.
    Saludos!

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  16. WOW!
    That's a great many interesting encounters!
    Lucky you! The country side around seems to abound with life!
    Well done and enjoy your WE!

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  17. Dean

    Thank you very much Dean. I was quite pleased with them myself :-)

    TexWisGirl

    Thank you Theresa. It had been so long since I posted that I had quite a backlog to get through :-)

    Toffeeapple

    Thank you :-) I'm glad you liked them.

    Dan

    Thank you Dan. I think the teachers should have praised you for your enthusiasm, at least your so called wrongdoing was connected to your schoolwork, unlike mine! Dan, my dear girl! You've never blown grass!!?You've never lived! :-) :-)

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  18. Lovely post as always Jan.
    Grass blowing; yea, great fun lol

    Snake's Head Fritillaries are beautiful plants, and I've never managed to see any in the wild.
    Mr. Fox looks like he's got a feast there.

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  19. Warren Baker

    Thank you Warren :-) thankfully, there are still Skylarks here in the same places there were when I was a child, such a delight to see and hear. I used to mostly get into trouble for talking...what a surprise! ;-)

    Phil

    Thank you Phil. I hope you enjoyed your holiday, you certainly missed some weather...perhaps 'missed' is the wrong word! I doubt you'll be wanting to do much grass blowing in the weather this weekend ;-) I felt so sorry for that poor Squirrel but that's Nature I suppose.

    Cheryl

    Thank you Cheryl. I can still do it too;-) How wonderful that you have Chiffchaffs in your garden! I wonder if they will nest there, that would be so special!! I feel the same as you regarding Skylarks, they are a quintessential part of the English countryside, such a lovely sight and sound.

    Mike Attwood

    Thank you very much Mike. I was quite impressive with the grass and unfortunately that day was one of my better efforts :-)

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  20. Beautiful photos and a really lovely choice of poetry.

    Its great to see the pictures of Snakeshead Fritillaries in the wild - they are such pretty flowers. Wonderful to see the Great Crested Grebes indulging in the weed dance too!

    I especially liked the photo of the fields with what looks frothy blackthorn in the hedgerows.

    ps I do hope you don't get this comment twice I tried to send one last night but kept losing my internet connection!

    All the best Caroline

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  21. Giga

    Thank you very much for your very kind comments Giga. I did feel so sorry for the poor Squirrel but as you say the Fox has to eat. I hope you are enjoying your weekend. It is wet again here! Warmest regards.
    Dziękuję bardzo za bardzo miłe komentarze Giga. I czuł się tak Przepraszam za słabą wiewiórka, ale jak mówisz Fox ma jeść. Mam nadzieję, że cieszą się weekend. Jest mokro znowu tutaj! Najcieplejszy chodzi.

    Susan Scheid

    Thank you very much Susan. I always feel privileged to witness the weed dance, or part of it ;-) it is so elegant!

    Sondra

    Thank you Sondra. Yes, poor Squirrel, doomed indeed! So sorry you are having such a tough time, I do hope thinks are resolved in your favour very soon!!

    Q

    Thank you Sherry. The Skylarks are such delightful little birds, seeing and hearing them on a warm sunny day is so lovely :-) Yes, the SH Frittilaries are very special, I hope they multiply eventually. I'm so pleased you were interested in the info, I thought you would find it pleasing to know that your Lavender has English roots...excuse the pun ;-)

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  22. I always enjoy your posts, Jan, no matter the length! I have trouble writing shorter posts, too:)

    I love the photo of the Celandines; they look like happy yellow blooms floating above a sea of green. I wish I was as knowledgeable about identifying birds as you are. I have been trying for a long time to figure out just which kind of sparrows we have here. I think they are house sparrows, and if they are, they're certainly not endangered here! This morning I saw an unusual bird walk across our lawn; it had tail feathers longer than most birds I've seen here. I didn't have time to run for my bird book, but most of all, I needed my glasses:)

    Hope the rain slows down and you can enjoy some more bird-watching!

