Anglesey

My partner, Jen, and I took a week's holiday in Anglesey at the start of September. It was the fourth time in five Septembers.

I don't know if it was because we were a week earlier this year, or because summer is running later, but there seemed to be less wildlife about this time. No wheatears, only a few gannets, and a single tern. But it was still a wonderful holiday, there were plenty of flowers still in bloom, I saw ravens, a seal and goosanders, and I got to take an extremely jammy photograph of a black-headed gull watching a bottle-nosed dolphin failing to catch a fish:

Dolphin, fish, bird!

Natural Selection is very much alive and kicking in Anglesey. (As it is everywhere else.)

More photos from our holiday »

Philip the pheasant has a girlfriend!

Pheasants sunning themselves on our lawn.

Catching up

I'm a bit behind with this journal, so a quick catch-up:

I went for a walk on the Moor in search of sundews the other week, and wrote about it here.

Then I had a go at photographing butterflies in my garden:

Green-veined White butterfly.

Then I took a short walk at Burton Marshes: Continue reading Catching up

Serendipitous snaps, and two new bird species

I made another visit to the RSPB reserve at Burton Mere on Tuesday.

Canada geese.

The recent prolonged spell of hot, rainless weather meant that much of the wetland near the Marsh Covert Hide was, in fact, dry-land, which meant that there weren't all that many birds close to the hide. But there were still plenty to see in the distant pool. Continue reading Serendipitous snaps, and two new bird species

A walk in Hardcastle Crags

Our bathroom is still being upgraded, so this morning I decided to make myself scarce by visiting Hardcastle Crags and taking a walk along Hebden Water.

Hebden Water, Hardcastle Crags.

Half-way to Gibson Mill, I was delighted to spot a northern hairy wood ants' nest at the side of the path. Believe it or not, this one was very small. I saw one once that so big, from a distance, with all the ants moving across its surface, I mistook it for a woodland pond. Trust me. You had to be there. Continue reading A walk in Hardcastle Crags

Two new life-list entries (in black and white)

Plumbers, a joiner and an electrician are wreaking havoc in what was once our bathroom and will, in ‘a good week and a half at least’ (plumber's promise), be our superb new bathroom. Radio 2 and power tools have been on at full blast. The house has been filled with alarming banging. I have been exiled to the dining room. So, on Tuesday, for a bit of peace and quiet, I left for Dad's much earlier than usual, and paid my first ever visit to the RSPB reserve at Burton Marshes.

As I entered the new visitor centre, I was surprised to see my friend Carolyn's teenage son greeting visitors. He explained that he was on work experience. I embarrassed him something rotten by insisting I take our photo and text it to his mum.

Dudes
A pair of dudes on Tuesday.

To test him, I then asked Carolyn's son to tell me what birds we could see in the scrape about 100 metres away. He pointed out shelduck, black-tailed godwits, lapwings, little egrets, and a few other species, then delighted me with my first ever sighting of an avocet. It was feeding in the shallows with sideways sweeps of its upturned beak. Continue reading Two new life-list entries (in black and white)

Bottles and cups

Jen texted me from work early yesterday morning, and suggested I go for a walk on the Moor. Why didn't I think of that?

Nothing much to report, apart from an old milk bottle I found, which was packed full of plants. Life is good at finding new ways.

Bottle garden
Shotgun shell case

I also took a detour to the famous local landmark Churn Milk Joan, a standing boundary stone which bears a number of mysterious, prehistoric ‘cup’ marks. The marks were still there. They're found on a lot of prehistoric sites. Nobody has a clue what they mean. Continue reading Bottles and cups