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  23. Lovely post ShySongbird, your thoughts on the History lesson sound familiar, listening to those was definitely a struggle! Some lovely pictures conjoured and shown :-)

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  24. Another delightful informative and varied post,with lovely poems and a touch of humour to brighten
    my day.Thankyou for sharing so
    many nature photos.I love the photos of the Chiffchaff and the
    Chaffinch,and the delicate Snake's
    Head Fritillary,which I once saw on a nature programme but have never actually seen growing in the wild.Well done!!

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  25. Rohrerbot

    Thank you for your lovely comments Chris. :-) I wish I could post as often as you and many other bloggers do but I don't think I ever will, as you say though I must not stress over it and just post when I can! Right it's a deal, you send some of your Sparrows and I'll send some of our rain ;-)

    Greenie

    Thank you very much Greenie. I had a feeling you might say that regarding the Fritillaries. I feel very privileged to see them there. It is a tiny Nature Reserve, I think only local people know of it so it was a real thrill when I found the Fritillaries there last year. If I come up with any better ideas on the caterpillar I will let you know.

    elcamperoinquieto

    Thank you very much Haritz. I love the countryside! It's where I am happiest. Saludos :-)

    Noushka

    Thank you very much Noushka :-) Yes, there is always plenty to see in the countryside, I love it! I hope you are having a lovely weekend. It is very wet here!

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  26. Jan, lovely post as usual along with great photos - how lucky you were to get the one of the fox with its prey!
    I have to say a huge thanks to you for your comment on my blog - fortunately my absence is due to my business - have to pay the bills somehow! Unfortunately means I haven't been bird watching very much!
    Like you "I must try harder" :)
    Thanks again, Sharon

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  27. Yes Lovely post Jan. Definitely a bit of a lark.{:)
    I never catch the Grebes with weed in their beaks. Shame about the squirrel, but I'de rather that than a young pheasant or partridge.

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  28. holdingmoments

    Thank you Keith :-) Yes, Mr Fox (and perhaps his family) certainly wouldn't go to bed without supper that day! I felt very privileged to see the rare wild SH Fritillaries

    Ragged Robin

    Thank you Caroline, so glad you enjoyed it. I was very pleased to see the Fritillaries were still there this year, I really hope they will spread in time. Yes, hopefully the hedges will be laden with Sloes in the Autumn. No worries, only the one comment came through :-)

    Rose

    Thank you Rose, I always look forward to your visits :-) The Celandines did look pretty especially on a rather dull day. I have heard the House Sparrows are doing better there than here, they used to be such a familiar sight. It has been wet again today and apparently will be even worse tomorrow, we're certainly making up for the drought!

    Alan Pavey

    Thank you Alan, I find history much more interesting now than I ever did then ;-)

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  29. Thoroughly enjoyed your spring-ful post! Good for you for shaking up the history class ~ but I bet you nearly collapsed with embarrassment. Too bad it wasn't Science class...you could have said you were working on an experiment ;)

    Lovely photos of flowers, birds and animals, interspersed with fitting poetry :)

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  30. Breathtaking

    Thank you very much for your kind comments :-) The SH Fritillary was a lovely find last year, I was so pleased to find it again this time. That little Chiffchaff must be wondering why it made its long journey here this Spring. Our weather has gone from bad to worse today with very high winds and driving rain!

    Sharon

    Thank you Sharon :-) I'm so pleased to hear everything is well with you and that it was your business keeping you from blogland. Of course that must come first, just like that Fox we all have to support ourselves and our families somehow. I look forward to seeing you blog again when you are able.

    Roy

    Thank you Roy :-) I have seen the weed dance a number of times but each time it has fizzled out before completion, it is a lovely, elegant sight though.

    Glo

    Thank you Glo :-) You know, until you mentioned that I'd forgotten just how embarrassed I was, mortified in fact! I wasn't generally a naughty child at all and it really was a case of acting without thinking first ;-)

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  31. Hi Jan,
    A lovely post, full of glimpses of the beauty of our lovely (shrinking) British countryside.
    The humble House Sparrow may be common, but in my garden I nearly fall out of the chair in excitement when I see just one!
    J
    Follow me at HEDGELAND TALES

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  32. Yes, I'm sorry for your tree as well. This is a wonderful blog, with the Great Crested Grebes, the Sparrows, the Fox and its prey, the Skylark but, I am certainly a birdwatcher that loves the first Chiffchaff of the year. Great photos.

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  33. Really enjoyed that. It was worth the wait.
    Skylarks take me back to my childhood. Used to see them every summer in the fields around here. Haven't seen one for many a year now. Lots of the fields now filled with houses.

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  34. John

    Hi John, thank you. I totally agree, it's a real thrill to see a House Sparrow in the garden now and yet they used to be the bird I saw most! A sad reflection on the state of our declining native wildlife.

    Bob Bushell

    Thank you, So sorry to read about your tree too. What wild weather we have had and last night (Sunday) we had a power cut into the bargain!! A lovely end to a lovely day :-(


    Crystal

    Thank you Crystal. Sadly, many of the fields from my childhood have been built on too but thankfully there are still Skylarks in some of the places where they always were :-) I wish I could say the same of Cuckoos!

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  35. All the daffs here are dead the wild garlic and bluebells are everywhere now. Such lovely photos and the mention of the skylarks song that I think your outing was a good one.

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  36. 'Tis a wonderful post and very worthwhile waiting for! So many pretty things to see. Although, I must say that the House Sparrow is the one English import to America that we wish you would take back! Maybe your numbers are declining because they've all moved to America.

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  37. Oh my gosh Jan, such a fantastic collection of nature shots. Thank you so much for sharing them all.

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  38. Z tłumaczenia Google można się uśmiać to prawda. Mnie też się to zdarza. Słowa obraźliwe też bywają. Dziękuję, że byłeś u mnie i pozdrawiam.
    The Google translation can be a funny true. Me too it happens. The words also tend to be offensive. Thank you, that you were with me and greet.

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  39. I have just discovered your blog - what amazing photos! Thank you for sharing them.

    Have you tried to blow grass since you were at school? I have lost the knack as I have aged. I discovered this in front of an audience of 8 year olds last year. It was humiliating.

    I look forward to seeing more of your fabulous photos.

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  40. the cuby poet

    Thank you :-) I'm sure the Bluebells are coming on here too. Although having said that, the weather has been so abysmal here for around two weeks now that I haven't been able to get out and look! Yes, the Skylarks are wonderful to hear and see.

    Carole DeAngeli

    Thank you. Oh, dear :-) you're not my only blogland friend from America to say that about the House Sparrows. Would it be indelicate of me to mention that we feel the same way about the Grey Squirrel which was an introduction from America...and does that make us quits? ;-)

    Denise

    Thank you very much Denise :-)

    Giga

    Thank you Giga. I'm so glad you understood and saw the funny side. I just wish I could explain it properly in your own language. I know you would laugh :-)
    Dziękuję Giga. Cieszę się, że zrozumiałeś i zobaczył zabawną stronę. I tylko chciałbym móc wyjaśnić poprawnie w swoim własnym języku. Wiem, że się śmiejesz :-)

    The Gardening Shoe

    Welcome! Thank you very much for visiting and for your kind comments. Well, I admit I did try it a few years ago and although I say it myself I did rather well :-) I shall try again at the first opportunity...but maybe without an audience...just in case my skills have deteriorated ;-)

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  41. Seeing the woodpecker would be such a treat. Also the fritillaries; I saw them in a glasshouse at a botanical gardens in Tasmania for the very first time and thought how quaint and petite and totally fascinatingly beautiful. The marsh tit also a lovely photograph, and the grebes weed-dance is wonderful. A delightful post.

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  42. Oh you make me laugh. I can totally relate to sitting in a dull classroom staring forlornly out the window wishing to be outdoors in the sunshine. I wonder if I can still whistle in a blade of grass. I'll have to try it. LOL!

    Your post is so interesting. I love learning about the different birds in other countries. Nice shots too. I think it's amazing that you got that one of the fox at all! They are so swift, I've never been able to capture one.

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  43. Hello Jan...what a lovely post and it's a joy to see the birds and the blooms in your part of the world. The snake head fritillaries are stunning. I loved the shot of the landscape too.

    I did have a wonderful holiday travelling more than two thousand miles from home ans seeing another part of the country so different from our region. I'll be including the pictures in my future posts.

    I loved the verse that you included. Also the one on your sidebar. So apt for a nature blog.

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  44. How did this post slip by me Jan? must be getting older than old. Great set of images showing Spring in all its Glory.

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  45. Carole M.

    Thank you very much Carole. The Snake's Head Fritillary is grown here quite often in gardens but to see it in the wild is a rare treat and I was thrilled to find it so close to me :-)

    Wendy

    Thank you Wendy, I'm glad I made you laugh :-) Since joining the blogging community I too have enjoyed learning about birds and Nature in other countries and have been surprised by how much I have absorbed. It is so nice now to recognise and be able to identify so many of the birds I see on my foreign blogland friend's posts before reading the captions.

    Nature Rambles

    Thank you Kanak. I'm so pleased you enjoyed your holiday. Two thousand miles?!!! I think the furthest I have travelled on holiday is about two hundred and sixty! Mind you, it's only about eight hundred and forty miles from one end of the UK to the other :-)

    Monts

    Thank you Monty, I never find it easy to keep up with all the blogs I enjoy, I think that's often why my own posts are so few and far between!

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  46. What a lovely collection of birds and flowers. I just love all the birds and the Crested Grebes are one of my favorites. The snakes head fritillaries are pretty. Beautiful post and info. And your photos are just lovely. Have a great day!

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  47. Gorgeous photos and prose as always. I especially like your grass blowing anecdote though - made me smile - thanks!

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  48. Very nice selection of pictures!
    Have a nice weekend
    Yvonne & Raphael

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  49. What a delightful post filled with a terrific narrative and lovely nature photographs. Your history lesson tale brought about a big chuckle. Love the Chiffchaff and Chaffinch images as I have never had the pleasure of viewing these beautiful birds before. Fantastic documentation of the Great Crested Grebe interactions. A joy to visit your wonderful blog!

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  50. Gorgeous spring collection of pictures! You are chasing bigger grebe than I do. We only have slavonian (horned) grebe over here ;-)

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  51. So, you stopped 'twittering' but at least you kept the news coming lol.

    A great varied selection of feathered friends there Jan. It's been a few years since I last saw a Skylark.

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  52. eileeninmd

    Thank you Eileen. I love the GCGs, they are such elegant looking birds and their weed dance is beautiful to watch! Have a lovely weekend :-)

    Jerry

    Thank you Jerry, I'm glad you found it amusing :-)


    -Yvonaut-Das sind Raphael und Yvonne

    Thank you very much, I hope you both have a great weekend too :-)

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  53. Julie G.

    Thank you so much for visiting again Julie and for your very generous comments :-) I see Chaffinches in my garden all year round as well as in the countryside but I only see the Chiffchaff out in the countryside during the Spring and Summer, a few do stay all year in some parts of the country but most depart in August or September.

    Chris

    Thank you Chris, I can usually be guaranteed to see Great Crested Grebes at Draycote Water. We do see the Slavonian Grebe in the UK but not where I live unfortunately.

    Midmarsh John

    Thank you John. Aha, someone noticed! :-) I will mention the reasons on my next post.
    I am lucky to see and hear Skylarks in the same places I used to as a child, such a lovely bird!

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  54. So lovely shots
    ♥Crissi♥

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  55. Hi, Jan, I just read your comment on my post and wrote a reply, but I forgot to add that I am happy you're planning to read "The Help." I can't say enough good things about that book. Also, I think you might enjoy "Gemma Hardy," if for no other reason than that she is a bird lover, and finds refuge in watching and identifying birds. Hope you are having a good weekend--it is so hot here today it's making me feel cantankerous...but not ornery:)

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  56. Thanks again for your so sweet comments!
    Can't wait to see what you will show us.... soon I hope!

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  57. Crissi

    Welcome Crissi, and thank you for your kind comment!

    Rose

    Thank you so much for popping over again Rose, it's always a pleasure to see you here :-) Well, as Gemma Hardy 'finds refuge in watching and identifying birds' I may well be seduced into reading this one after all. That toppling tower of books is becoming rather dangerous though ;-)

    Noushka

    Thank you very much for coming back Noushka, that's very sweet of you :-) I hope to get a new post out before too long, I've never been the most prolific poster though and the dreadful weather here isn't giving many opportunities to get out and about at the moment.

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  58. Hi there - what a great set of pictures.

    I really like the landscape shot in the middle of the post, which what I take to be Hawthorn in flower. Wonderful - just like the springs I used to know!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Australia

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  59. Stewart M

    Welcome Stewart! Thank you very much for visiting and for your kind comment. The blossom was actually Hawthorn and will bear Sloes in the Autumn. It doesn't seem much like Spring at all here at the moment, for more than two weeks now it has been wet, cold and miserable :-( Once the sun shines though it will be wonderful :-)

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  60. Great selection of pictures. Where did you photograph the Snake's-head Fritillaries? We have some naturalised in a local park here, but they are not genuinely wild.

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  61. Jeremy

    Thank you very much Jeremy. I was privileged to discover them at a very tiny Nature Reserve quite near me. For obvious reasons I decided not to name the location. It is in the middle of nowhere so they are definitely truly wild and for the last two years that I have been aware of them they have been carefully protected.

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  62. Fantastic spring collection,always look forward to dropping by from time to time.
    Superb Blog,as always very entertainning.
    John.

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  63. What an impressive piece of work you put into this message. Quite impressive I must say... I love the story and the grebes pictures. I hope i will see grebes often to get nice pictures this year.

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  64. Hi there -thanks for the visit.

    As you may have noticed a do spend a bit of time on the words I write!

    If you want to keep a more regular eye on what is happening down here you may also like my photo-blog.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Australia

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  65. Good morning Jan, hope it’s nicer with you :-)

    I had to smile (cringe a little too) when you mention a long post ( serious oops to my latest which you don’t need to read but might like to see the Beaver video and chat about this exciting sighting this week – not in my garden of course).

    I always love my visits to your blog. You are so knowledgeable when it comes to all things nature and your love for it is clear to see. I guess it really shines through that you have been observing wildlife since being a young girl. It was plants I will remember from my childhood walks with red squirrels attracting my attention and not birds - quite different now.

    That’s a nice capture of the Woodpecker and lucky one of the Skylark – I wouldn’t have a hope of an ID there. The Grebes I would love to see do their weed dance. Sounds like you’ve seen it a few times. As for your fox pic I was drawn to click on it to see more closely – perhaps it was just as well it didn’t scale up large. I can image your face when zooming in yourself. You often get surprises in like that in photos don’t you :-)

    Wishing you a great week :-)

    PS First Starlings juvs have just arrived at the tiny waterfall at my tiny pond going to get my camera now – as usual one will think it’s a duck :-D

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  66. JRandSue

    Thank you John. It's always a pleasure to see you here.

    Chris

    Thank you Chris. I'm glad you enjoyed it and I hope you see lots of grebes, I'm sure they will look wonderful in that lovely light you get there.

    Stewart M

    Thank you for coming back again. I will be over again soon.

    shirl

    Thank you Shirl. Yes, I have always had a deep love of Nature and well remember looking for all the different wildflowers on walks when a child. My Mother was very knowledgeable and knew the names of every flower and tree we passed so I suppose I inherited the passion from her.
    I wished I could have photographed the Fox just that little bit sooner but it was such an unexpected encounter.
    I laughed about the Starling thinking its a duck, they are so entertaining as youngsters and also adults with their boisterous behaviour :-)
    We still have miserable weather here with just the odd sunny spell, so disappointing for May. I hope it improves for us all soon. Have a good rest of the week and weekend Shirl :-)

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